The agency worked with local media outlets after the Jan. 30 tornado to raise more than $40,000 for local relief efforts. Morehouse now turns her efforts to the future, with the annual luncheon meeting in just more than a week.
Working with more than 15 area nonprofits, all funds raised through United Way remain within the county.
“We are a safehouse for people to donate their money where we can distribute it to programs and make sure the money is spent here in Bartow County for our residents here in Bartow County,” Morehouse told The Daily Tribune News this week.
That, for Morehouse, is a strong point for the agency and the community — following the United Way’s motto to “Live United.”
Name: Brenda Morehouse
Occupation: President of United Way of Bartow County
City of Residence: Dallas
Family: Daughter, Jordan Lindsay, and dog, Gambit Texas
Education: University of Arizona
How did your path lead to the United Way position?
A: I moved here from Colorado in 2004. I worked as an assistant store manager for Safeway Supermarkets and always ran our United Way payroll deduction campaigns. When I got here, I got on with Publix Supermarkets who also shared a passion for supporting United Way. I was chosen to be an associate on loan to United Way. That’s where each year during campaign season a company lends their employee to United Way to help with campaign. I was suppose to go to Metro Atlanta United Way, but the corporate office accidently sent me to our local United Way of Bartow County. During the campaign, the president’s job became available. I felt like it was where I was supposed to be so I applied for the job.
The United Way, how vital is it to the community and what role does it play?
A: The United Way of Bartow County raises funds through special events and annual payroll deduction campaigns to disperse to other nonprofits. These nonprofits help alleviate the very social problems that our community faces every day. These agencies/programs that we fund help end homelessness, feed the hungry, put people in homes that would never have the chance at owning one, put abused children in dire need of love and support in good homes, and the list goes on and on.
As a nonprofit, and one that helps so many, what is the biggest hurdle the agency faces?
A: The biggest hurdle we face is getting manufacturing companies, businesses and civic groups to believe in what we do, allow us in to talk to the employees and educate them on what our funded programs are doing for our community. If we could get in to more businesses, manufacturing plants, etc., we could not only raise more money for our programs and other nonprofits but bring awareness to what is available in our community to help end these social problems we face.
Looking ahead, UW just met its $500,000 goal. Where do you go from here?
A: We reach outside of the box. We work with new companies and the community to raise even more money. That way we can keep up with the growing need. We get involved with as many people as possible — build bridges, partnerships and trust. We live united!
Outside the nonprofit sector, if you could have any job, what would it be?
A: Honestly, you’re gonna laugh, but I would make some Hollywood star’s perfect assistant. If I could be anyone’s personal assistant, it would be Jack Nicholson. Wouldn’t that be a hoot?
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: That I used to be a butcher. [laughs] Yep, I used to cut up raw meat for a living. I did it for 15 years. [I] worked as a journeyman meat cutter for Safeway Supermarkets before I went to the grocery side. I guess if you were going to be a woman in a man’s world, it’s good you know how to use a knife. Just kidding.
What makes Bartow
A: The community of Bartow County and the way they pull together to make things happen is what is so special about Bartow County. This group of people can truly make a difference when working towards the same goal. Our campaign logo this past year was “Be the Change” — that’s Bartow County, people living united and being the change.
What talent do you lack that you would love to have?
A: I wish I was more scholastically inclined. I have all the street smarts a girl could ever ask for. I learn fast, work hard — I mean physically and mentally — but was never good at studying. I get bored quick, have to be moving around, fast-paced. I work best under pressure, and don’t tell me I can’t do something because I’ll be sure to prove you wrong.
What is your favorite meal?
A: Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, fried okra, jalapenos and corn bread, sweet tea with lemon.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things could you not live without?
A: My daughter, my dog and water.