Young Leaders Society

Rockwell-Habitat-for-humanity-Cedar-valley- shilo knapp day of caring 2013

“I got involved with the United Way through my company’s campaign and the Day of Caring events each year. I enjoy giving back to the community, and the United Way simplifies the process and maximizes the impact of those contributions.” – Shilo Knapp

Many members of the Young Leaders Society visited Bloomsbury Farm in 2013 for the annual Young Leaders Society Event, where they learned how their support helps United Way programs like Play & Learn and RED Ahead.  One mom spoke on how her daughter has benefited from the programs.  Click here for more on her story.  After the program, the children and parents got to listen to our United Way Scarecrow read a story.  For photos of the event click here.


Chair: Shilo Knapp, Rockwell Collins
Vice Chair:  Kari Cooling, Holmes Murphy

Young Leaders Society givers are 40 years old and younger with an annual contribution of $250 or more.  This leadership program is designed to recognize and offer tomorrow’s leaders the opportunity to begin serving the community through their financial gifts.  A portion of the annual campaign dollars raised by Young Leaders support initiatives that target early childhoood. In 2011, the Young Leaders Society had 1,375 members who contributed $694,693.

Kari Cooling Young Leaders Society 2014

“I support United Way because I want to make a lasting community impact with my contribution. I know my donation supports needed organizations and programs that make our community a better place. ” – Kari Cooling

What opportunities can the Young Leaders Society offer me?

1. Social Networking

2. Professional growth & networking

3. Volunteering

Find the society’s goals here. (PDF)

If you would like more information on becoming a leadership giver, contact us here.

 The Young Leaders Society Supports Play and Learn, RED Ahead and Babies and Books

Young Leaders Society Newsletters

February 2013
May 2013
October 2013
February 2014


Young Leaders Society Brochure

Leadership Giving Directory

Blue Strawberry Coffee Promotion Helps Grow United Way Leadership Society


Prior Young Leaders Society Chairs

2012/13 – Wendy Nielsen, Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust; Shilo Knapp, Rockwell Collins

2011/12 – Brandi Mueller, The Overture Group; Wendy Nielsen, Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust

2010 - Brett Papendick, Brandi Mueller

2009 – Melanie Richert, Brett Papendick

2008 – Craig Vander Leest, Melanie Richert

2006 – Sue Lowder/Seth Miller

2005 – Sue Lowder/Seth Miller

2004 – Jason Hellickon/Sue Lowder 

2003 – Jason Hellickon/Sue Lowder

2000-2002 – Rob Kane


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2013/14 Committee Members

Shilo Knapp, Rockwell Collins - 2013/2014 chair

Kari Cooling, Holmes Murphy - 2013/14 vice-chair
Jenn Bleil, Van Meter
Mike Butterfield, HDR Engineering, Inc.
Amber Doyle, International Paper
Sam Hammes, TrueNorth (Joined February 2013)
Anthony Jensen Kirkwood Community College
Beth Lehman, The Gazette Company
Curtis Nelson, Transamerica (Joined Summer 2012)
Alisha Pedersen, Rockwell Collins (Joined July 2012)
Wendy Nielsen, Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust - immediate past chair
Fred Rose, Morgan Stanley
Charlie Schimberg, Schimberg Co.(Joined November 2012)
Charisma Wickham, Alliant Energy. (Joined Fall 2013)
Committee member job description

Why Give to United Way?

This is a video from our August 2012 Young Leaders Society event. Some longtime donors told the crowd why they give to United Way.