Locals met at the Wyndham Grand on September 7th for the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s annual Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) Breakfast.  It was the 15th year for the WLC signature event which celebrates women helping women and a group of civic leaders that has been leading the charge to address the greatest needs in our city.

“This is fifteen years of women taking charge of the really important domains in our community to improve the lives of our most vulnerable,” said Diane Holder, 2016 United Way Campaign Co-Chair, as she welcomed close to one thousand guests.  “This isn’t just about providing money, it is about our commitment to taking responsibility for change.”

United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) is a growing network of women with energy, talent and a passion for making our community better for everyone.  Founded in 2001 by five local women with a membership of two hundred women, WLC has quadrupled in size over the last fifteen years, raising more than sixty million dollars for Allegheny County, more than ten million dollars in 2015 alone. It has since become the 5th fastest growing WLC out of one hundred and fifty-five communities.

“Our Women’s leadership Council is a strong community of women who share a passion and commitment to helping others.” said WLC Co-Chair, Kelly Grey.

“One of our proudest moments continues to be the Women’s Leadership Council’s creation of United for Women, an initiative that has focused on assisting newly struggling women going through a time of intense change: divorce, death of a spouse, job loss or long-term illness,” said Mary Richter, WLC Co-Chair.  “United for Change has raised more than two million dollars, representing real women whose lives has been changed because of these efforts.”

Guests heard two firsthand accounts of local women impacted by United for Women support before being thanked personally by United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania President & Chief Executive Officer, Robert (Bob) Nelkin.  The breakfast marks the beginning of another campaign year and “an opportunity to again help our region by stepping up to embrace it,” said Nelkin.

Highlights from the event included keynote speaker, Heather Abbott, Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor.  Heather Abbott lost her left leg below the knee after she was hit with shrapnel from one of the bombs that exploded at the Boston marathon in 2013.  Guests heard her compelling story of recovery and journey from survivor, to current founder of the Heather Abbott Foundation.  The foundation has raised more than five hundred thousand dollars to provide six different people, both adults and children, with prosthetic devices.

For more information on how you can become a WLC member, contact Lisa Kelly at 412-456-6767 or lisa.kelly@uwac.org or Lynne Popash at 412-456-6871 or lynne.popash@uwac.org.  Current WLC members donate one thousand or more dollars on an annual basis to help implement real change for people in need in Southwestern Pennsylvania.