Keith Brown knows firsthand how a community that supports and lifts up its people can grow stronger. “The community helped to raise me, and I always said if given the chance, I would give back,” he says, relating how his single father cared for him and his two siblings, and there was not much extra to spare.

Brown was given an opportunity to be on the giving end in 2003 when he got involved with the United Way campaign through Lorain County Community College (LCCC). Then, he was director of security and started donating his time and resources. “One thing led to another, and I was asked to serve on the campaign cabinet,” he says.

“I love what United Way does with its community collaboratives, where rather than putting band-aids on serious problems, we are working together with agencies throughout the county to resolve some of the underlying issues,”
he says.

Brown, who is now LCCC’s director of HR and organization development, says serving on United Way’s board is humbling. “Our institution (LCCC) strongly believes that employees should be actively involved in the community, and I took that to heart,” he says. “It has opened my eyes to not only how we can serve our students and people who come to our doors, but to being actively involved in Lorain County and my community.”

Want to get involved and make a difference in the community? Brown offers this advice:

#1 Find Your Passion
“For me, it was about finding an organization that had far-reaching impact throughout the county.”

#2 Do Some Homework
“Contact local organizations and find out what type of opportunities they have.”

#3 Set Aside Time
Even if you have an extra hour or two to spare, you can make a difference. “A lot of people think volunteering is a huge time commitment, or that they have to donate a certain amount or hours or money, and that’s not the case.”