Nate Rogers is all about connections and transformation. So you would imagine he has had an especially difficult time navigating the isolation created by the pandemic.
But Nate, who serves as OhioHealth’s Vice President of Transformation Acceleration, is also an innovative problem solver who is passionate about the community he grew up in and calls home. The Worthington native, who now lives in Clintonville, is not about to sit back and wait for someone else to respond to issues he sees impacting his neighbors.
Many of Nate’s interactions in 2020 went virtual, he says, but connecting and transforming continued. He found ways to spend even more time with like-minded individuals who wanted to make a difference, minus the face-to-face interactions. As a result, he and five other passionate community leaders co-founded the Justice Vault to fund innovation targeting root cause problems perpetuating racism.
Like Nate, United Way of Central Ohio believes connections and transformation are essential to solving issues in our community. We partner with hundreds of local organizations and bring together thousands of donors and volunteers to go beyond temporary fixes and single-issue solutions. We’re all in with Justice Vault, serving as its fiscal agent and providing guidance to the founders, as well as mentorship to the innovators.
“United Way is excellent at understanding what makes not-for-profit organizations and community service organizations successful,” Nate says. “They audit them. They coach them, and they make it possible for organizations to be successful in service of the community.”
Nate’s knowledge of and belief in United Way’s mission runs deep. He’s been involved as a donor and volunteer for more than a decade, lending his time and expertise as a member of the Campaign Cabinet and as chair of the Young Leadership Group. For the first eight years or so, however, his United Way experience was largely around giving through his workplace campaign. Then he began volunteering and found it to be incredibly meaningful, as well. Again, it was about those connections he made to others and to his community.
“It’s really been fulfilling to get close to the people we’re serving, in addition to making a financial contribution,” he explains. “I think it’s really hard to feel connected to community if all you do is give financially and you don’t meet people face to face. And frankly, I think it motivates you to give more when you see that a tiny little act can make so much of a spark for somebody.”
Connecting the community is a big part of what Nate appreciates about United Way’s work and history. And that ability to connect donors and volunteers to effective organizations helping people in need is needed now more than ever, he says.
“COVID exacerbated inequities that already existed. So, whether it’s income disparity or health inequity or access to quality education, the haves and have nots grew even further apart,” says Nate. “United Way’s mission is even more important. There’s an urgent need to help those who are on the inequitable side of our community.”
Nate makes it clear that he intends to partner with and rely on United Way to help him make connections and transformation in central Ohio for years to come.
“Much like I trust a financial advisor to advise me where to put my dollars to save for retirement, I trust United Way to decide where my dollars are best spent to build and improve our community,” he says.