The life cycle of a community requires a new generation of residents stepping into important roles so they can continue the work of those before them.

That takes various forms, such as local government, law enforcement, education and business.

Not to be forgotten is philanthropy. Many organizations depend on continual donations of time and effort to perform their missions.

The good news is that a new volunteer and philanthropic group for local young professionals, Emerging Leaders United, has started.

Its purpose is to foster volunteerism within the next generation of volunteers, and give local people 40 and younger a way to engage with and support the United Way of Bartholomew County and the 22 nonprofit groups it supports.

Doing so will put the new volunteers in an environment with like-minded individuals, and help them understand the needs of agencies and the residents they serve.

We support that idea.

Emerging Leaders United plans to kick off it efforts by helping with the annual Columbus Fireman’s Cheer Fund, and sorting toys that are given to families in need at Christmas.

The new volunteer and philanthropic organization has great potential because it fits well with community efforts in a variety of ways. It is a great complement to the Columbus Young Professionals, which is a network of about 140 young professionals and fosters personal and professional development. It also complements the work of Engage Columbus, which tries to connect residents with individuals and organizations so they can be more involved in the community.

And with local economic development leaders trying to attract talent to the Columbus area, having an organization that can help people fulfill their philanthropic desires is beneficial.

Most importantly, though, Emerging Leaders United is an opportunity for younger residents to learn more about the community through service to others and gain the skills needed to eventually take ownership of philanthropic efforts for decades to come.

That’s a win-win situation for everyone.

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