United Way of Bartholomew County’s Volunteer of the Year will tell you right up front that nonprofit work is profitable indeed.
Al Furlani sees the idea of helping others as one of the best feelings around — even if a person’s time is limited.
Furlani mentioned this after Tuesday’s United Way annual meeting Tuesday afternoon at The Commons, where he and others were honored.
“The United Way doesn’t need everyone to serve on a board,” said Furlani, who serves on several boards.
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“My grandson, who is 10, was just down at CANstruction Saturday (building a display in mid-February) at FairOaks Mall.
“And they can use just an hour of your time in a week.”
CANstruction, which includes volunteers from youngsters to retirees, involves teams of people building artistic structures with canned food later donated to local food banks. United Way is the organizer of the event.
But Furlani has been hungry to help residents in other ways than his grandson.
His own volunteer work includes serving on the guiding team for the United Way’s Avenues to Opportunity; serving on the United Way’s Community Impact Committee; co-chairing the Bartholomew County Financial Literacy Coalition and chairing the support committee for financial leadership; serving on the Family Services Inc. board; and being a part of the local body of the National Association of Financial Advisers board.
In the past, he also has volunteered regularly at the local Love Chapel food pantry.
But Furlani said he cannot begin to help others without the help he gets from his own family, and also the staff from his Columbus insurance business.
“They do an incredible job — and that allows me to have an impact on the community,” Furlani said. “I’ve always had a passion for helping folks, especially beginning in the financial arena.”
Part of Thursday’s United Way gathering highlighted successes other than Furlani’s.
Su Casa of Columbus executive director Sylvia Babcock read a note about an anonymous Latino client overflowing with gratitude. The woman, caring for six children, including a niece and a granddaughter, lauded Su Casa for helping her get everything from school supplies to Christmas gifts after moving to Columbus 18 months ago from Ohio.
Lisa Shafran, president of Turning Point Domestic Violence Services, shared the story of a young local student who learned about Turning Point’s Safe Dates program highlighting healthy and unhealthy relationships. The student then shared with her mom that her father, the mom’s husband, fit the profile of an abuser. In time, the mother recognized the recurring abuse and got out of the relationship.
And Gary Goshorn presented the story of how Just Friends Adult Day Services has helped him care for his wife, Carole, dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.
Other United Way honorees besides Furlani:
Live United Award, highlighting generosity, and a push to help neighbors, coworkers and others: Faurecia Clean Mobility, whose employees donated 4,870 hours of company time to the community, including strong support of the concert by Our Hospice of South Central Indiana.
Give Award, highlighting those going beyond philanthropic generosity: Cummins Inc.
Advocate Award: Beth Powers, especially for her work with Cummins Inc.’s fund drive.
During the business meeting, Paul Malone was introduced as board chair to replace outgoing chair Jennifer Manns.