‘Great things are happening in SWGA’: United Way president works to build up nonprofits

On the first installment of "Lifting up with Lenah", Digital Producer Lenah Allen spoke to Shaunae Motley with Albany's United Way.
Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 12:02 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - There are so many great deeds being done by several people and organizations throughout Southwest Georgia.

What better way to show appreciation than to shine a light on their efforts.

“Lifting up with Lenah” will be dedicated to spotlighting those people and organizations that continue to put others’ needs in front of their own and shines a light on good people in the community. Each month, Digital Producer Lenah Allen will have exclusive interviews with each chosen person or organization.

This month, in honor of Women’s History Month, Shaunae Motley, president and CEO of United Way of Southwest Georgia, was chosen to share her story.

Let the inspiration begin!

Shaunae Motley is the president and CEO of United Way of Southwest Georgia.
Shaunae Motley is the president and CEO of United Way of Southwest Georgia.(WALB)

Motley has dedicated the bulk of her career to fighting for education, health and income stability by supporting and growing programs that have helped so many in the community.

Throughout her career, she has held several positions in different nonprofit organizations that have shaped her passion for the work she does today.

She has since risen through the ranks and carries out her mission to help the community through United Way.

While Motley has worked hard to get to where she is now, she owes much of her success to those she continues to work with.

“I haven’t accomplished anything by myself, but through partnerships with our small but mighty team as well as our partners and stakeholders, we’ve really done some amazing things,” Motley said. “We’ve been able to reverse the six-year revenue decline and doubled our annual revenue to really provide multiple services to the community.”

With 21 years of experience in the nonprofit realm, Motley said her passion to work with different organizations came easy.

“I kind of just fell into it. I will say that I am the daughter of a Baptist minister and a retired school administrator and so, service was a part of what I grew up with. When I went to study at Georgia Southern University, I got a part-time job at the Boys and Girls Club in Bulloch County and that really is what propelled me to move forward in the nonprofit sector,” she said.

Motley said having dependable nonprofit organizations in Southwest Georgia is very important because of the results achieved through volunteer work.

United Way is a nonprofit organization that mobilizes financial and human resources to meet the...
United Way is a nonprofit organization that mobilizes financial and human resources to meet the community's needs.(WALB)

“It’s important that as a sector, we come together to fight poverty, to ensure that the graduation rate is thriving, to make sure that people have access to food, housing and utilities. So this work is critical. We can’t have any type of economical advancement if we don’t first address the social ills of our community,” she said.

Being a trailblazing woman in the industry only fuels Motley to work harder.

“One very important thing that I feel led to do is to actually reach out and to help that aspiring young woman to help them to be able to tap into what their strengths are and what their abilities are and to really be able to pay it forward. It’s just an honor to be able to do the work I do every single day,” she said.

Motley is looking forward to continuing her work in the years to come as she is planning even more initiatives that will impact the community.

“It’s our hope that we can continue to create opportunities for multiple organizations to get funding to advance public policy because we know that’s where real change occurs,” she said. “I think that’s going to keep me busy for a while. And so, I’m just enjoying my assignment for this season. Great things are happening in Southwest Georgia and we have work to do.”

With so much going on in the world today, it’s a relief to be able to stop and listen to inspirational stories like Motley’s.

Anyone with suggestions of an organization or person doing good in the community can send submissions to Lenah.Allen@walb.com.

Copyright 2022 WALB. All rights reserved.

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