Emerging Leaders member Jose Lopez: “I Live United because I want to make a difference.”

After serving as a loaned executive for United Way’s biggest employee giving campaign two years in a row, H-E-B manager Jose Lopez joined our Emerging Leaders donor network to stay involved in the Austin community and be an advocate for United Way’s mission of fighting poverty.

During his time with United Way thus far, Jose has led dozens of H-E-B store campaigns with more than 20,000 people and raised over $1 million for the Greater Austin community each year. Jose says he wants to help make his Austin community a more equitable place for everyone. As a member of Emerging Leaders, he aims to learn more about issues facing local communities and get involved in delivering impactful solutions.

Watch more about Jose’s work and read the full story in his own words below.

Why did you join Emerging Leaders? 

I joined because I want to make a difference. A lot of the work being done [at United Way] personally resonates with me. Growing up with a single mom raising six boys, it was always a struggle. It was definitely a path that taught me a lot in life. But I don’t think everyone should have to go through that. It’s much better to help and connect folks to resources and put them on a better path. 

Seeing the work that gets done with nonprofits has always been intriguing. I want to see what happens behind the scenes and not just that but how I can make a difference. So Emerging Leaders for me was the perfect entry to that.

I love working with United Way. It’s just an amazing place to be. It’s great people, great teams, and amazing work. All the work being done behind the scenes that people don’t get a chance to see—it’s just amazing. That’s truly what’s making a difference.

Tell us about a project you worked on with United Way.

The most recent project I worked on was the H-E-B campaign as a loaned executive. That to me is a tremendous amount of self-fulfilling work because you get to hear a lot of stories. We go out and visit with the community to share about the work of United Way. It’s rewarding when you’re talking to somebody about the work and they come out and start sharing their personal story and their personal connection about how it’s changed their life. 

I was blessed to see and hear a lot of amazing stories of how people’s lives have been changed because of the work that’s being done through United Way. That’s just not something you see every day.

What is your favorite thing about working with United Way?

The thing I love about United Way is it’s always like a family atmosphere and how everybody is willing to pitch in and do whatever it takes to get things done—that to me is just beautiful. They are always looking for ways to achieve that common goal. I don’t think I ever heard anyone say, “No we can’t do this.” It was more of, “How can we do this?” That is powerful. 

How can we build a better Austin that works for everyone?

Building a better Austin for everyone is going to be done through a team effort. It’s all of us recognizing that not a single one of us can change the world but if we all pitch in together we can make a huge difference. Sometimes folks feel like their contribution doesn’t make a difference, but the reality is that every contribution put together makes a huge difference in our community. Yes, none of us can do it alone, but we can all do it together.

I recommend getting involved because it makes a difference. Once you jump into the work it rewards you all on its own. It’s automatically rewarding seeing the impact it’s making on the community on a daily basis. 

There’s a lot of impact United Way is making on the community—and I want to be a part of that. I want to make sure that we set ourselves up for a better tomorrow. That we set ourselves, our families, and our kids up for a better tomorrow and there’s no better way to do it than to get involved.


Learn how you can join Jose as a member of Emerging Leaders here.

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