We Are UNITED Speaker Vanessa Williams ‘Maddened’ by Hunger Epidemic

Posted By on February 20, 2018
For Vanessa Williams, a Grammy, Tony and Emmy award-nominated performer and philanthropist, making the world a better place is about helping others in small ways every day.
“My philosophy is doing small things on a daily basis,” she said. “Whether it’s sharing information or helping somebody out in their day or connecting people that need to be connected, gving something away that you don’t need but that somebody else could need, giving an extra tip to somebody who’s down on their luck and could use an extra $20.”
Williams, who is speaking at the Valley of the Sun United Way We Are UNITED Luncheon at the Arizona Biltmore on May 18, has been giving back throughout her life and career.
“My parents were always involved in various clubs and groups and my dad was in the rotary, my mother is a Link, which is a black woman’s organization. She also collected for the United Way growing up, they’ve always been active,” she said. “It’s just what you do.”
Williams continues to stay involved with organizations that she feels a close connection to, wanting her involvement to be organic and genuine.
“The organizations that I contribute to and work with all have come kind of organic component whether it’s a history with heart disease in my family or music education, because both of my parents were music teachers, young women, talking about personal experience and struggle,” she said. “In whatever aspect I give back it comes from a personal connection.”
For Williams, helping raise funds and awareness for United Way’s hunger in the classroom programs through her involvement the luncheon, speaks directly to her values.
“It just maddens me that there’s hunger in the land that we live in, the land of plenty,” she said. “We live in a fantastic country and the fact that there is a hunger issue is maddening.”
At the end of the day, what’s most important to Williams is making the impact and taking action and creating positive change.
“There’s a lot of talk, there’s a lot of galas and fundraisers but when you get stuff done you know that it’s worth it,” she said. “I get asked to do a lot of stuff and you wonder whether things do get done and that’s the bottom line. Let’s make a change.”
For tickets and more information on the We Are UNITED luncheon, visit vsuw.org.
Jamie Killin

About Jamie Killin

Jamie Killin is the web editor for Frontdoors Media. She also is a freelance journalist who has been published in Thrillist, Phoenix Magazine, So Scottsdale!, The Arizona Republic and more.
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