James E. Merklin doesn’t just talk about how important the work of United Way of Summit County is to the people that the agency helps. He backs it up with his own blood, sweat and tears.
Merklin has energized everyone in the nonprofit fundraising and community service organization through his tireless efforts to find new ways to recruit members and get them excited about the opportunity to help people. He was elected to the board of directors in 2010, as well as to the finance and executive committees. His appointment to the executive committee made him one of the few directors to receive such an honor in his first year of service.
When new members are being recruited, Merklin has offered to increase his own personal donation if team members are able to reach a certain level. He celebrates the successes of his colleagues and those who work for him and shares their stories in hopes of leading others to emulate and replicate what they have done.
Merklin also joined the Alexis de Tocqueville Society, a national United Way leadership giving and recognition program that fosters, promotes and recognizes personal annual giving of $10,000 or more.
Two months after he joined, he was asked to chair the society’s committee and was ultimately able to help it to raise more than it ever had before in its 22-year history with 35 new members and a total of $2.2 million, an 18.5 percent increase over the previous year.
Merklin agreed to chair the Alexis de Tocqueville Society again in 2011 and was also elected to, and is chairing the board’s nominating committee. Merklin is proof that it doesn’t take long to make a lasting impact when you really put your heart and soul into it.
HOW TO REACH: United Way of Summit County, (330) 762-7601 or www.uwsummit.org