Volunteer work has come easy for Marty Gleason and his wife, Lenore, who retired to Hilton Head Island 17 years ago after being actively involved in communities where they previously lived in New Jersey.
Formerly co-owner of Hemophilia Resources of America based in Pine Brook, N.J., Marty has always been a results-oriented person whether it be in his nationwide business or his volunteer activities.
It was the keen attention to measureable results by United Way of the Lowcountry's (UWLC) Beaufort and Jasper County leadership team that first caught the eye of the Gleasons four years ago. Marty joined the board and was "most impressed" with how UWLC insists on funding only programs that show positive measureable results.
This year's campaign goal is $2.5 million, which encompasses more than 30 member non-profit agencies. Each partner must provide evidence to UWLC of the results they have achieved with the funding they received.
And this goes the same for United Way's own local initiatives, such as it key local tutoring program called "Read Indeed." This initiative has more than 300 volunteer tutors in 12 local schools, with more than 800 students being provided one-on-one tutoring for Pre-K through third grade
Marty's enthusiasm is infectious, and as a result he is now fundraising chairman for the greater Hilton Head area. "Because I truly believe in what we are trying to do, it is easy for me to do fundraising," he said. "Our programs touch on the four most important aspects of our community - basic needs, education, health and family financial security."
For Gleason, the passion for giving back (both financially and hands-on) comes from a drive to share his blessings, instilled by his mother-in-law. "She would always tell Lenore and me 'If you've got a nickel, you've got to give at least a penny to somebody else,'" Marty said. "I cannot agree more. We have been fortunate, and therefore we should be sharing."
In addition to UWLC, the Gleasons have put their hearts, energy and finances into local area schools, the arts, community functions, Programs for Exceptional People, and the Antioch Education Center in Bluffton. This is on top of the love they share into the lives of their three daughters and nine grandchildren.
Edward Thomas is a freelance writer covering the Lowcountry.