Lifelong Cape Codder Norma Schmidt has been an exemplary board member and volunteer for the Cape and Islands United Way since 2008. She is a commercial loan administrator at the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod and resides in Centerville with her family.
When did you get involved with the Cape and Islands United Way?
I first became involved with the Cape & Islands United Way in 2008 while I was working for a local bank. My supervisor was the President of the Board of Directors at the time and I would see a lot of different people from the community coming in to meet with her. My curiosity was peaked as to what these meetings were all about and what was the mission of the Cape and Islands United Way? I knew that I was donating to the organization via a workplace giving campaign, but I wanted to know where my donation was going and how it impacted my community. So, I researched their mission and looked for opportunities to become more involved.
What attracted you to the cause?
A theme at United Way is that people can give a gift of time, talent, or treasure - anyone who wants to, can contribute. My first volunteer role was as a member of the “Citizens Investment Committee.” For several years I reviewed grant applications. It opened my eyes to the needs in our community and all of the locally-based nonprofit organizations providing services to people in our neighborhoods. From soup kitchens for the hungry and diapers for babies to transportation services for women with critical illnesses and respites for elderly caregivers, it ran the gambit. There are so many people and organizations who are trying to give a hand up, not a handout. There is so much good work being done right here.
It opened my eyes to the needs in our community and all of the locally-based nonprofit organizations providing services to people in our neighborhoods.
In your opinion, what is the most important work that this organization does?
This organization is so in tune with the needs of Cape Cod and the Islands and the work being done in our community is amazing. The Cape and Islands UW works closely with organizations that provide programs to make a difference in the areas of housing, educational success, employment, food security, and financial stability. It’s the old analogy of the pebble. When the pebble is thrown in the water, the UW doesn’t want it to sink, they want it to have ripple effects out into the community. So, they try very hard to choose the grant recipients who are making an impact in an innovative and collaborative manner for all members of our community.
Of what contribution or achievement are you most proud?
I’m most proud of getting my daughter (age 18) to see the impact she can make by volunteering. She has helped to make gift baskets for the Community Baby Shower, as well as asked for donations. She learned that if you ask, people will contribute what they can. Seeing the results of her work at the event opened her eyes to the fact that a small donation of time, talent or treasure, makes an impact. And I know that is something that made her feel good.
(My daughter) learned that if you ask, people will contribute what they can.
What is something about the United Way that you admire?
I’m proud of the Cape and Island United Way for changing from a strictly proactive organization to now having an Emergency Response Fund. It was born out of need during COVID and it’s been a life-saver for many local families.
What is something that people might not know about you?
I have strong ties to Cape Cod. My great-grandparents lived in North Truro in the 1920’s. I know they must have relied on the kindness of community – that is the United Way. We are supposed to take care of each other.
I know they must have relied on the kindness of community – that is the United Way. We are supposed to take care of each other.