Rob Rains, President of United Way of Brevard, participated in the Nathan M. Bisk College of Business Ethics and Leadership breakfast on October 30, 2012. Rob, president of the United Way of Brevard since 1994, discussed the decision making process and ethical dilemmas he faces in running one of the largest non-profit organizations in the county. This is United Way’s 55th year in Brevard County and the impact they have on the community does not go unnoticed. United Way, with the support from over 400 companies and organizations in Brevard County, raised 7 million dollars in last year’s campaign and had over 30,000 contributors. The money raised goes to support a variety of non-profit human and health service organizations who provide services to those in need.
One of the ethical questions he asked the audience was, who is the United Ways customer, the population it serves or the donors who contribute to the campaigns? From Rob’s perspective, it is both. Fundraising is the engine that allows United Way to serve the community. He stressed the importance of having a value system and staying true to the end the goal, helping people in the community.
As president, he also discussed the importance of knowing your limits of authority. As a leader, you must know when to check with your board of directors and when to make a decision on your own. Though you might not get the balance right all the time, it is important to evaluate the situation from many angles and understand your role in the decision making process.
For Rob and his staff, the ultimate goal is to get people to “live united.” For people to recognize the ways in which we are all connected as a community. Florida Tech is leading the way in doing so as it has been recognized as the #1 school in the state of Florida in per captia donations.