Find Your Way: Meet Broderick
Broderick Cason, manager of community engagement for Univera Healthcare, is deeply involved with United Way and is particularly passionate about the C.A.S.H. Coalition. The C.A.S.H. Coalition, or Creating Assets, Savings and Hope, aims to improve the financial health of hardworking families. Nearly 50 organizations come together at the United Way table to identify and create proactive, community-based asset-building strategies to increase financial well-being.
By bringing like-minded individuals together, the coalition identifies barriers to financial advancement and finds ways to elevate families’ financial situations. These include things like helping working families secure tax credits and income supports such as the Earned Income, Education and Child Tax Credits, so they can keep more of what they earn. Supporting education and employment opportunities to increase access to good paying jobs. Improving the coordination, reach, and consistency of local financial education programming, helping families plan for the future. And encouraging homeownership & other asset development through Individual Development Account (IDA) matched savings accounts, building generational wealth.
“I believe that just by virtue of its name, that [United Way] unites people together,” says Broderick. “And to be involved and watch so many interested people in the community who really genuinely want to do the right thing … I want to do more of that. I want to be involved and invested more in that.”
In fact, his introduction to the C.A.S.H. Coalition is one of Broderick's favorite United Way memories. Witnessing the community's genuine interest in improving wealth equity and seeing the potential to make a real impact on the community's well-being is what inspires him to stay involved. In a world where there is no shortage of causes that one might support, Broderick keeps coming back to United Way and C.A.S.H. because of the tangible progress he sees resulting from their collective efforts.
“United Way has kept me engaged because I see that there is real action, real improvement that you can see happening in the community because of those efforts.”
For Broderick, this ability to unite stakeholders and act as a convener is United Way's greatest strength. Through their four coalitions organized around addressing needs at every stage of life, United Way creates a platform for brainstorming and idea-sharing, focusing on specific areas of community need and translating those ideas into actionable change. And while it's theoretically possible to address community challenges individually, Broderick states, having a trusted organization like United Way as a central convener significantly enhances the effectiveness of their collective efforts.
“I don’t think you could do that if you were doing that in a vacuum. If you did that alone, you’d get worn down, real fast. And I think what happens, other people help to lift you up. You see them trying hard, and you see them doing better. You try harder. You do better. And together, we are better.”
Broderick finds inspiration in the dedication and commitment of others involved in United Way's work. Facing challenges and frustrations together, united in a shared direction, instills a sense of solidarity and determination. He emphasizes that effecting meaningful change takes time, and having a community of like-minded individuals working alongside each other is essential for sustaining motivation.
“We live in a world where everything is quick, fast and in a hurry. And you want everything instantaneous. And this work takes a lot of effort. It takes a lot of really being focused and interested and dedicated.”
Additionally, Broderick recognizes the value of learning from others within the United Way C.A.S.H. Coalition and believes that their investment, knowledge and shared experiences contribute to personal growth and overall improvement.
“You can’t do better until you know better. So other people’s investment, their knowledge, and what they share with you makes you better. And when you’re better, then what you do is better. I think I’ve really gained a lot of appreciation for the others in the room – what do they do? What do they bring? And that can only make you better.”
Broderick's story of Finding His Way through the C.A.S.H. Coalition highlights the power of collaboration and community engagement in addressing economic mobility and financial well-being. United Way's role as a convener and its ability to unite stakeholders for the betterment of the community resonates deeply with Broderick. He finds inspiration in the collective dedication of those involved and believes that sustained progress can only be achieved through collaborative efforts. He looks forward to the coalition’s ongoing success and continuous improvement and the milestones they will achieve together for our community.
As for the future?
“I think what happens then is we then look at ‘what else? For who else? Where else?’ We drive a continued effort to identify a need, create a path for success, and we change people’s lives. We improve people’s living situations, and I don’t think we’ll ever be done with that.”
Inspired individuals like you power the work of not only the C.A.S.H. Coalition, but also United Way’s Maternal Health, Early Childhood, and School-Age coalitions. Your support of United Way ensures these groups have the resources they need to share best practices, pilot solutions and influence systems change in support of a community where everyone can access a quality education, build economic mobility and live a healthy life.
Find Your Way to be part of meaningful change in Erie County.