Let's Meet a CVC Member: Megan White

Member Spotlight: Megan White

Currently: Institution Relations Manager, Open Arms of Minnesota

CVC Member Since: She joined in 2020 (Open Arms is a charter CVC-TC member)

Originally from: A small town just outside of Kalamazoo, MI

Currently resides: South Minneapolis with her family (via Boston and Chicago)

My First Volunteering Experience: Service has always been an important part of my life. Some of my earliest memories of volunteering were connected to my faith community and as a Girl Scout.

Favorite concert: Brandi Carlile is one of my favorite musicians and seeing her at the Minnesota State Fair a few years ago was a magical experience.

Dogs or Cats: Definitely a dog person. We adopted a rescue dog during the pandemic named Magnolia. She’s a super sweet southern girl from Alabama and a Lab, Pit Bull, and Golden mix.

Rooting Interest: My alma mater, University of Michigan. Go Blue!

Thrill seeker: I am a bit of a thrill seeker and sky diving is on my bucket list.

Get to know Megan:

While many of her friends and fellow students were studying to become doctors, lawyers, and engineers at the University of Michigan, Megan decided to take a different path--one that would shape her life and career to this day. After graduating, she joined AmeriCorps, and the service path was set in motion. “The energy of joining a volunteer-driven organization was so contagious and inspiring,” she beamed. “I knew immediately that I wanted to work in the nonprofit industry.” Eventually this led to her getting her Master’s in Nonprofit Management from DePaul University in Chicago.

Prior to joining Open Arms, she worked remotely for a Boston-based literacy-focused nonprofit, honing her skills in institutional fundraising and developing meaningful partnerships within the corporate community. Through a tip from her husband, who had a chance to volunteer through a corporate event at a great organization, Megan was introduced to Open Arms. The organization’s mission of providing nutritious, medically tailored meals for people experiencing a significant health crisis or living with life threatening illness resonated deeply with Megan, and she jumped at the opportunity to join Open Arm’s Development Team when a position opened.

In her role as Institutional Relations Manager, Megan thrives on the opportunity to make deeper connections with corporate partners on both the giving and volunteering side, which has been critical during the pandemic as demand for Open Arms’ services has increased significantly. Most of Open Arms’ clients are especially vulnerable to severe complications from COVID and so free, home-delivered meals have become essential to their overall health and well-being. While demand for medically tailored nutritional support has increased, Open Arms’ volunteer workforce, which is the foundation of their program model, has been cut in half due to COVID-19 concerns. While Open Arms continues to host hundreds of corporate and community volunteers each week, they have continuously adapted to reinforce social distancing, mask wearing, and, most recently, vaccination requirements to protect the health of their volunteers, clients, staff, and community.

The by-product of these changes to their business due to the pandemic has ultimately been a win for Open Arms. “More and more people who are navigating a health crisis and facing nutrition insecurity have become aware of our services as we expanded our meal delivery to provide short-term support to COVID positive households and also began shipping our meals to rural communities across Minnesota.” Megan was excited to share news of long-term plans to deepen Open Arms’ program delivery within the East Metro as well as a community-based, cross-sector research and development project to launch up to three culturally specific menus. With a coalition of support including UnitedHealthcare, 3M, and the City of Minneapolis Health Department, Open Arms aims to launch a Hmong, East African, and Latinx menu by the end of 2022.

However, what Megan really wants everyone to know is that Open Arms needs your help now more than ever. They’re back to welcoming in groups to help volunteer (safely) and provide not only a rewarding experience for volunteers, but much needed medically tailored meals for those in need. Visit www.openarmsmn.org to get more information on volunteering.

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