With a broad mission to support efforts to improve education, financial stability and health in the community, Northern Arizona University is establishing a student chapter of the United Way to create the next generation of philanthropic pioneers.

The organization was founded by NAU students Sarah van Rooy, Ella Rogers, Kayla Winters, Cristobal Macias, Mia Somenek and Danielle LeBlanc as part of the university’s non-profit certificate program which teaches students how to manage a non-profit organization. The leaders of the group have been volunteers for other organizations in the past—from Guatemalan orphanages to wildlife conservation groups—and are enthusiastic about establishing a student chapter to work hand-in-hand with United Way of Northern Arizona (UWNA).

“I knew a lot about the organization and felt that starting this chapter would be an amazing way to give back to the Flagstaff community,” said Somenek, student chapter president. “There are so many students willing to volunteer their time and this chapter will give them the ability to do so.”

The student United Way chapter is already working on projects with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Flagstaff, movie nights at a local elementary school and fundraising for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library—one of UWNA’s signature programs.