For more than 15 years, Jennifer Stanley spent time on the road singing, writing music, and sharing her voice with others from the stage. However, her heart never left the city she’s called home her whole life. Now, firmly planted in Muncie with a young family, she’s giving back again as part of United Way of Delaware County’s 2017 Campaign leadership team.
“I remember my father working on United Way campaigns when I was young,” said Stanley, whose father is Wil Davis, co-founder of Ontario Systems and now president of Ball State Innovation Corporation. “If it was important to him, I knew it must be important for Muncie.”
Stanley, whose husband, Casey, is chairing this year's United Way campaign, has always created more than just music. She creates energy in those she works with and meets. Her passion to help people has led her to serve in the Delaware County community, where she’s spent many hours recruiting friends, family, and fans to several special projects.
“I want to see Muncie come together and get excited about how we can change our future through United Way’s vision,” she said. “Muncie has given so much to me; it’s a joy to be able to give back.”
United Way of Delaware County’s focus this year is tackling generational poverty by working to ensure all the county’s third graders are up to standard reading levels by 2024. Out of 240 communities across the country, Delaware County is one of only 15 showing significant progress in meeting that goal.
Stanley believes that young people hold the keys to her community’s future—a community she loves and has always called home. This is why she’s found herself inspired every day to continue helping its youngest members get the opportunities they need to succeed.
Like others on the United Way leadership cabinet, Stanley stays busy giving back in multiple ways. She is a founding board member and now the board chairman for Stripped Love, a ministry to women in sex trade. Since 2011, she has also worked as a stylist for Cabi Clothing. The relationships Stanely has developed through her post-music career and ministry have only strengthened her resolve to give back.
“I’m especially inspired by Kelly Stanley, my father-in-law, who has served United Way since he was a young man living here with his family,” she said. “The work he did then can still be appreciated today. I want to leave a legacy, as he has done, for future families here.”
Stanley invests in Muncie nonprofits because she finds it the most effective way to impact her neighbors. Like many who continue to devote their time and treasure to United Way’s cause, she knows her community’s longevity depends on it.
“The seeds we plant with our young leaders and our youngest citizens will grow into the Muncie of our future,” she says. “If we sow love and literacy today, we’ll see a bright future tomorrow.”