Leadership Givers change lives and inspire others to get involved

United Way of Greater St. Louis (UWGSL) Leadership Giver Melissa Lenz has built a great professional career for herself having spent the last 27 years of her career working at UWGSL corporate partner, Edward Jones, where she serves as a financial advisor. For Melissa, life has always been about more than just achieving her own personal goals; building a strong community and embracing the concept of neighbors helping neighbors has always been paramount for her.

“I’ve been very blessed, I’ve been given a lot of great opportunities by other people helping me by being leaders to me, and that’s what I want to be for others,” said Melissa.

Her passion for wanting to help others began at the early age of 16, when she got her first job at Schnucks Markets. As a longtime supporter, Schnucks shared UWGSL’s impact in the community and why they were enthusiastic about supporting us.

Working for Schnucks and learning more about UWGSL began a lifelong commitment of supporting us and our efforts in the community. As she continued to grow and excel in her professional career, so did her involvement with us as she is now a member of the UWGSL Women Leadership Society and de Tocqueville Society.

Melissa’s commitment to UWGSL serves to not only enrich our efforts, but to also be an inspiration to others, like her daughter, Brinley.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the stay-at-home order and subsequent lack of social interaction caused Brinley to become more introverted and reluctant to speak to people. The two of them decided to come up with a plan to get her comfortable with being sociable and interacting with people again.

Brinley decided she wanted to make bracelets, go door to door to sell them and pick a charity to donate the money she made from her sales. The first charitable organization that came to Melissa’s mind was UWGSL. Melissa told her about us, how we help the community and the safety net of nonprofit partner agencies that UWGSL funds.

“I led her to United Way’s website so that she could go through all of these organizations,” said Melissa. “We know that they are great organizations and that the money you give and your hard work will go towards great causes.”

To this day, Brinley continues to follow in her mother’s footsteps as someone who consistently contributes to the stability of the St. Louis region through generous giving. Melissa said she is grateful to UWGSL for consistently being a staple in the community. She has confidence in knowing that UWGSL will put dollars to good deeds.

“I just appreciate all the work that United Way does to really be diligent about ensuring that the money is going to good organizations, and I was able to lead my daughter in that direction,” said Melissa.

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Rodney Humphries
Rodney Humphries