Laura Toni-Holsinger is a native of Norwalk, Conneticut and was a resident of Boston before moving to her home in Harrisonburg. Here, she loves the restaurants, breweries, and small businesses. Laura is the Executive Director of United Way, which she has been involved in for two and a half years, and a current board member at Friendly City Food Co-op, where she has been a member since 2011.
United Way’s goal is “Uniting our community to empower people in need.” United Way’s “sweet spot” according to Laura is playing a connector between businesses and non-profits for staffing and resources so the most good can be done. A prime example would be United Way’s Day of Caring in which “... we work with nonprofits to find projects and identify businesses and volunteers that can help, which saves the non-profits time and resources which they can use on their direct programming, while giving the businesses an opportunity to see: what’s happening, who’s doing it, and how they can get involved later on down the road.”
Many of United Way's partners are located downtown and here is always an effort to involve local businesses, whether it's with volunteering or resources. Laura emphasizes that "Volunteering is a huge component of what we do." And this volunteering helps them accomplish their goals. One of the current missions of United Way is the "We Read to Succeed" program. This program works to empower kids in their reading skill as they transition from learning to read to reading to learn, to prevent children falling behind in school.