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Spotlight with Anna Mok
There are many ways to make an impact through United Way Bay Area—as a volunteer, donor, networking member, or even as a board member. Some people go all in, making as much of a difference as possible in as many ways as possible.
Anna Mok is such an individual. So much so, that UWBA recently named Anna our Spirit of Philanthropy Award honoree at the 2021 National Philanthropy Day awards for all her work in the Bay Area.
Anna began her relationship with United Way as a workplace campaign donor when she joined the workforce and became one of our strongest advocates for change in our community. Over the years, Anna has served in various leadership roles, including Chair of the Board, Advisory Council Member, Tocqueville Society Co-Chair, and Development Committee member. She has served multiple leadership roles at Deloitte including being a regional, national and global leader during her career.
We talked with Anna about what inspires her most about United Way Bay Area, as she and others work tirelessly to improve the lives of marginalized communities and many still struggling in our region.
What was the first time you heard of United Way and what was your impression?
I first heard about United Way Bay Area at Deloitte as a staff person right out of college. United Way has long been a partner with Deloitte, and I was introduced of its important mission as part of the Workplace Campaign. Time flies and it is now since been multiple decades that I’ve been involved with United Way.
How did you become more involved?
It was really in those first few months, when I learned about all of the great work that United Way did, that I got really interested and committed right away.
Was there a defining moment that led you to get more involved?
I would say that it was a gradual involvement of first being a donor, and then being more engaged with different community and leadership programs. Eventually, because of my interest in the work, I was asked to join the board. Once I joined the board, I became even more active in many different aspects of United Way and had an opportunity to help steer our board in high-impact ways such as merging with United Way Silicon Valley and evolving our Impact agenda.
In the past year through the pandemic, have you learned anything new about United Way?
I could not be more proud of being associated with United Way, and how it has stood up in times of crisis. Whether it’s the local fires that occurred over the past few years or the COVID pandemic, United Way galvanizes the community to fundraise and provide services to those most critically in need and our most vulnerable. I’ve been very impressed over the years with how, as an organization, United Way continues to adapt to the needs of our region. United Way is such a unique organization in that it has a long legacy. It has been around for a century and continues to evolve with the needs of the communities where we live and work. That's what I appreciate about United Way. It's quite nimble in what it does.
What has been your favorite service that we’ve offered to the Bay Area?
I don’t know that I have a favorite service! I would say some of the work we’ve done in shining light on the issues of the community has been one of the pieces of work that I’m most proud of. We shine the light on poverty and the fact that we have so many individuals in the community that are working—and doing their best to work and provide for their families and still can’t do that because it’s so expensive to live in the Bay Area. Regardless of which county in the Bay Area you live in, this is a common societal challenge.
What is most important to you?
As a first-generation immigrant, the work that we've done, and continue to do, around poverty; economic and educational access and attainment; and building a fair and equitable society are what is most important to me and anchors my community work. If you look at the organizations I’ve been involved in, the common tenants of those organizations have been a core focus. The reason I continue to be so committed to United Way is that I believe its work is front and center to the tenants that I believe are critical to building a strong society.
What do you see for the future of United Way?
As I look ahead, I would say we can build on the great work we've done around poverty, education, and housing, but really to push ourselves and try to disrupt the systems and processes that exist in our society that are standing in our way of making true sustained changes. One of the things that I enjoy most about United Way is that we really have a long view on making change and societal impact. And so I am looking forward to doing that as well and participating in everything that is to come with our One Hundred Year Celebration.
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