Williamson County Demonstrates Culture of Giving
Residents strongly support nonprofits to help neighbors
An important facet of Williamson County’s quality of life is the community’s giving spirit. Residents and businesses alike support the many nonprofit organizations who work tirelessly to meet the community's needs, from safe housing to providing meaningful work and educational programming for individuals with disabilities.
Leading by Example
“We are so fortunate to live in a community that truly sees the value in serving one another. Even in an affluent community like Williamson County, there is a lot of need. Thankfully, leaders in our community know the needs and lead by example in their actions,” says Emily Layton, development and community relations manager for Waves Inc.
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Waves has been supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities and developmental delays and their families in Williamson County for 45 years. The organization provides educational and social opportunities for adults with intellectual disabilities as well as housing and employment. Its Early Learning Program offers intervention services for children.
“Since Waves’ inception, we have provided opportunities for hundreds of adults to reach their fullest independence and abilities,” Layton says. “Our vision is an inclusive community where everyone works, learns and plays together.”
Layton says nonprofit organizations such as Waves are successful because of the support they receive from all areas of the community.
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“Elected officials are very active in the nonprofit community. Attend any nonprofit fundraiser in the area and you are bound to see a mayor or a county commissioner there. Churches and businesses alike make concerted efforts to reach out and serve as best they can. We have been the recipient of tremendous financial and volunteer support for several local churches,” Layton says. “The local schools have also done a wonderful job of teaching our students the importance of giving back. When there is a need, this community rallies together and makes positive change occur.”
Lending Helping Hands
Like Waves, BrightStone expands the potential of adults with special needs by providing opportunities and solutions that enrich their lives. BrightStone provides a comprehensive work, social support and future residential community for adults with special needs, and is able to do so with help from a wide network of volunteers and benefactors across Williamson County.
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“We are blessed to have several businesses partner with us. There are several churches and corporations who volunteer with BrightStone on a regular basis. Some serve at our current campus working with our adults, and many help with community events and working on our new campus. In fact, volunteers donated over 4,000 hours of their time last year. Because of them, we are able to continue to provide daily services because of the giving spirit of Williamson County friends,” says Elaine Farmer, development coordinator for BrightStone.
“BrightStone is grateful for the support and generosity of the Williamson County community. Through financial [support] and gifts of time, we are able to provide services to our families who see their adult encouraged, learning and reaching for their potential in turn helping them develop mentally, physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually.”
Through advocacy, education, research and developing quality-of-life services, The Arc Williamson County also empowers individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families so that they can actively participate in the community.
The Arc’s Sharon Bottorff says Williamson County’s business community plays a big role in the success of nonprofit organizations.
“Businesses in Williamson County are big on making a community impact. Many have one-on-one relationships with nonprofit agencies, and many participate through United Way of Williamson County’s many volunteer efforts, such as Days of Caring and Full Tummies, Warm Hearts,” Bottorff says.
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But much of the credit for the community’s giving spirit, Bottorff says, goes to individual citizens.
“Williamson County citizens are very giving of their time and money as evidenced by participation in the numerous fundraisers that are held in Williamson County for nonprofit agencies providing an array of services and the number of individuals who volunteer their time either on their own or through their workplace,” she says. “For so many families, giving back is a way of life for them. Volunteerism and community service is one of the many attributes that make Williamson County such a great place to live and work.”