United Way of Southwest Virginia fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in Southwest Virginia because they are the building blocks for a good quality of life.

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As the needs of Southwest Virginians change, so too do the best practices for meeting those needs.

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Join us in our fight for our friends and neighbors in Southwest Virginia by exploring the options below.

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United Way of Southwest Virginia fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in Southwest Virginia because they are the building blocks for a good quality of life.

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United Way innovates for positive, lasting social change by creating sustainable solutions to address the challenges facing tomorrow’s workforce and through collaboration with government, business, nonprofit and individuals.

United We Win by improving the quality of early experiences that equip children for success in school and life.
United We Win by ensuring children start school ready to succeed and become proficient readers.
The Childhood Success team supports United Way of Southwest Virginia’s cradle-to-career approach.

United We Achieve This By:

  • Building a strong Early Childhood system through community partners
  • Supporting educators to increase high-quality care, especially those serving birth-36 months
  • Working with communities to ensure every child is reading on grade-level
  • Increasing availability, quality, and access to early learning opportunities across the region

The Childhood Success department at United Way of Southwest Virginia is the SWVA hub that strengthens the network of providers working together to improve families’ access to high-quality childcare. The core services offered by the Childhood Success team members include:


rating assessments for centers serving children birth to five, CLASS, ITERS, ECERS, quality level advancements


modeling, customized educational resources, quality improvement plans of action, feedback


on-site training, off-site evening training, directors’ learning community, peer-to-peer learning communities, conferences, scholarships, webinars, classroom management


classroom enhancements, online education, licensing, toolkits, code compliance

Marcia Dempsey

Marcia Dempsey


What is your role at UWSWVA and how long have you been a part of the team?

I am the grants manager, and I started in August 2020. I serve as an umbrella manager to help with compliance of grants, data evaluation and analysis - things like that. Right now, I'm learning all of our grants and how we operate and then finding ways to streamline and make processes in the grant management field more efficient.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I really enjoy being able to create new processes and do some groundwork for how things are going to happen in the future. I've never had that freedom in my role before, I've just always been told to use a process and then go with it, but being able to have that creativity in this role has been really nice.

What does a typical day look like in your position?

Typically my days include a bunch of different finance processes such as processing purchase distribution forms, analyzing data from financial documents and reports, etc. Then I send those documents to the necessary person for approval. No two days are alike for me; I typically jump around to a bunch of different projects and processes.

What is your personal motivation?

In my previous role, I also served Southwest Virginia and became really passionate about the area. I had learned so much and had no idea that all of these assets existed here. I feel motivated to perform well in my position just so that the people of Southwest Virginia can benefit because that is why we are doing this work. I’ve come to know and love many Southwest Virginians and I want to do well for them. My ego wants to say, however, that my personal motivation comes from just wanting to do the best that I can.


Favorite event/program at UWSWVA?

Obviously, the Childhood and Youth Success programs are all amazing. I haven't been able to work with them all directly, yet. The Backpacks Unite program is great because it's applying food and necessities to those in need.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

I love to hike! It's probably one of my favorite things, and this area of Southwest Virginia is just full of great trails. I especially love to hike in the winter because there is less traffic and it's cooler. The Great Channels are my favorite hiking spot in the area and I've been in the snow before which made it even better. I also love to read and lately I've been watching too much Netflix! I also love hanging out with my dogs Guapo and Bird.

What is a fun or unique fact about you?

I have 20 hours of training in a Cessna 174 airplane and I have a twin brother.


Tell me about your favorite day at work in your current position you’ve ever had.

I thought it was really interesting to attend the COVID-19 Advisory Council with Governor Northam. That was a pretty cool meeting!

Do you have a quote or mantra that you always look to that is meaningful to your work here at UWSWVA?

“In God we trust. All others must bring data.” - W. Edwards Deming


What was your very first job and how do you use a lesson you learned in that job still today?

I was a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador as a community organization economic development specialist. I was living in a third-world country for two years. I guess one of the biggest things I learned is that even though we're all different, we're the same, that is, we're all human. Things like status or economic income don’t actually matter; we just need to all treat each other with respect. Another thing is that you don't know what people are actually going through, so you need to be nice, always. The biggest lesson in jobs is that, if you want to do good work, then you need to treat other people with respect or they won't work with you.

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Top 10 in the United States by Charity Navigator in 2018 Guidestar Platinum Seal of Transparency Charity Navigator Four Star Charity United Way 2020 Membership Requirements Completed


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