Donor Spotlight: Todd Habets


At United Way California Capital Region, we have a 20-year promise to our community that we will end poverty starting in school. Together with the help of our generous donors, we can break the cycles that trap children in poverty and help them and their families toward better lives. Thank you, Todd, for your support in fulfilling our promise to our community!

Tell us how you first got involved with United Way.

My first involvement was through a workplace campaign at a previous employer. However, my experience with the workplace campaign at Nustar Energy was what really led to my engagement with United Way. The leadership at NuStar set the tone company-wide by leading by example. NuStar allows employees the opportunity to foster their passion for giving back in the community, both in terms of volunteerism and donations.

What do you most relate to in the work that United Way California Capital Region does?

I recognize that United Way is a pivotal player in opening my eyes to see the great opportunity to give back. Through United Way, I have become aware of the many needs in the community and I trust United Way to steward my donation in a way that makes the most impact.

What is your philosophy on the work that United Way is doing?

I grew up in a rural community outside of Pittsburgh, PA. It was a tight knit community but the economy had been hit very hard by the downturn in the steel and coal industries and there were a lot of people living in unfortunate circumstances. That said, I grew up happy because things were much simpler and as kids, we didn’t have a lot of exposure to outside influences and stressors like kids do now. Today, kids must deal with so much more while having the same or less resources than we did then which is why we must focus on cultivating and preparing our youth. As a father, I feel lucky that my wife and I are able to provide for our daughter and to help prepare her to be a valuable member of our society. I know that others do not have this same opportunity, and kids need our help.

What is the most fulfilling aspect of your involvement with United Way?

  • Being able to see the results of the work
  • Opportunity to teach my daughter the value of good will
  • Keeping my eyes open to the always present needs in our community

What would you tell someone who is thinking about donating or volunteering?

Commit to participating in a volunteer activity. Pick something of interest, and go out and do it. You won’t regret it and you won’t be one the fence any longer.

Often philanthropy and volunteerism are generational concepts, in that they are passed down. How would you say that concept relates to you?

My parents instilled a sense of volunteerism in me when I was in elementary school. I was involved first with the Young Astronauts Program and then the Civil Air Patrol starting in Junior High. For more than a decade, my parents actively engaged in these same programs. They were always very generous with their time and efforts, often supporting members of or causes that benefitted their community and I hope to pass my commitment to giving back to my daughter.

What three traits define you?

  • Integrity
  • Not taking things for granted
  • Enjoy life

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I am a first generation American.