Molly Dobson: Good people doing good things

Molly Dobson. Her name is synonymous with philanthropy, leadership and commitment to community. She is a real dynamo, an interesting and interested nonagenarian whose lifelong quest has been to be engaged in, and to support, Washtenaw County and the people and organizations that call it home. Her interests are as diverse as the community itself, so it is little wonder that she has spent most of her adult life investing in, and furthering the mission of, United Way of Washtenaw County.

A lot has changed since the ‘60s when her work with United Way began. Site visits were introduced to better acquaint staff with the mission of agencies receiving support. The Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti United Way offices merged to better serve the needs of eastern Washtenaw County. A centrally located headquarters was constructed on Platt Road. The list goes on and on.

A real eye-opener was during the 1970s when automatic payroll deductions were introduced and many employees in local factories, hospitals and other large companies gave even more generously than many of the United Way’s key Campaign donors. “Those with the least were giving the most — perhaps because it was so easy to do or maybe because they knew someone who was, or that they could one day be, on the receiving end of United Way support.”

As times changed — both socially and economically — the long-familiar Torch Drive slogan “Give once for all” diminished in significance. Today, there are an increasing number of non-profits needing even greater support. The community is bombarded with ‘asks’ and donor dollars are limited. “By giving to United Way, donors can feel confident that they are helping to solve real community challenges efficiently and in real time.”

Over time, Molly’s ongoing support has transitioned from Board and committee memberships to a more behind the scenes approach. A high-level Toqueville Society donor, her conviction to both her fellow man and her hometown remain steadfast.