Sioux Empire United Way is excited to announce Taryn Latza as our new Campaign Director!
After graduating from SDSU in 2020 with a degree in Leadership and Management of Nonprofit Organizations, her summer internship led to a full-time position as the Community Investment Coordinator at the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation. Just one year later, she began volunteering with us as the SFACF Employee Campaign Manager and Nonprofit Section Chair for the 2022 Sioux Empire United Way Campaign.
Now as the SEUW Campaign Director, Taryn will be responsible for spearheading annual employee-giving campaigns, developing innovative fundraising strategies, and nurturing relationships with local businesses, donors, and volunteers. According to Taryn, she “squealed with excitement” at the opportunity and can’t wait to combine her strengths and passions as she serves in this role.
To learn more about her, be sure to read our interview below!
Q&A with Taryn Latza
What was your original connection to Sioux Empire United Way & why did you decide to get involved?
Growing up in Sioux Falls, having studied nonprofit management, and previously working at an organization that supports SEUW, I was familiar with the work they do for our community. I am passionate about Sioux Falls and the nonprofits that work to improve our community for all. Volunteering with SEUW was an easy way to give back and impact multiple hardworking nonprofit organizations and those they serve.
How have your beginning years shaped your appreciation and involvement with Sioux Empire United Way and their funded programs?
Over the last few years, I have had the opportunity to learn more about the SEUW and their partner agencies by volunteering with them through Volunteer United, visiting them on agency tours, and giving back to them through the campaign. Learning about the partner agencies has been extremely beneficial, encouraging me to continue donating time and dollars to their causes.
What has your journey with SEUW looked like?
I first began volunteering with SEUW in 2021 through my work at the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation. After volunteering for the 2022 campaign, I became an active member of Volunteer United (formerly Emerging Leaders) and joined their Steering Committee in 2022. I continued those roles and took on more responsibility as the Nonprofit Division Chair and a member of the Campaign Cabinet in 2023 before accepting a full-time position as Campaign Director.
As a Sioux Empire United Way Supporter and volunteer for nearly 3 years, tell us about the moment you were asked to be the Sioux Empire United Way Campaign Director.
When I was first approached about applying for the SEUW Campaign Director position, I was very surprised. However, after asking questions and learning more about the responsibilities and day to day duties, I came to realize that my strengths and passions aligned very well with the position. Throughout the interview process, I became more and more confident that this was the right move and I had the potential to do well in this role. I love Sioux Falls, I love people, and I really wanted this job! When Alan called me and officially offered me the position, I squealed with excitement. It was bittersweet leaving the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation and a team I loved, but I know in this new position that I can still work with them to encourage philanthropy, support local nonprofits, and serve this community.
The annual campaign sets a monetary goal, as the Director, what goals do you have for yourself, the team of volunteers, and the community?
- Increase the number of givers we are able to connect with throughout our community by continuing education and outreach to those in less traditional work environments as well as younger generations as they enter into the workforce.
- Continue supporting and engaging new and returning volunteers throughout the campaign process as well as on the “off season.”
- Create unique/alternate forms of giving and engagement as workplace policies regarding giving continue to evolve.
- Expand my own knowledge regarding national giving trends and effective solutions to combat the overall decline in philanthropy.
What are you looking forward to as the SEUW Campaign Director moving forward?
I am looking forward to learning more about the hardworking nonprofits in our community, meeting and collaborating with the dedicated volunteers who make the campaign possible, and using my strengths and passions to better serve the Sioux Empire.
We hear many times that people and community leaders give to United Way because you never know when you may need the resources of their funded agencies. Do you have a personal tie to the agencies we hope to support in 2024?
Yes. Having lost an uncle to suicide, faced my own mental health challenges, and witnessed other family members and friends struggle with similar experiences, I care deeply about mental health. I’m thankful for nonprofits like the Helpline Center and Lost&Found that work to normalize conversations around mental health, bring awareness and education regarding the topics, and provide prevention services to those experiencing mental health struggles.
I’m also very proud to support REACH Literacy as well. Not only do I volunteer with them through their BEE a Reader program, but I shop at their bookstore too. Most recently, I purchased Christmas gifts for a few family members there!
As a former SEUW volunteer, what advice do you have for individuals interested in volunteering with us?
I would encourage anyone who is interested in volunteering or looking for a way to get more deeply involved in our community to do so by joining Volunteer United or checking out the Helpline Center’s Volunteer Opportunities. There is something out there for everyone! Volunteering your time at a nonprofit that aligns with your interests and passions can be a great way to learn more about their work and have an impact on those being served.
In addition to your work with SEUW, what other organizations or nonprofits are you involved with in our community?
- Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation as a volunteer scholarship evaluator.
- REACH Literacy as a BEE a Reader volunteer.
- Sioux Falls Thrive as a Youth Development Collaborative committee member.
- EmBe as a current participant of their Women’s Leadership Program.
- Young Professionals Network as a Personal & Professional Development Action Team member.
Do you have any final words you’d like to share with our readers?
Whether you are new to SEUW or a long-time supporter, thanks for being here! I can’t wait to keep working with and for you all. Together, we can create a better tomorrow for the Sioux Empire by supporting the hardworking nonprofits in our community and I am looking forward to connecting with you in the weeks, months, and years to come. Please do not be a stranger – I’d love to grab a coffee, get to know you, and find a way to work together in some capacity!