Paula Green Johnson: Recognizing a Decade of Service

Green Johnson Pby Paula Green Johnson
Community Advocate

With heartfelt appreciation, we recognize Paula Green Johnson for her 9½ years of service as a member of United Way of Salt Lake’s Board of Directors. Throughout her time on the Board, Paula served in numerous capacities: as Chair for both the Government and Ethics and Public Policy Committees, a founding member of Women United donor network, and an original supporter of our Changing the Odds campaign and important transition to collective impact.

As she moves on from her time on our Board, we look forward to her ongoing contributions to our community. From all of us at UWSL—and on behalf of the community—thank you for your compassion, service, and leadership, Paula!

Paula was recently named one of Utah Business Magazine’s 2017 Outstanding Directors, an award that recognizes individuals in our community for their excellent work on nonprofit organizations’ Boards of Directors. What follows are the remarks she made upon receiving this honor. Learn more about Paula and her service here

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A good amount of my volunteering is in the governance and organization of nonprofits, allowing the institution to live their mission, be responsive to the people they serve, be fiscally strong and be good stewards of public and private resources. I find this work challenging, exciting and rewarding. It is, however, important to never lose sight of the people to be served.

Today I want to focus on Service and Philanthropy. Our Family has been involved with numerous nonprofit agencies in the state for many years, but has become focused in the last 10 – 15 years on three organizations that are dedicated to positive social impact.

 

United Way: For the past 9 ½ years, I have been honored to serve on the Board of Directors for United Way of Salt Lake. During this time I have been fortunate to work with two amazing leaders—Deborah Bayle and Bill Crim. Deborah, a visionary leader, dared to imagine a new United Way, where Collective Impact was the driving force that enabled us to partner with many public and private entities. The Board was nervous but cautiously excited and followed Deborah’s lead. This transformative approach to social change enables us to reach many children and their families in a holistic manner, improving their lives.

Bill Crim, the new CEO, has taken the reins and is moving forward with lightning speed as United Way strives to “move the needle” for the disadvantaged.

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Their promise to this community is to Change the Odds so that all children and their families, regardless of their circumstances, have the same chance to succeed in school and in life.

Ronald McDonald House: For 6 years I have been privileged to serve on RMH’s Board of Directors under another noble leader, Carrie Romano, who believes and promotes a kinder, giving world. RMH provides a temporary home-away-from-home that serves and sustains families of seriously ill or injured children receiving treatment at area hospitals. When most of us talk about helping, we think of large monetary donations. However, sometimes it’s the small gestures that mean the most. We ask residents, as they leave, to critique or just leave us a message. Recently a mother wrote: “You were my saving grace. It felt amazing being able to shower and brush my teeth. We came by ambulance, so I literally had nothing until you.”

YWCA: Finally, I have been associated with the YWCA of Utah for over 20 years in numerous capacities. In that time, Anne Burkholder has held a steady, fiscally-responsible hand on the organization. The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and girls and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Every day the YWCA serves the women and children who are victims of domestic violence, keeping them safe and helping them to live violence free.

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United Way, Ronald McDonald House, and the YWCA – I know these organizations make a difference every day in people’s lives, whether it’s through educating our most vulnerable and disadvantaged children or providing shelter to a family whose child is gravely ill or a safe haven for a woman and her children, free of domestic violence.

We live in a rapidly changing world. Incredible events within the last few years illustrate both the extent of change and how quickly we must adapt to keep pace. These events form the backdrop against which we live our lives. These times require leaders who can cope with constant change; who have vision and strength to carry it out.

I grew up in Wyoming. The people and the state legislature adopted what they call “The Code of the West” or what I call the Leader’s Code.

Code of the West:

  1. Live each day with Courage
  2. Take pride in your work
  3. Always finish what you start
  4. Do what has to be done
  5. Be tough but fair
  6. When you make a promise, keep it
  7. Ride for the brand—loyalty
  8. Talk less, say more
  9. Remember that some things are not for sale—stand for what is right
  10. Know where to draw the line

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The organizations I referenced are just three of many good, life-changing, nonprofits in our community. My family has always been mindful that we have a great life but not everyone has that advantage. I dare say everyone in this room is blessed. I would challenge you, if you are not already involved in community service, to consider finding your passion and doing something about it. It’s a marvelous way to teach children to be thankful for what they have; rather than focusing on what they don’t have. Someday these children can be beacons for positive social change.

I derive much pleasure and peace in knowing that someone’s life can be changed for the better. May you find this blessing, this joy in your own lives.

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