May 27, 2020
By Rafael Sanchez
Just a few months ago before the pandemic hit, I agreed to be one of the first individuals to put my fears aside and agree to rappel down a 20-story building this summer to raise funds for United Way. Other Indy corporate leaders were signing up as early adopters, so sure, I felt a little competitive pressure to raise my hand for the event, Over the Edge for United Way.
But, this sort of daredevil opportunity is not in my DNA. All that went through my head was, “what on earth did I sign up for?”
Today, the world is suddenly different.
United Way hit the pause button for all activities, including Over the Edge, to help our community through the COVID-19 crisis. I could not be prouder of our effort to bring together the generosity of so many organizations, corporate partners and individual donors to help lift our community out of this unprecedented situation. The work is not over, as we are deploying resources where they are needed right now to organizations all across our community.
However, United Way must think beyond just our community’s most immediate needs. Now is the time to actively plan for the long-term strengthening of individuals, families, and our neighborhoods post-crisis. That starts with Over the Edge for United Way – one of the most unique and fun events for all you courageous people.
So, we’re on! Over the Edge is scheduled for August 14, 2020. The idea of hooking myself to the former AT&T building on the corner of Ohio and Meridian streets and rappelling down still makes my stomach churn a bit, but I am setting aside my fear to support thousands of people who live in fear almost every day. Fear of not having enough food. Fear of not being able to make rent. Fear of getting sick and not being able to afford medicine. Fear of finding and keeping a good job.
With that said, I’m going Over the Edge. Here are five reasons why you should join me:
(1) I promise, it’s safe. The Over the Edge crew members are professionals. Your safety and security, especially in new social distancing requirements, is the highest priority. Just watch their video – you are in great hands.
(2) I promise, it’ll be fun. I mean c’mon, we’re going to take your picture. We might even be able to livestream your rappel. And as we are still experiencing so much uncertainty right now, won’t this be fun thing to look forward to?
(3) I promise, this is exclusive. You will be one of only 80 people who can say “I raised funds for United Way and rappelled down a 20-story building.” You’ll have bragging rights in your network of family and friends and be in unique club of “edgers” who were willing to do something pretty amazing for their community.
(4) I promise, every dollar you help us raise goes to an important cause. Meeting the basic needs of our most vulnerable children, seniors, adults and families is paramount to our work.
(5) I promise, you might see our community from a new perspective. In the great dramatic film, Dead Poets Society, Mr. Keating (Robin Williams) asks his students to climb on his desk and pleads with them, “just when you think you know something, you have to look at it a different way.” Let’s shed stereotypes of poverty and work together to help people, no matter their situation.
Let’s conquer our fears together. Let’s unite for those struggling in our community. Let’s change tomorrow, today. Register here, fellow rappellers!
Rafael Sanchez is president of Private Banking at Old National Bank and will serve as United Way’s next board chair.