United Way Quad Cities wants to get input from people in the area between ages of 18 and 40.

The nonprofit is currently exploring an Emerging Leaders network that aims to develop the next generation of community leaders. The network will do this by connecting young professionals with each other, advocating for our community’s needs, and investing skills, time, and financial resources into initiatives that put opportunity in the hands of more Quad Citizens, according to a new survey.

The project is headed by Laura Keenan, a 2022 Augustana College graduate, the first Emerging Leaders manager for United Way QC.

The new Emerging Leaders initiative is an opportunity to help build the QC talent pipeline, and keep new college graduates in the area, as Keenan has done herself. She wants to get them connected to the community, which overlaps with Q2030, the region’s strategic action plan.

“You look at community leadership and boards of directors and there’s a gap,” United Way president/CEO Rene Geellerman has said — noting there aren’t many such volunteers age 40 and under. “We have tremendous leaders in our community, who push the needle, challenge the status quo, but there’s a gap in leadership. We’re helping cultivate leadership and I think United Way is the perfect partner for that.”

Gellerman sits on the Q2030 board and executive committee, and said Keenan’s role is in alignment with the goal of increasing the QC population of ages 25-44. The Emerging Leaders job also will work with the QC colleges to give students opportunities to be involved in the community through volunteerism and networking.

“This is a great retention strategy for companies. Young people want to be involved in their community,” Gellerman said. “They want to work for companies that invest in and care for our community.”

The 18-question survey asks about respondents’ interest in community involvement, volunteering, and what causes they are most passionate about. The completed survey is due back this Friday, Sept. 16. It can be found HERE.