Nonprofit Advocacy Training Empowers Indian River County Leaders to Drive Positive Change 

United Way of Indian River County, in collaboration with the Indian River Community Foundation, recently organized a comprehensive training session aimed at equipping the over 50 local nonprofit and community leaders in attendance with the knowledge and skills necessary for effective advocacy. The event featured guidance from Leah Donelan McDermott, Program Manager at the Florida Nonprofit Alliance, focused on understanding the legal and practical implications of advocacy efforts. 

The program commenced with an inspiring opening address by United Way’s CEO, Meredith Egan, who emphasized the pivotal role that nonprofits play in shaping public policy to bring about meaningful change. Egan underscored the importance of using voices collectively to address community issues and highlighted the potential impact of policy changes, even at the local level. 

Leah Donelan McDermott led an informative session providing an overview of advocacy encompassing various aspects such as education, research, nonpartisan voter engagement, and grassroots organizing. McDermott stressed that nonprofits not only have the right but also a duty to advocate for causes, constituents, and communities. She outlined permissible activities and the limits faced by nonprofits in their advocacy efforts. 

Highlighting the economic significance of the nonprofit sector in Florida, McDermott shared that the state boasts the 15th largest economy globally, with 6% attributed to the nonprofit industry—equivalent to the construction sector. In Indian River County, the nonprofit sector employs over 5,000 individuals generating $268 million in annual wages countywide. McDermott encouraged leveraging this collective economic power for the greater good of the community. 

In the face of a cautious political climate, particularly at the local level, nonprofits have been hesitant to assert their voices for advocacy. Both United Way and the Indian River Community Foundation urged attendees to apply the insights gained from the training session to actively contribute to positive change within Indian River County. 

For more information about the Florida Nonprofit Alliance, please visit Learn more about the Indian River Community Foundation at For more information about United Way and upcoming events, please visit or contact Meredith Egan at (772) 567-8900 or [email protected].  

About United Way of Indian River County

United Way of Indian River County (UWIRC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every community member. United Way works with local programs to provide resources to individuals and families in crisis today while working year-round to improve community conditions and create lasting solutions. We are effectively building a solid foundation and improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community. For more information about your local United Way, please call (772) 567-8900 or visit our website,

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