Sonia Grant, Vice President and Retail Market Manager for TD Bank, has been involved with United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties in various capacities for over 20 years. Sonia has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2014 and has served as the Secretary since 2019. She also joined our Women United group in 2014. Sonia Grant is a dedicated volunteer whose leadership and passion have been invaluable to our community.
What drew you to United Way given the variety of choices in giving and serving as a volunteer with nonprofits in our community?
I had a one-on-one conversation with a United Way board member who approached me to come on the board, and he really broke down what the mission and vision were. I was totally in, I was sold at that point. I joined the board and really got in to the work that UWMOC does; it really aligns with my core values of giving back to the community. The organization touches so many different buckets and it all makes an impact on people’s lives, that’s very important to me.
How do the mission and values of TD Bank align with those of United Way?
I’m so blessed to work for a company that really values its connection with the community. TD Bank partners with United Way annually for our employee giving program, and working for a company that believes in that is huge. We give grants out every year and support many community efforts, but our main pillar is education—which United Way has a strong focus on.
What does being a woman leader mean to you?
It really means a lot to be a black female leader. I mentor a lot of people, and one of the things I do is pay it forward. I mentored a young lady who was in junior high and not in a good situation. I was one of her constant supporters and it got her through high school and even on to college. For me, the importance of being a leader in TD Bank, in the community and even my own household is all about being the example and paying it forward to someone else.
How was your experience supporting the Warmest Wishes Coat Drive?
It was great, the team really got behind it and wanted to support the kids in our community. Our branches in Tinton Falls and Point Pleasant collected over 230 coats! The drive’s success was really about the partnership and how we can make a difference in a child’s life. Children will be warm throughout the winter and their parents won’t have to worry about not being able to afford a coat. Just knowing that you had a part in that can bring you to tears. It was such a huge eye-opener for my team, people really went out of their way to volunteer their time and money to make it happen for the kids in this community who are in need.
Which of UWMOC’s impact areas speaks to you the most and why?
They all speak to me, but the thing that really stands out and resonates with me is Financial Stability and the Financial Success Center Network. I’ve even referred people there for various services such as free tax preparation, and they come back to me with great feedback. Families are suffering and they need support, now they know where they can go. All of the services the FSC Network offers are so important and relevant, and the impact it makes on the lives of the people in our two counties is touching. It’s good to know that the work United Way does is valuable and really makes an impact.
What does it mean to you to “Live United”?
It’s not just about one thing, it’s about connecting the dots between everything we do and how it impacts people. It’s connecting everyone on the board and staff to align and become one United Way. Everyone is on the same page, everyone has skin in the game to help the community so that there’s no child or family that’s left behind. We have to Live United to support the people in our community, and I’m all in 100%. As long as I’m here living in our area I will be a part of United Way – and if I ever move, I will still be a part of it. I’m a firm believer in the work that United Way does.