Preparing Future Leaders While Giving Back to the Community

The season of giving is upon us and, with the help of the United Way of Amarillo & Canyon, Engler College of Business students are giving back to the community for the Holidays. With $10,000 in seed money, students were able to donate to four local programs.

  • Family Support Services Crises Services  – $4,000
  • 2-1-1 Texas Panhandle Helpline of the United Way of Amarillo & Canyon – $2,000
  • Buckner FYi Center – $2,000
  • Coalition of Health Services-Nurse Family Partnerships – $2,000

This new initiative is designed around creating a student-centered process for giving with the United Way by teaching students how to make philanthropic decisions that impact their community.

Dr. Amjad Abdullat, Dean of the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business said “… most students do not have substantial funds to donate to the United Way or other agencies. Some students may have received assistance from an agency and they know what it means to receive a gift from others. With this project, we want to give our students the opportunity to participate in giving from the donor perspective.”

Screenshot from Zoom meeting between the student leaders and United Way

Even with social distancing constraints, student leaders from across the College were able to meet with Adam Leathers, Sr. Director of Community Impact, via Zoom where they were presented information on a selection of Panhandle programs and taught how to analyze this information and make their decisions based on criteria that are important to the Panhandle Community and that continue the positive legacy of Paul Engler’s generous gift for students.

“All of the activities are designed to develop future leaders in our local community. We look forward to continuing this partnership with the United Way and persistently growing the giving spirit in the Panhandle with our efforts,” said Dr. Robert Allen King, Director of Graduate Business Programs.

Dr. Robert Allen King during the Zoom meeting

Students were selected for their leadership roles across the College and their desire to give back to the community.

“It is my pleasure and honor to be part of the United Way project in the College of Business. The presentation impacted my heart to look for ways to make a change in this world. Small acts of kindness will help make a better future for us all.”

– Yaneth Acosta

Student Leaders, current degree program, role, and association:

  • Yaneth Acosta, MBA – Management, President, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • Jessie (JJ) Castillo, BBA – Finance, Project Manager, Enactus
  • Miguel Cuevas, BBA – Marketing, Director of Marketing, Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA)
  • Karlandria Edwards, BBA – Management, President, Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Society
  • Mason Pifer, BBA – CIS, President, Media Minds
  • Yaisiry Ramirez, MBA – Gen Bus , Vice President, American Marketing Association

For more information about donating or volunteering with the United Way of Amarillo & Canyon, go to or call 806-376-6359.