I’ve worked at Comcast for eight years now, and one of the things I’m most proud of is how my fellow employees give back to our communities. Each year all of us, from our technicians to our leadership teams, come together to make a difference by volunteering on Comcast Cares Day and pledging our support to United Way. It wasn’t until this year that I realized I had my own personal connection to United Way – a connection I have since shared in a companywide video to promote our recent annual corporate campaign.

Well, the results are in, and I’m thrilled to announce that my colleagues from across the country pledged an incredible $7 million to United Way. Combined with a grant from the Comcast Foundation, that means our company is contributing a record $9 million next year. This support will boost United Way’s community efforts, which focus on education, income and health, as well as the vital programs of the thousands of non-profits it helps fund – including one that directly helped me.

Twenty years ago, I was raising my family as a single mother, juggling everyday expenses like rent, day care, food and utilities. I learned about Habitat for Humanity, a United Way-supported organization that helps families find safe, affordable homes. I applied to the program and worked alongside Habitat volunteers to renovate what would then become my home – laying sheet rock, painting walls, and installing windows.

The hard work was worth it; I’m happy to say that my family and I still live in the same home today. I’ve since become an active Habitat for Humanity volunteer to help other families find their way. And even though my Habitat journey began 20 years ago, their work is as important today as it was then because one in six Americans still do not have an affordable place to live.

That statistic is one that organizations like Habitat for Humanity and United Way are focused on changing.

Like a lot of people, I associated United Way with disaster relief, such as tornadoes and floods, so it never occurred to me that United Way’s work was broader and focused on empowering families like mine.

The reality is the United Way has been there for a lot of us – for our friends, families and neighbors – whether we realize it or not. That’s why it’s so important to give back, and why I’m so proud of my colleagues for stepping up to take our United Way campaign to the next level.