Fast 15: Megan Heckes

by Nancy Peevy ([email protected]) 1,093 views 

Class of 2022 Megan Heckes Manager of Strategic Investments and Impact United Way of Northwest Arkansas

Megan Heckes’ journey to her work at the United Way started with a degree in accounting from Harding University in 2017. After graduation, she became a business analyst in Walmart’s accounting department and was quickly promoted to process manager.

Born and raised in Albuquerque, N.M., Heckes loves the numbers and analytics of accounting but realized she’d always been interested in nonprofit work and the impact nonprofits make on the community. To learn how to serve the community best, she got a Master of Public Administration and Nonprofit Studies at the University of Arkansas in 2021. She earned the Gosack Best Portfolio Award for her work on service projects, including a community needs assessment for Washington County families and children.

With a research focus on families and children, Heckes interned with the United Way, which led to a full-time job after graduation. She oversees the organization’s paid summer internship program, which places college students with 22 service organizations. She also runs the federal Emergency Food and Shelter Program for the Department of Homeland Security and the United Way’s Community Investment Grants, distributing money to nonprofits serving low-income households.

Since October 2020, Heckes has more than doubled the early literacy program, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, in Washington, Benton and Madison counties, and raised the funds to cover the cost of the books for children up to age 5. “It’s so important for gaining literacy skills and being prepared to enter school at age 5,” she said.

Heckes said she enjoys helping nonprofits collaborate with each other “as all of the helping professions have a common goal of improving the lives of the people we work with.”

Intrinsically motivated and a planner, Heckes strives to do her best in everything she does. She values personal relationships. “I love being respected by my peers, doing a job and adding benefit to what we’re working on.”

Heckes knows “in the helping profession, you can get burned out.” So she tries to have good boundaries between her personal and work life.

Heckes hangs out with friends and hikes with her dogs in her downtime. She also enjoys crocheting blankets, and her New Year’s resolution is to make more things for her friends and family.