Tehani Rodriguez
California Department of Transportation (CalTrans)


Each year, Our Promise asks state agencies and departments to loan one or more of their valued employees to participate in the Leaders United Program, an 18-week working session to assist in the annual giving campaign. Leaders United participants (LU’s) serve as an extension of the Our Promise team and work full time in the local United Way offices from late July to early November. Their work is absolutely vital to the success of the campaign and goes a long way to ensure deserving non-profits from throughout the state benefit from the money raised each and every year. 


This year, we wanted to highlight our LU’s by shining a spotlight on their philanthropic passions.

Tehani, what inspires you during this challenging time?

The inspiration I get during this really hard time is the act of kindness that I see from other people that are more fortunate than others. 

One example, of many, that I have witnessed was while I was at a grocery store recently, I had witnessed a woman struggling to find money in her purse to buy groceries after what seemed a long time passed.  She asked the clerk to put back several items that you and  I would say were staples:  bread, milk, eggs. 

Several people in line started to take out money from their wallets to help pay for the groceries and the person next to her in line asked that the items she wished to buy be put back into her cart.  She not only was able to take home the items she needed by the kindness of people but an extra $20.00 was given to her and a candy bar for her child. The act of kindness from others gives me strength every day.   

Nonprofits need Our Promise CA now, more than ever. What cause(s) have your attention in 2020?

I have always been very passionate for animals because they rely on the needs of people helping them to survive and seem to be the last in line to be helped. I always donate to animal charities and the one I have chosen this year is, Best Friends.

The other charity that I find in much need this year is for families who have become homeless because so many places have closed and people have lost their jobs.  The Salvation Army has a homeless program that gives funds to help in rent or in keeping one from being evicted.  

If you are interested in learning more about the Leaders United program, please click here.