Jamie Dopp learned the value of giving back at a young age.
In elementary school, Dopp’s church volunteered to spend time with women in a local nursing home without any visitors.
“That really opened my eyes to see that there are people who are lonely in this world,” she says.
As a teenager, Dopp volunteered with her church’s youth group at a soup kitchen. She saw a kid her age in line to get a hot meal.
“That really struck me in a way I had never been before,” Dopp says.
Years later, those experiences have shaped the way Dopp views the world, as well as her role in it. She’s made a career out of giving back.
“It’s a dream job, really, to get to help others,” she says. “I get to go home and feel good about the work I do every day.”
While at KY3 Inc., now retired General Manager Mike Scott saw Dopp’s passion for others and created a position to turn her passion into a job. After nearly a decade at KY3, she left for a similar position at City Utilities of Springfield.
With almost 1,000 employees, CU has over 50 percent participation in United Way of the Ozarks’ annual giving campaign. Last year alone, employees gave over $165,000. And all of that comes from employee generosity. As a municipal entity, Dopp says CU can’t write checks to charity.
“There are a lot of good people in Springfield who are working hard to make a difference every day,” she says. “I never cease to be amazed by the giving spirit of our neighbors.”
In addition to annual giving commitments, CU employees select a charity each year to support through internal fundraisers. This year, it’s Lost & Found Grief Center.
“Our director of transit passed away a few years ago, and they have been a beacon of hope for his family to make it through without him,” she says.
Over the course of the year, employees will typically raise between $2,000-$5,000 for the charity of choice. In June, employees organized a Taste of the World fundraiser for Lost & Found.
“Our employees created dishes from their cultures and backgrounds,” Dopp says. “We sold tickets for $5. That one event created $1,000.”
She says one of her favorite projects of her career was organizing the Ozarks Honor Flight while at KY3.
Through the program, 1,200 World War II veterans flew to Washington, D.C., to visit the war memorial. She remembers one veteran pulled her aside and said there are things he looked forward to at the beginning of his life, like getting married and graduating, but he didn’t think there was anything to look forward to anymore.
“The honor flight was the big event at the end of his life,” she says.
She used the event as a tool to show her children, Lillie and Parker, that there are causes bigger than themselves.
“I would have them come and hold the door and tell the veterans, ‘Thanks for saving the world,’” she says.
Other highlights of her career working with nonprofits include chairing the United Way of the Ozarks Day of Caring and supporting Harmony House for its Halloween Hustle fundraiser.
Dopp says she’s learned that there’s “no task too small or too big” and that “little steps help in big ways.”
“We live here and work in Springfield and we have a responsibility to serve our community.”
Going up at Missouri State University’s 125-acre William H. Darr Agricultural Center on Kansas Expressway is the Small Animal Education Center.