United Way of Southeast Alaska ushers in the new year

New board members elected, welcoming new organizations and agencies

United Way of Southeast Alaska, formed in 1974 and incorporated in 1979, enters the new year with new board members and an invitation to agencies and organizations to partner with the nonprofit.


New board members

United Way has a 17-member board which saw some members retire, some new faces, and a shift in board leadership. Juneau Empire Publisher Mark Bryan was elected Chair of the Board of Directors for 2013. Bryan has been a board member since February of 2011 and also serves on the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Juneau Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Karen Crane is the Chair Elect. Crane has lived in Juneau more than 20 years and is retired from a career in state government. She serves on the City and Borough Assembly and volunteers in the community.

Mark Mesdag was elected as Treasurer. Mesdag is a CPA and manager with Elgee Rehfeld Mertz and a graduate of the Leadership Juneau program, facilitated by United Way.

Sheryl Weinberg, Executive Director of SERRC - Alaska’s Educational Resource Center, serves as secretary of United Way this year.

Remaining on the Board and serving as Past Chair is Mary Becker, who has served on the United Way of Southeast Alaska Board since November of 2008.

Current board members Robbie Stell, Corey Pavitt and Mark Mesdag were re-elected to the board. Stell is a retired educator with more than four decades of service at the University of Alaska Southeast. Pavitt and his wife, Ellen, own Pavitt Health and Fitness.

Sheryl Weinberg was re-elected to serve as the large agency representative on the board and has served on the United Way Board since 2008

Jaysen Katasse was recently appointed to fill an unexpired term, created when Garland Walker stepped down in preparation for his pending retirement. Katasse is an Assistant Vice President with First National Bank Alaska and manages the FNBA Juneau Branch office.

Adam Wilkinson leaves the board with the expiration of his term.

“We will miss both Garland and Adam and appreciate their service to United Way,” Bryan said in a press release, “but know that our new board members also bring with them new energy and talents that will serve the organization well.”

One of the first items of business for the new board will be to review their current strategic plan and set direction for the organization for the coming year, while maintaining the ongoing programs United Way of Southeast Alaska delivers.

In addition to its annual workplace campaign, United Way grants funds to partner agencies to provide additional services to the communities of Southeast. The strongest focus of the Community Impact Funds has been on literacy and early learning but funds have also been distributed to aid in increasing independent living skills, parenting classes, and supporting AmeriCorps volunteers.

In support of the literacy and early learning goal, United Way has entered into a strategic partnership with Coeur Alaska and the Juneau School District to help get all Juneau students reading at grade level by third grade. Coeur Alaska has invested $75,000 over three years toward the education and future success of children by sponsoring the Volunteer Reading Tutor program.

The Learn United: Reading Tutors partnership sets the gold standard for real, meaningful volunteer work in our schools. The new Reading Tutor program identifies students in need of reading skill building, solicits and engages volunteers to serve as reading tutors, and provides training and recognition for the tutors. It gives community members a way to genuinely impact the lives of our students and families.

Welcoming new agency partners

United Way of Southeast Alaska is now accepting applications from both current partner agencies and those agencies interested in becoming partner agencies of the organization. Deadlines for both renewing or hopeful partner agencies are Feb. 1. United Way asks that agencies and organizations review the terms and conditions for partnership to determine eligibility, complete the application form, including attachments, and all necessary paperwork by the Feb. 1 deadline.

United Way boasts a number of benefits to partner agencies, listed below.

1. Funding: United Way allows donors to designate gifts directly to our partner agencies. In addition, undesignated gifts are encouraged to fund the Community Impact Grants program. In 2012, $27,000 in grants were awarded to support vital programs and services in Southeast Alaska.

2. Publicity and Awareness: United Way partner agencies are included in campaign materials and publicity that help build community awareness of each agency’s role and impact in our communities.

3. Networking: United Way partner agencies participate in the Nonprofit Leadership Council (in Juneau or by teleconference in the region), a group of agency leaders that meets regularly to work on collaborative projects, share information, obtain professional development and provide mutual support. In addition, the organization convenes groups dedicated to community initiatives in the areas of health, income stability and education, as well as providing information by email that may be of interest such as grants, trends or new regulations.

4. Resource Development: United Way of Southeast Alaska partner agencies benefit from community-building activities such as community research, special grants, Day of Caring events, volunteer development and referrals, collaborative grant writing and other partnership activities that leverage resources and results.

For more information about United Way of Southeast Alaska, visit them online at unitedwayseak.org or call them at 463-5530.


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