The United Way of Southeast Alaska has hired Dawn Miller to replace Marsha Riley as the agency's executive director.
"Dawn's high energy, attitude, great credentials and excellent references made Dawn our pick out of a field of extremely strong candidates," said Rob Skinner, president of the United Way of Southeast Alaska board of directors.
Riley announced her resignation as executive director of the nonprofit fund-raising organization in March, citing a desire to be near her family in New Mexico. She moved to Juneau to take the executive director position in 2000.
Miller has lived in Juneau for four years, working as the prevention services department manager for the Juneau office of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.
"I'm just so lucky to be able to work with the agencies with whom I used to work shoulder to shoulder," Miller said of her new job, which she began Monday. "I've built these relationships up with other nonprofits over the last couple of years, in the trenches so to speak. I think I have a pretty good base knowledge of some of the issues that folks in Southeast Alaska are facing."
The United Way board of directors hired Miller because of her connections with local nonprofits and city and state employees, Skinner said.
"I had several unsolicited phone calls recommending Dawn for the job," said Skinner. "So right off the bat she had a little bit of a bonus because she had some fans that contacted me and lobbied for her prior to me even meeting her."
Miller's first challenge will be increasing donations from city, state and federal employees in the United Way's annual fund-raising campaign.
"I think that in the past couple of years we had some trouble getting into the state and city employment branches to work our fund-raising campaigning, and I believe that Dawn has some contacts and some attributes that will allow us to maybe gain some better access to those forums," Skinner said.
United Way acts as a fund-raising organization for 31 member agencies in Southeast Alaska. The agency raised $481,299 in donations and pledges in its 2002 campaign, almost $120,000 short of its $600,000 goal.
Miller said she also will focus on educating Juneau residents about United Way programs and eventually adding member agencies.
"We're always looking for new family members and different ways to serve different agencies," she said.
Christine Schmid can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.