SOUTH BEND, Ind. – United Way of St. Joseph County Board of Directors announced on May 22nd that they have accepted the resignation of President/CEO Kay Ball. Alfred Guillaume, Jr. was named interim President/CEO.

“I am very proud of the significant accomplishments we have made together during my six year tenure at United Way. With the ultimate commitment to move the United Way mission forward—and now, to transform our mission to focus more keenly on the issue of poverty in our community—our team of board members, community partners, volunteers and staff have developed significant synergy to that end. We have addressed many exceptional challenges of these times with great vision and wisdom. As a result, United Way is strongly positioned to continue its leadership role as convener and facilitator of community partnerships well into the future,” said Ball.

Chris Strafford, United Way board president, added, “Kay led our organization with professional competence and personal confidence that strengthened us through many significant internal and external transitions. During her tenure, United Way has raised $21,056,000 from individuals, corporations and foundations to invest in Education, Income/Financial Stability and Health programs and services. The Board is grateful for Kay’s hard work, dedication and inspiring leadership. We will miss her but wish her well in her new position as the Executive Director for the Elkhart General Hospital Foundation.”

United Way board member Alfred Guillaume, Jr. has been appointed by the United Way Board to assume the role of Interim President/CEO on June 7. Dr. Guillaume served as a United Way Board Member for nearly nine years, as well as a member of its Community Investment Committee. Recently retired, he served fourteen years as executive vice president for academic affairs at Indiana University South Bend. Additionally, he has held teaching and senior level academic leadership positions at Xavier University in New Orleans, Saint Louis University and Humboldt State University. Alfred is active in civic engagement and is an advisor to and board member of numerous organizations, including the Foundation of the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, the South Bend Symphony, WVPE, Greening the Bend, IUSB’s Center for A Sustainable Future, the African American Community Fund, and Habitat for Humanity. He is a charter member and one of the founding directors of the 100 Black Men of Greater South Bend. Dr. Guillaume previously served on the board of directors of the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, the La Salle Council of Boy Scouts of America, and is a former president of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Association.

“United Way is moving to a model of Collective Impact with a focus on reducing poverty in our community. We are honored that Dr. Guillaume has agreed to serve during this time. His commitment to our community through non-profit volunteer leadership and his military service to his country are humbling; his professional credentials are inspiring. The Board appreciates his loyal, compassionate dedication to the United Way mission,” said Strafford.

United Way of St. Joseph County is a nonprofit organization that advances the common good. Currently celebrating its 100th Anniversary year, United Way’s key priorities of Education, Income and Health are demonstrated through partnerships with 57 local agency programs and facilitation of diverse United Way services.





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(April 2013 to March 2014)

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What were the results of the research?

Why did the Board choose poverty as the issue? UWSJC believes that poverty (self-sufficiency and family economic security) is a serious epidemic that demands collective action. The condition of poverty is linked with quality education. Children living in poverty are more likely not to be prepared for or succeed in school, and less likely to complete or further their education.  (Alliance for Excellent Education; American Graduate.)

Summary: Donor survey and key leader interview results showed that poverty/economic self-sufficiency and education are perceived as the primary social problems for our community. Interviewees endorsed the “issue focus” model. They also supported UWSJC’s role as a leader to address a key issue. Most respondents of the donor survey indicated that they would continue to donate and volunteer (or would increase their participation) if either poverty or education were selected as the focus. 

New Model: Board members decided that the community and UWSJC would not be well-served by continuing the traditional fundraising focus. To make a long-lasting impact in our community, Board members voted to adopt a “laser focus” on a key community issue.

Poverty defined: “Poverty for a family of four is demonstrated by an annual income of $23,050 or less.”  (2012: The Department of Health and Human Services) “Families and their children experience poverty when they are unable to achieve a minimum, decent standard of living that allows them to participate fully in mainstream society.” (The National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University.)

The epidemic of poverty right here at home: The poverty rate in St. Joseph County is 20%, 5% higher than the Indiana poverty rate. 53,000 children, women and men live in poverty. Nearly 20,000 children live in poverty or 1 out of every 3 children under the age of 18. In Indiana, our county has the 7th highest poverty rate, the 4th highest number of children who qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch and 4th highest number of people qualified for Food Stamps. (2011, U. S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, U. S. Census Bureau, Indiana Family and Social Services, Indiana Dept. of Education, Indiana Business Research Center)

Many services and programs in our community address poverty or its effects.  However, in the absence of focused, collective action, the UWSJC Board is concerned that the number of people in poverty will continue to grow.

Next Steps: Board members, current and new public and private partners, as well as staff  will develop and implement a strategic plan. The plan will align programs and services with this issue. Measures for success and resources to address the issue will be identified and pursued.  The move to an issue focus will impact UWSJC’s organizational structure, allocation investment process and initiatives/services, marketing communications, development resources and governance practices.

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