By Simon Bisson, Interim President and CEO United Way of Greater Cleveland
Bill Gates famously said leaders are those who empower others. That strikes me as most appropriate at this moment, as you, the volunteers, donors and supporters of United Way of Greater Cleveland, are the community leaders empowering us to do our work.
United Way is synonymous with collaboration and partnership, and we value communication and transparency. During this leadership transition, I have been appointed by the Board of Directors as Interim President and CEO. I have previously served as Vice President of Resource Development, and I am a dedicated and passionate supporter of our great city of Cleveland.
This administrative change will not hinder United Way of Greater Cleveland’s daily work. Our Board of Directors is committed and strong, our staff is focused on its internal responsibilities and community outreach, and our donors are expressing full confidence as we work in schools and neighborhoods to strengthen a 102-year-old network of support for those in need.
That network is there for people whose needs are complex and integrated. A hungry kid in a household with unemployed parents and an untreated physical or emotional issue has a tough time learning. That can be the beginning of a series of challenges that can overwhelm a young life.
But while the community issues are complex, United Way of Greater Cleveland’s mission is clear. United Way engages caring NE Ohioans to make lives better and forge a stronger community. This is accomplished through services such as 2-1-1, agency partners and funding prioritization; opportunities to help people find and keep stable employment; providing high quality education to our children; and the security of helping families and individuals maintain their health by increasing access to nutritious food and health care.
Our strategies address this approach through implementation of a strong campaign; a broad-based collaboration with health and human service providers and funders; and our community impact work.
We are experiencing a leadership transition, but our daily work is not compromised. For 102 years, United Way, which I believe is the greatest philanthropic force on earth, has served the community of Cleveland, which I believe is one the great cities of our nation. I am humbled and grateful to our Board of Directors for their confidence in me in this interim role, and I thank them for their leadership and stability during this transition. I stand shoulder to shoulder at work every day with a group of caring, dedicated people who keep our mission going full throttle despite any administrative change. I know our organization is bigger than any individual leader and as an interim president, I know the importance of maintaining the steady trust of our supporters, volunteers, board members and employees. You can continue to expect consistent and thoughtful stewardship throughout this transition period.
Most importantly, it is humbling to serve so many of our donors and volunteers. We are only as strong as you enable us to be. Every action we take is fueled by your generosity and your faith in us as stewards of your time, talent and treasure.
Our current fundraising campaign is drawing to a close and our Annual Meeting is just around the corner. We are diligently working to meet our community’s needs, and we remain strong and prepared to seamlessly continue our work. If you have any questions, concerns or ideas, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 216-436-2100.
Thank you for your contributions to and continuing support of United Way!
Interim President and CEO
United Way of Greater Cleveland