United Way Associations of Washington and Oregon Form Regional Organization

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Olympia, WA– The United Way Associations in Washington and Oregon are combining forces to have a stronger impact on education, income and health outcomes in the Pacific Northwest. The United Ways of Washington and the Association of Oregon United Ways agreed to form United Ways of the Pacific Northwest last week.

There are 39 local United Way Organizations who will participate in this enhanced regional trade association. Each of these United Ways is fully independent and focused on their local community. By coming together in this larger regional strategic collaboration, they will be able to do more for their local communities as well as have a wider impact regionally.

“We’re excited about the possibilities ahead of us,” said Dr. Dennis G. Smith, president and CEO of United Way of Snohomish County in Washington State. “Working together, we will be able to do more for our communities,” he added.

Smith will serve as the first chair of the newly formed organization.

Keith Thomajan, president and CEO of United Way of the Columbia – Willamette will serve as vice chair. “United Ways in Washington have been very active and effective in the public policy arena. In Oregon, where United Ways are mobilizing tens of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of donors and volunteers, we’re looking forward to speaking with a collective voice in Salem.”

The current president and CEO of United Ways of Washington, Jim Cooper, will play the same role for the new organization.

“At the end of the day, collaborating throughout the region will help us bring in additional resources and make it possible to have a larger impact on the communities we serve,” said Cooper.

The new organization includes 23 members from United Ways of Washington and 16 from the Association of United Ways in Oregon. Two longtime members of United Ways of Washington are headquartered in Idaho.

The full slate of officers for United Ways of the Pacific Northwest include:
Chair: Dennis Smith (President and CEO of United Way of Snohomish County)
Vice Chair: Keith Thomajan (President and CEO of United Way of the Columbia-Willamette)
Treasurer: Peter Theisen (President and CEO of United Way of Whatcom County)
Secretary: Debra Lancaster (Executive Director, United Way of Skagit County)
Past Chair: Paul Knox (Executive Director, United Way of Thurston County)

The new organization can be found online at UWPNW.org, on Facebook at Facebook.com/UWPNW and on Twitter as @UWPNW.

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