BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
KEOKUK – A non-profit specialist and community advocate has been hired as the new Executive Director of the United Way of the Great River Region.
Karen Thie, who has worked previously with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, YMCAs in Muscatine and Burlington, and the Muscatine Parks and Recreation Department, began duties with the UWGRR on Thursday.
Thie said she is familiar with the functions of the United Way in her dealings with the YMCA as a recipient of United Way funding for many years.
“I worked with United Way before as an organization that received funding, so I’m familiar with the group and I think the group is wonderful,” she said. “The board of directors has been great to get to know and they are ready to move forward.”
In 2016 the United Ways in Lee, Hancock and Clark counties joined forces to help share resources and bring about a more cohesive effort in raising and disseminating funds.
Thie said the new concept just puts the United Way on a bit of a different scale than the organizations she’s worked with in the past.
Out of the gate, Thie said she’s looking forward to meeting with groups and individuals in the communities that UWGRR represents.
“We’re wrapping up our annual campaign. We’ve still got quite a few things out and we’ll have some numbers soon. I’m just getting out and seeing the faces and businesses in the service area and soon we’ll be moving forward to our special events,” Thie said.
“I have a long background working with non profits. I was with YMCAs for 23 years or so, I really enjoy serving people and trying to make their lives better. But I absolutely think this will be a little bigger work load. It will involve being more in the public and getting to know people and putting the mission of the United Way out there so they can learn about us and how and why to participate, donating and all that good stuff.”
United Way of the Great River Region serves the entire tri-county area that includes Lee County, Iowa; Hancock County, Illinois; and Clark County, Missouri. The United Way works to affect change and improve lives in the areas of education, health, and financial stability.