United Way Merger - Press Release
United Way of Walla Walla and Columbia Counties and United Way of Umatilla and Morrow Counties have agreed to merge this summer as United Way of the Blue Mountains, according to Christy Lieuallen, who will lead the regional nonprofit.
Lieuallen is currently executive director of United Way of Walla Walla and Columbia Counties. Kricket Nicholson is retiring after 12 years as executive director of United Way of Umatilla and Morrow Counties. “We feel confident the time is right,” said Nicholson. “More importantly,” she added, “Umatilla and Morrow counties will benefit from the continued local presence and focus, with the added capabilities and support that United Way of Walla Walla County brings.”
Lieuallen stressed that local presence in both markets will be a priority. “We will continue to seek extensive, local stakeholders and community involvement in both markets,” she said, noting that much of the back office functions can be shared in a more efficient way. With a new regional board of directors including representatives from each county, Lieuallen also noted that local steering committees will drive fundraising and community investment within the respective communities.
Lieuallen said merging the two operations benefits the respective communities by streamlining operations, creating efficiencies and reducing duplication of effort. “What won’t change are those things that make United Way such a vital resource in our local communities,” she said.
“As always,” she said, “monies raised will be invested within the community where they were donated.”
Combined, the two United Way operations invested over $385,000 last year to support multiple nonprofit partner agencies and local initiatives. United Way’s mission is to empower donors, volunteers, advocates and agencies to improve the Health, Education and Financial Stability of every person in the Blue Mountain region.
The new regional United Way will maintain offices in both Walla Walla and Pendleton. For more information, contact Christy Lieuallen at 509-529-1183 or 514-276-2661.