United Way searches for executive director


— Whoever is chosen as United Way's new executive director can expect the first days on the job to be full of campaigning bustle.
Current Executive Director Donna Horii, who has been in the position for one year, is leaving United Way in order to stay home with her two children.
She said the job has been enjoyable, but it was also quite a learning experience.
"It's been an incredible eye-opener," Horii said. "Steamboat is a beautiful, wonderful place but there are a lot of pregnant teens, there is domestic violence, there are indigent children without health insurance and with rotting teeth. What is the real situation at local day care centers?
"There is a great need for United Way in Steamboat, more so than it probably seems on the surface. You don't see the problems much on the outside and, hopefully, with United Way's continued success, we'll keep these problems to a minimum."
Approximately 10 people have applied for the position, and the final candidates, all locals, will be interviewed Tuesday morning.
"We're looking for someone with organization skills, marketing skill, the ability to juggle several things and it's a huge plus if the candidate knows the community, knows who the players are," Horii said.
The first task for the new director will be to jump into United Way's annual fund-raising campaign and start making presentations to the local agencies for donations.
Last year, more than 5 percent of the local population approximately 860 of some 13,000 residents made financial contributions to United Way. Collectively, the donations totaled $278,000, well over a $250,000 goal.
The goal for this year is to raise $275,000. Although the number is up from last year, it's a conservative goal, Horii said.
"We have every opportunity to reach this goal," she said. "I'll be pretty surprised if we don't."
The new director won't have to tackle the fund raising on his or her own, however.
"I've been so impressed with the level of volunteerism and community outreach here both with special events and when problems to arise. We've got lots of big supporters," Horii said.
More than 5 percent of the population would probably contribute if people realized that everyone is affected by United Way, she added.
"You may not have children, but maybe your employees do and do those employees have reliable, safe child care? You may not have teen-agers, but teens are driving all over your neighborhood and on your streets and you probably don't want them to be drinking and driving, and want them to have alternative programs."
The new director will take over for Horii when she leaves in late September, but will jump into the campaign as soon as he or she is hired.

To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4204 or e-mail bnadzam@amigo.net


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