Routt County United Way executive director Mark Andersen, shown here in his office Thursday afternoon, will step down from his post at the charity in mid-March to pursue a career with his father's company.

Photo by Brian Ray

Routt County United Way executive director Mark Andersen, shown here in his office Thursday afternoon, will step down from his post at the charity in mid-March to pursue a career with his father's company.

United Way director to resign

Andersen praised for his strong leadership, fundraising

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— Mark Andersen is stepping down as executive director of Routt County United Way almost two years into his second stint leading the charitable agency.

Andersen said he won't depart the nonprofit organization, which supports more than 40 Routt County health and human service agencies, until mid-March, when United Way's 2007 funding campaign comes to a close.

"As we finalize the campaign, we are at about 95 percent of our goal as we are making that final push into March," Anderson said of the organization's $600,000 goal.

Andersen will take a position with his family's business, and he will remain in Steamboat Springs.

"I had another opportunity that came up for me, and it was a difficult decision to leave the United Way because I enjoyed my time here," he said Thursday. "But I have the opportunity to stay in Steamboat with this, which was very important in my decision."

United Way board member Roberta Gill said she hates to see Andersen go, and she was quick to celebrate his successes.

"He has truly done a fabulous job for us," she said. "Our campaign has exceeded its goals the last two years he has been here, and we are real close to doing that again this year."

Board member Mike Forney said it's difficult to see Andersen step down because of his strong leadership.

"If we had our way, we'd have Mark here for 10 years," Forney said. "He is a young man with a great future, and we are excited about the opportunity he is going to have in his new position. : I'm just glad that he is going to stay in Steamboat Springs with his wife, Kris, because they are a real asset to the community."

Gill and Forney said Andersen's biggest impact was his implementation of an outcome-based measurement system to show how United Way funds are spent.

"Hopefully, the next person we find will carry on that work," Forney said. "It would be great to find someone who has real knowledge of the community and has connections with our nonprofit communities.

"I think the key thing is to follow through with what Mark has already accomplished : and to be as articulate as Mark has been in getting the United Way message to the community."

Routt County United Way is an umbrella charity agency that raises funds and eventually allocates them to local organizations such as Integrated Community, Humble Ranch Education and Therapy Center, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, First Impressions of Routt County and dozens of others. Many health and human services agencies say they could not survive without the financial assistance provided by United Way.

Gill said being a United Way executive director requires excellent people skills and the ability to collaborate.

"We hope to find somebody who knows how nonprofits work and develop networks in and out of the community to help increase our funding goals," she said. "Essentially, it's being good with people, being able to talk to a lot of people, examine different points of view and bring all those views to the table to hopefully make our nonprofit agencies that accept our finds successful in their efforts."

Forney said the goal is to have the position filled by March 1 so the new executive director has time to train with Andersen.

"With the United Way, this organization has a tremendous responsibility to givers and the community in general, so we are not going to rush this process," he said.

Forney said anyone interested in applying for the position should call 879-5605.

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