It is with deep appreciation and sadness that United Way of the Columbia-Willamette announces the departure of its President and CEO, Keith Thomajan.

During his seven-year tenure, Keith developed a mission that put kids, families and communities at the center by:
 

  • Bringing a focus on racial equity to our work to address childhood poverty across the region and establishing United Way of the Columbia-Willamette as a community problem solver. 
  • Mobilizing over $150M in resources and tens of thousands of donors and volunteers.
  • Building the first-ever coordinated regional framework for Early Learning services through funding from the state of Oregon for local hubs in Multnomah and Washington counties.
  • Leading the acquisition of Hands On Greater Portland to become United Way’s volunteer program which, in the last year alone, has mobilized over 23,000 volunteer connections adding $1.89 million dollars in service value to hundreds of local nonprofits.
  • Increasing graduation rates through high school graduation initiatives as part of the Successful Families 2020 program in collaboration with other leading nonprofits in the region and Multnomah County.
  • Delivering housing, health and financial supports to over 100,000 families.

 

Heather Guthrie, Chair of the Board of Directors, said “On behalf of the Board, I thank Keith for his exemplary service and commitment to United Way of the Columbia-Willamette. He has been instrumental in defining our 10 year agenda to address childhood poverty and advance racial equity in our region. We wish him well in his future endeavors, and we are grateful to him for his support during this transition.”

 

In leaving United Way, Keith shared, “I am as proud of the work we have mounted in my tenure as anything I have done in my professional career. As a team, we have established United Way of the Columbia-Willamette as a national leader in equity and community impact. While it is bittersweet for me to leave, I leave with pride and confidence, and with a commitment to remain a friend to United Way.”

 

Keith will be leaving on May 3, 2019 to join Dutch Bros Coffee as Chief of Staff with additional oversight of government and community affairs, philanthropy and sustainability.

“I am deeply honored to be chosen to lead the organization during this time of transition. Keith has made countless contributions to United Way’s success and visibility. I am grateful for his leadership and wish him all the very best."

The Board has named Chelsea Sokolow, previous Chief Development Officer as the organization’s interim President and CEO.

 

The Board intends to conduct a nation-wide search for a new President and CEO with that effort being spearheaded by current Board members:

  • Greg Geshel, Vice President Human Resources, Comcast
  • Charlene Zidell, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships & Family Legacy Vision, Zidell Companies
  • Jason Green, Managing Director, CBRE


Having been with the organization for three years, Chelsea has extensive experience in fundraising and nonprofit management. She demonstrates a depth of knowledge and expertise having previously worked at the Oregon Zoo Foundation and Oregon Food Bank.

 

Heather said “We welcome Chelsea into this role and feel confident that with her leadership, she will bring strong energy and vision to the organization.”

 

“I am deeply honored to be chosen to lead the organization during this time of transition. Keith has made countless contributions to United Way’s success and visibility. I am grateful for his leadership and wish him all the very best as he enters a new stage of his career” said Chelsea.

 

As interim President and CEO, Chelsea’s priority will be to be to ensure United Way remains focused on its initiatives that serve vulnerable kids and families in our community. In the coming months, she will work with the team to deepen relationships with community partners and donors as well as prepare to commemorate the organization’s 100th anniversary in 2020.

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