After 14 years of serving the families and organizations of Porter County, Sharon Kish has announced that she will retire as President of United Way of Porter County (UWPC) on December 31, 2015.
"As a United Way of Porter County board member, I have seen firsthand all of the transformational work that has been done in our county under Sharon's leadership. I am proud to have been able to serve alongside her and am honored to have played a small part. Sharon has put United Way on a positive path for the future and has set us up to continue in the success of her footprints," said incoming board chair Brock Lloyd, Financial Advisor, Edward Jones.
Over the past 14 years, Sharon has worked tirelessly with her staff and volunteers to raise over $27,000,000 that was invested into health and human service agencies throughout Porter County. To ensure all donations were going to organizations that would best help change lives, Sharon helped evolve UWPC from a traditional fundraising model to a community impact model that funds programs in the areas of education, income and health - the three building blocks to a successful life. This evolution helped provide greater accountability for donations, ensuring that they were invested in programs that not only meet immediate needs, but also help provide a pathway to progress and life change. In fact, throughout her time at UWPC, Kish has also expanded the number of strategic partnerships and United Way partner agencies. This has allowed United Way and its donors to have an even greater impact in the areas of education, income and health.
In addition, Sharon has helped mobilize volunteers in Porter County like never before. Through the creation of the Regional Volunteer Center and the annual United Way Day of Caring, thousands of volunteers have been engaged to help make Porter County a better place to live and work. Also under Sharon’s leadership, United Way established the Power of Youth Council and Young Leaders United programs, both designed to get high schoolers and young adults involved with United Way, philanthropy and volunteerism. Further, Sharon and her team secured funding for the region’s RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program), a volunteer program designed to engage seniors and retirees in using their vast knowledge and experience to give back to the community. Also, UWPC has been a sponsor of the AmeriCorps program in NWI for the past nine years.
“As I look over my time spent at United Way of Porter County, I can say that one of the things I’m most proud of is how our community supports those in need. Whether through donations or volunteering their time, the spirit of giving in Porter County is alive and flourishing. We are so blessed. To have been a part of such an incredible team - staff members, board members and community members alike - was certainly the pinnacle of my career,” said Kish.
Prior to coming to United Way of Porter County, Sharon spent her career in community service serving as the Executive Director of Neighboring Mental Health Center in Lake County, Ohio and as the Clinical Director of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Northeast Ohio. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Indiana University and has held many honors including the Quality of Life Council Community Award, Woman of Influence, Agency Professional of the Year, Mental Health Professional of the Year and Woman of Achievement, just to name a few.
“It has been such an honor and privilege to serve Porter County for these past 14 years. I am so grateful for the support and friendships that I have had throughout my entire time here. I am excited to see what the future brings for United Way and Porter County,” says Kish.
To fill the vacancy created from Kish’s retirement, United Way has formed a search committee that will be led by outgoing board chair, Todd Wagenblast, VP & CFO, Indiana Beverage. He will be joined by a team of local community and business leaders. “The committee and I recognize that we have huge shoes to fill with Sharon’s departure. But, we also know that Sharon has elevated the status of United Way of Porter County to such a degree that we have every confidence that we will attract a large and very well qualified pool of candidates,” says Wagenblast. “Without question, Sharon has done a phenomenal job of leading this organization over the past 14 years, and we are looking for the right person to further the UWPC mission to lead, unite and inspire our community to improve lives.”
United Way of Porter County leads, unites, and inspires our community to improve lives. United Way invests in 3 core strategies: Education, Financial Stability and Health. We help nearly 40,000 Porter County residents per year build better lives. For more information, visit www.unitedwaypc.org, www.unitedforchildren.org & www.nwivolunteer.org or call 219-464-3583.