MERGER: United Way of Greater Milwaukee joining forces with United Way in Waukesha County

MILWAUKEE/WAUKESHA (WITI) -- United Way of Greater Milwaukee and United Way in Waukesha County have they have merged the two organizations to create the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County.

“This decision enables United Way to raise additional resources and help more people across Milwaukee, Waukesha, and southern Washington and Ozaukee counties,” said Mary Lou Young, who has been named president & CEO of the new organization. “The change also allows United Way to maximize our customer service and increase our operational efficiency, ultimately resulting in additional dollars available for funding programs that improve lives and strengthen the Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County communities.”

Young said the decision to merge was driven by customers in both counties and follows more than a year of  discussions between the boards of directors from both United Ways.

“The new United Way in Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County offers a richer donor experience for all of our  corporate partners, especially those with campuses in both counties,” Young said. “Previously, partners such as Aurora Healthcare, Froedtert Health, GE Healthcare, Husco International, UPS and Wells Fargo Bank interacted separately with both United Ways. By becoming one, we now offer a seamless experience for those donors.”

David Gilmartin, a board member of the former United Way in Waukesha County and global director, commercial insights at GE Healthcare, said the new partnership will be good for the community.

“GE Healthcare, with campuses in Waukesha County, Wauwatosa and Milwaukee, is a major supporter of United Way. This combined entity will bring new energy that will be beneficial to the entire four-county region," Gilmartins aid.

Jay Magulski, United Way in Waukesha County board chair added: “By combining resources, professional expertise, and experience, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County will be a stronger organization better equipped to address the needs of our local communities.”

Stacey D. Stewart, US President, United Way Worldwide, said the merger aligns with the network’s philosophy.

“As United Way continues to evolve, the natural progression of our work should have us all asking how we can be even more effective, put greater resources against mission-related efforts and ultimately—better serve our communities,” Stewart said. “The decision by United Way of Greater Milwaukee and United Way in Waukesha County to merge their operations will allow more powerful responses to pressing community issues that are market-driven rather than geography-driven and will increase satisfaction among key corporate accounts in this multi-county area.”

The vision for the new entity is to improve people’s lives and strengthen communities by ensuring all Waukesha County and Greater Milwaukee residents have access to the basic building blocks of a good life: a quality education that leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family through retirement, and good health.

“The challenges facing our communities do not recognize city boundaries or county lines,” said David Lubar, board chair of United Way of Greater Milwaukee. “This larger United Way will be able to partner with local and regional organizations and attract new funding from individual and corporate donors who are more interested in wider geographic programs that serve a greater number of people, influence social change and solve more problems.”

Young emphasized that money raised in the community will stay in the community.

“We are looking forward to implementing agency-wide best practices in programs, fundraising, and administration with a new focus on providing community impact across geographic borders," Young said.

Jayne Thoma, executive director of the former United Way in Waukesha County, will oversee the larger organization’s volunteer efforts as the vice president of the Center for Community Collaboration.

“Volunteers are the heart of United Way and will continue to play an essential role in this exciting new entity,” said Thoma. “Volunteers can remain involved in the causes they love, but now also have the opportunity to make a greater impact throughout the four-county footprint.”

Thoma will continue to support the Thriving Waukesha County Initiative on behalf of the new organization. The initiative was launched in 2012 to build capacity and strategic collaboration among the entire health and human services sector with the goal of driving greater efficiencies, long-term stability, and collective impact.

Lubar added, “Expanding regional volunteer engagement is a strategic imperative for United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County.”