The United Way of South Hampton Roads board of directors has selected Michele Anderson as its new CEO, according to a July 30 announcement.
“I have a passion for the community and a passion for the United Way,” Anderson said. “I look forward to taking us to the next level.”
Anderson, who is the organization’s chief development officer, was selected out of an initial field of 155 applicants over a four-month-long search process. The search committee chose three finalists, and then selected Anderson in a unanimous vote, according to the announcement.
“On behalf of the entire board, I am thrilled to announce the selection of Michele for this role,” Dawn Glynn, chair of the board of directors, said in the announcement. “Michele is a visionary, able to motivate and influence stakeholders at all levels.”
Anderson’s more than 25 years of experience with the United Way of South Hampton Roads started right out of college, she said. She said she has worked in Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Suffolk and has helped area businesses organize annual fundraising drives and founded the Women United membership fundraising group.
She also has helped expand the local Tocqueville Society — United Way members that donate $10,000 or more annually — from 35 to more than 220 people.
In its modern form, Anderson said the United Way helps connect and aid community organizations and other stakeholders looking to lift residents out of poverty. For example, she said, the United Way and collaborators might determine the best way for a resident to receive training so they can begin earning a sustainable, living wage.
Another program — United for Children — aims to help more local students graduate from high school and achieve other milestones.
“Education is a key component (of the United Way mission),” Anderson said.
The United Way of South Hampton Roads raised more than $21.5 million from July 2016-17 — including $18.2 million in contributions and grants — according to the latest available tax data. Contributions and grants also increased about 1.5% compared to the previous reporting period.
Anderson said she hopes to continue to strengthen programs like United for Children, as well as Mission United — a program for aiding military veterans in the region.
“You need to make one call, and that’s where your help starts,” she said about the program’s assistance lines.
Current CEO Carol McCormack announced her decision to retire earlier in 2019. Anderson began her new position Aug. 1.