UWWC CELEBRATES: New director appreciated

COLUMBIA CITY – With a campaign appreciation breakfast Tuesday, the United Way discussed upcoming changes and encouraged agencies to meet the new executive director of the United Way of Whitley County (UWWC), Cindy Baker.Baker has only been on the job for two and a half weeks, and while she admits there is much for her to learn, she believes her compassionate nature will lead the way.“I don’t have to be an expert on the United Way, I have to be passionate about the United Way, and I have to be passionate about the people in this community that we serve,” said Baker.Baker said she has had the opportunity to meet the organizations UWWC allocates in the community, and she is pleased with the work they continue to do everyday.“There is a quality too that people get from the organization that they wouldn’t have otherwise,” said Baker. “We may not see immediate results and we may not see results for 30 years for something we are doing today, but we have to know that eventually that’s going to come full circle, and that is why we do what we do, and that is why we believe in this community.”Describing behind the scenes work, Baker said volunteers for each agency touch thousands of people in the community.“A lot of times what these organizations do is way under the radar screen,” said Baker. “It’s behind the scenes kind of work, but it is nevertheless hugely important to the people it impacts.”At the breakfast, Kevin Rupp of UWWC, spoke about community impact and the direction of the UWWC.“We really had to have some hard discussions and really think about how we can bring value to Whitley County, and really take those dollars that we raise, and put them to the best use in the county,” said Rupp. “The results of our strategic plan are we want to move from being more of a transactional organization, where we collect money and we doll it to agencies, to more of a relational agency, where we feel we need to develop strong relationships with both the agencies we allocate to as well as the donors.”