Photo of an older white appaearing man and younger white appearing woman.

United Way AmeriCorps VISTA writes book
'Creating Tailwinds in America's Heartland'


Fifty years after he served as a VISTA community organizer in Texas, Michael Rooke-Ley retired from his career as a law professor. But his commitment to fighting the war on poverty didn’t end there. Disheartened by the deepest and most extreme disparity of wealth and opportunity in our lifetimes, Michael signed up for another year as a VISTA with United Way in Woodland. 

At the end of his service, he published an informal thought-provoking analysis of successes and challenges in the Woodland and the rural Yolo County area. Titled Creating Tailwinds in America’s Heartland, the goal of Michael’s book is to help us broadly understand what keeps us apart, to find that elusive common ground, and to revitalize our commitment to lifting all boats.

Books can be obtained by contacting our Yolo County Area Director Lori Ross at  There is no charge, but donations to United Way are encouraged.

Michael would love nothing more than to have a conversation over coffee, or for now phone or Zoom.  He can be reached at

About Americorps VISTA
AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) taps the skills, talents, and passion of more than 8,000 Americans annually to support community efforts to overcome poverty. The program’s nationwide corps of VISTAs commits full-time for a year at nonprofit organizations or local government agencies to build the capacity of these organizations to carry out programs that tackle poverty. VISTAs recruit and manage community volunteers, raise funds, and help manage projects. VISTAs support programs that improve literacy, expand job opportunities, develop financial assets, reduce homelessness, and improve health services. They also support programs that increase housing opportunities, increase economic opportunities for low-income veterans and military families, and expand access to technology for those living in rural and urban areas of poverty across America.

Learn more about the AmeriCorps VISTA program.