Ribbon Cutting

United Way California Capital Region Merges with Woodland United Way
Merger will increase community impact throughout the region

Post Stephanie McLemore Bray
After a year of exploration, community meetings and preparation, Woodland United Way and United Way California Capital Region have officially merged.
 
The new organization operates under the United Way California Capital Region name. Both groups’ boards of directors unanimously approved the merger earlier this month. The merged United Way California Capital Region maintains offices in Woodland and Sacramento. Woodland United Way executive director Lori Ross is now a staff member at United Way California Capital Region directing its Yolo County programs from the Woodland office.    

“Our organizations have a long history of collaboration and shared common goals. We approached United Way California Capital Region nearly a year ago to discuss a potential merger as a way to enhance our ability to serve our community,” said Mike Jansen, board chair, Woodland United Way. “Together, as one local United Way we are stronger and better equipped to improve the lives of residents throughout our region.”

“We are thrilled that our longtime partnership with Woodland United Way takes on an even stronger form today,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “This merger ensures we are using our resources wisely and efficiently as we work to increase the number of kids across our region who graduate from high school ready for success in college or career.”

The merger will continue the former Woodland United Way’s work to make lasting change in Yolo County through education, including its KinderCamp, Read to Succeed, Imagination Library and Woodland Kids Read programs. Woodland City Manager Paul Navazio and John Purcell, senior vice president at Bayer Crop Science, have joined United Way’s board of directors, and the group has created the Woodland Community Advisory Committee chaired by Woodland resident, former Woodland United Way board member and longtime United Way California Capital Region board member Ruth Miller.

“Our region and our residents are already benefiting from the combined experience, expertise and resources of both organizations,” Miller said. “I have seen how exceptional these two organizations have been individually, and I look forward to their work together to create stronger, healthier communities for families in Woodland and across the region.”

The partnership between the two United Ways recently resulted in Pioneer High School in Woodland attracting a P-TECH program. The P-TECH initiative created by IBM allows students to earn an associate’s degree in STEM along with a high school diploma and paid summer internships with local industry partners. Pioneer’s P-TECH program, SEED Academy, will open in partnership with Woodland Community College in fall 2021.

“Pioneer’s SEED Academy is an incredible asset to our community,” Ross said. “Merging our organizations is already bringing significant resources to Woodland, and I look forward to continuing to direct United Way’s presence in Yolo County.”

Over the past year, United Way has already expanded support and partnerships with nonprofits in Woodland and Yolo County. For the past three years, United Way California Capital Region has collaborated with Empower Yolo to offer free tax preparation services at Woodland High School. This partnership has helped Woodland residents claim more than $1 million in federal tax refunds. Through United Way, Yolo CASA became the first nonprofit partner in the region to offer the CalSavers Retirement Savings program to its employees. 

For nearly 100 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought local people together to make community change happen. Today, the nonprofit is bringing people together across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties for its Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of students in our region who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones and their families receive support and resources.


 

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