United Way picks new board leader; continues search for director

  • Kate Glynn is the new chairwoman of the United Way of Hampshire County’s board of directors. SUBMITTED PHOTO

@srobertson
Published: 10/11/2017 11:23:40 PM

As the new head of the United Way of Hampshire County’s board of directors, one of Kate Glynn’s top priorities is a big one — she and her colleagues are in the hunt for a new executive director.

“The board takes our responsibility very seriously,” said Glynn, who took over as the board’s chairwoman Oct. 2. “While we would all have liked to make a big announcement by now, we just haven’t found the right candidate. We are going to expand our search and find the right person to lead us into this next chapter.”

The nonprofit’s previous executive director, Jim Ayres, left in May to serve the neighboring United Way of Pioneer Valley.

Glynn, a Northampton resident who owns A Child’s Garden downtown, has held various leadership positions for the United Way during her six years on the board. She served as chairwoman of the Governance Committee for two years while working at the organization’s secretary.

“I am honored to see our organization through to the next chapter,” Glynn said. “Because we work with so many organizations we have the unique ability to look at a community on the macro level.”

United Way raises funds and coordinates with other nonprofits to serve the most vulnerable members in the community.

Glynn succeeds Julie Cowan, MassDevelopment vice president for business development. In 2016, Glynn was voted vice chairwoman of the board for a two-year term, but stepped up to fill the vacant position when Cowan stepped down last week. Cowan cites work and family obligations as the reason for her resignation.

“No organization is better positioned than United Way to address the most pressing issues facing our community,” said Cowan in a statement. “I am honored to pass the torch to Kate Glynn. I remain resolute in my commitment to our mission and organization, as both a donor and volunteer.”

Glynn has a long track record of community involvement in Hampshire County. She is a founding member of the Northampton Association for Young Professionals and has owned and operated The Children’s Garden for 11 years, with the help of Lori Fisher. She began her work with United Way as a community investment volunteer.

“Kate is a devoted community supporter and an incredibly successful business woman who is dedicated to the important work of our United Way,” said Renee Moss, United Way’s interim executive director, in a statement. “We will miss Julie Cowan, but we know Kate will assume leadership of the board seamlessly and will continue Julie’s legacy of dedication to our organization.”

The United Way’s board also welcomes five new member to its ranks: Lindsay Barron, Bennett Bishop, Jane Lyons, Stuart Beckley and Irv Rhodes.

“One of the things about Hampshire County is that oftentimes people think just Northampton, but it’s not,” Glynn said. “It’s very important to us that we have a breadth of experience from people all across the county.”

Members of United Way serve three-year terms, and may serve as many as three consecutive terms. The board currently has 22 members and partners with 35 organizations through funding and outreach.


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