United Way of Pierce County hires new CEO

Tacoma News TribuneNovember 29, 2013 

After a six-month search, the United Way of Pierce County has hired a long-time United Way network executive from Detroit to take the helm.

Dona Ponepinto will start work Jan. 6, she said in an interview Friday. She was drawn to the local nonprofit because of its "laser focus" on early childhood development.

"The focus is not only children (ages) zero to 10, but also making sure that their families had the support that they needed," she said. "That’s so critically important."

The Tacoma-based United Way's current CEO, Rick Allen, announced his retirement this fall after 20 years. The organization had $9.3 million in annual revenue in 2012, according to the nonprofit's most recent annual report.

Ponepinto has worked for United Way for 26 years, the last eight in Detroit where she is a vice president and major gifts officer. She also has worked in Orange County, Calif., and Los Angeles.

When Ponepinto begins her work in Pierce County, she said plans to continue the work of tying the nonprofit's work to its fundraising.

"There’s a lot of opportunities when you begin to focus and tie strategies with donors’ interest," she said. "The United Way is the great inviter. We are very good at coming together to solve complex issues."


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