Former Webcrafters CEO will serve as interim VP

Madison, WI (December 5, 2017) – After more than 14 years of transformation and results, Deedra Atkinson retired from United Way of Dane County on November 30.

Atkinson became a Community Building Department volunteer in 1989. She joined United Way’s staff in June of 2004 as Senior Vice President of Community Impact. Her charge was to transform the work of the former Community Building Department to deliver on our community’s Agenda for Change.

Ever-focused on results and impact, Atkinson evolved her department from a fund-distribution machine to a community-impact catalyst, convener, collaborator and capacity-builder. Atkinson’s leadership helped steer the organization to where it is today – a nationally recognized organization that brings our community together in unique and strategic ways to address and make measurable progress on our most difficult human problems.

Here are just a few examples of Atkinson’s leadership:

  • Creating Mobilization Plans and Impact Reports as the communication vehicles for the collaborative definition of the issues behind each Agenda for Change goal
  • Understanding national and local research
  • Highlighting local data
  • Doing community engagement to understand what the community thinks and desires
  • Prioritizing strategies, evaluating metrics to monitor
  • Setting community goals
  • Reporting progress on community-built plans
  • Developing metrics and antecedent measures for Agenda for Change goals, and systems for reporting progress
  • Transforming First Call For Help to United Way 2-1-1
  • Shifting the community’s homeless response from shelter to Housing First
  • Facilitating Cuéntame and Cuéntame Mas, and deepening critical relationships with the Latinx community
  • Receiving 6 innovation and best practice awards in impact from United Way of America
  • Contributing to numerous United Way of America/Worldwide community impact teams, and developing the national mobilization plan blueprint for increasing high school graduation rates

“Deedra has been an invaluable leader at United Way, transitioning United Way from an efficient distributor of community’s resources to a community change catalyst and facilitator. Her tirelessness in getting high quality work done in large volumes is impressive and has improved quite literally hundreds of thousands of lives,” said United Way of Dane County President & CEO Renee Moe.

“One of the most rewarding parts of my job was United Way’s collaboration with our nonprofit partners and seeing the tremendous results of the community’s work in the lives of our children and their families,” Atkinson added.

As we head into 2018, our Community Impact team will keep its inspiring and effective work moving forward.

Former CEO of Webcrafters Jac Garner will be joining the team as Interim Vice President of Community Impact. Garner is a long-time volunteer, donor and community leader. Garner is recognized for exceptional leadership and change management skills, HR and organizational design expertise, building strong and effective teams, and achieving measurable results. Garner has also worked very closely with many of United Way’s partners, as well as families working toward pathways out of poverty through his volunteerism and work. Garner will be working ¾ time starting in January 2018.

“This interim position gives our team time to plan for the future of CI, and to design the structure and leadership we need for the future of our collective work,” Moe explained. “Jac recognizes the leadership and talent of our team of staff and volunteers, and is looking forward to stewarding a process to define how we best serve the community through our strategic vision, Community Impact partnerships and work.”

“Having worked in volunteer leadership with United Way for over 25 years, I’ve seen how the organization’s approach to problem solving has had a positive effect on countless lives in Dane County,” Garner said. “Stepping into this role as Interim VP of Community Impact, I’m excited for our team to dig even deeper into research, best practices and engagement opportunities, and, with our non-profit, corporate and community partners, focus on successfully moving more families out of poverty and into stability.”

You are invited to celebrate Atkinson’s impactful career at a retirement celebration of community partnership on Wednesday, December 6th from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at United Way of Dane County.

About United Way of Dane County:
United Way of Dane County fights for the education, financial stability, and health of everyone in Dane County. Through strategic partnerships and collaborative work, United Way brings the many voices of Dane County together to find common ground, develop a strategic architecture for change, and make measurable progress, while engaging organizations and individuals with the opportunity to give, advocate and volunteer to change lives in Dane County.