United Way’s mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of Itasca-area communities. Our vision is an equitable Itasca Area where all people have the opportunities and resources needed to thrive.

Board & Committee Leadership

Behind all of our work are committed and caring volunteers who are give time and talent to improve the quality of life across our community. We are grateful to work with many qualified and creative professionals who make invaluable contributions year-round by serving on one of our volunteer committees. Our committee members provide a diversity of expertise and experience to advance United Way’s mission to create a community where every person has the opportunities and resources needed to thrive.


Board of Directors brings community voice to United Way’s decision-making and is charged with stewardship and accountability to maintain the trust of the community.


Dr. Leanna McBride, Grand Dental Center

Bill Martinetto, Rapids Brewing Co.
Hannah Madden, Northeast Minnesota Office of Job Training (JET)

Angie Tanner, Minnesota Power

Danielle Witherill, Edward Jones, Financial Advisor

Past President
Alie McInerney, Sourcewell



Joe Dasovich, Itasca County Sheriff
Tanis Henderson, Grand Rapids High School
David Kooda, Lake County Power (Retired)
Mike Larson, Minnesota DNR
Ashlee LeNoie, US Bank
Rev. Dr. Patrick Lovejoy, Pastor – First Evangelical Lutheran Church
Darlene Peters, Park State Bank
Austin Rohling, Itasca County
Jeff Niemala, Niemala Mediation


Executive Director
Kimberly Brink Smith

Community Impact Coordinator
Molly Hiipakka

Digital Marketing Coordinator


Organizes, prepares and conducts the annual fundraising campaign, as well as other means of resource development such as endowments, planned giving, grants, and special events, and to oversee all functions related to their purpose, including fundraising affinity groups. Express Interest

Members: Madeline Cook, North in Bloom; Dave Kooda, Lake Country Power (retired); Ashlee LeNoie, US Bank; Jeff Niemala, Niemala Mediation; Claire Peterlin, Minnesota North College; Jane Shade, Minnesota North College; and Danielle Witherill Edward Jones.
Committee Chair: Dave Kooda



Provides oversight for the alignment and coordination of Community Impact strategic priorities and resources, including but not limited to distribution of funds, community issues research and evaluation, participation in community initiatives and program services provided directly by United Way of 1000 Lakes. Express Interest

Members: Kayla Baker, community member; Jessi Bloom, Northland Counseling Center; Joe Dasovich Itasca County Sheriff; Rawan Elbitar Ameriprise Financial; Stacey Helstrom, Talent Impact Advisory; Tanis Henderson, Grand Rapids High School; Mike Larson, DNR; Becky Lauer, Itasca County Family & Child Services; Patrick Lovejoy, First Lutheran Church; Hannah Madden, JET; Myrna Peterson, community member; and Jennifer Raushel, Members Cooperative Credit Union.

Committee Chair: Tanis Henderson and Pastor (Patrick) Lovejoy



Members act as a sounding board for the marketing team. They share insights on marketing strategies and tools, help develop and hone messages, provide feedback on marketing materials and overall help with United Way of 1000 Lakes’ message, marketing and external communication. Express Interest

Members: Marcus Lind Rapids Rapid, LLC; Shilo Knapp, communiy member; Alie McInerney Sourcewell; Regan Meyer, Yanmar; Cierra Reed, Paul Bunyan Communications; and Kayla Swanson, Itasca Economic Development Corporation.
Committee Chair: Alie McInerney


If you are interested in learning more about our committees, please reach out to Kim Brink Smith at kimberly@uwlakes.org.

Board and Committee Volunteer Openings:
Board of Directors

The Board of Directors has a governance mandate and is responsible for ensuring the United Way’s mission and strategic plan are achieved. Board members are responsible for:

  • Providing strategic leadership to United Way: establishing the long-term direction and vision; monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the strategic plan; overseeing the financial health of the organization; and providing insights to inform organizational decisions.
  • Acting as a positive and passionate ambassador for United Way both in the board room and out in the community.
  • Has a willingness to connect the organization to capital such as: financial resources or prospective donors; policy makers or community leaders; diverse populations or community issue subject matter experts
  • Keeping informed about the organization, its issues, and its connection to the community through active participation

Meetings are held monthly for usually 1.5 hours. Each board member is also expected to serve on a committee that strives to meet at least quarterly and more often as needed (the approximate meeting time is 1 hour). In addition, board members are asked to attend 4-6 special events throughout the year.


Resource Development Committee
The Resource Development Committee provides leadership and management for direction, planning, and execution of fundraising and development related activities. It is the goal to establish meaningful donor-investor relationships by developing and implementing strategic plans, providing leadership and guidance for staff and volunteers, planning, developing, and executing strategies for obtaining private donations, identifying, cultivating and soliciting major gift prospects (individuals, corporations and foundations). Provide for on-going promotion of planned giving opportunities, overseeing, managing and/or planning advancement events.

This committee meets on an as-needed basis, but strives to meet at least quarterly.


Marketing and Public Relations
The Marketing Committee’s role is to direct United Way’s overall marketing and strategic planning programs, and corporate communications.  Facilitate investor development through promotions and marketing programs. The committee shall design, implement, and facilitate annual marketing plan, administer the marketing budget; help coordinate special events.  Oversee corporate communications activities including external communications, internal communications, and public relations efforts. Volunteers are recruited from the not-for-profit, public, and private sectors.

This committee meets on an as-needed basis, but strives to meet at least quarterly.


Community Impact Committee
The Community Impact Committee aspires to achieve lasting community change on the most pressing human and social issues facing our community.  The committee guides United Way strategies and invests resources to achieve established community priorities, while also guiding the ongoing development of the priorities themselves, to ensure they remain relevant and responsive to our community.  The committee actively seeks partners to implement activities and measures results to ensure efficacy. Volunteers are recruited from the not-for-profit, public, and private sectors. Community Impact Committee supports the Community Investment Process.

This committee meets on an as-needed basis, but strives to meet at least quarterly.


Working at United Way of 1000 Lakes

At United Way, we lead by example. We hold ourselves and our partners accountable. We’re open to new and creative ideas, and we’re dedicated to representing the entire community in our staff.

No Openings

Nonprofit Job Board

To find career opportunities with our partners and other area nonprofits, visit Bonfire’s Nonprofit Job Board.

Job Board

United Way of 1000 Lakes began in 1963 as the United Fund of Grand Rapids, organized by volunteers to raise money to help more than twenty local charities. Today, United Way of 1000 Lakes has evolved from its roots as a fundraising organization to a community convener which mobilizes local partners including businesses, community leaders, public officials, and residents to develop opportunities for people to succeed. Our focus is on three key building blocks: a quality education that leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family, and good mental and physical health. United Way helps to identify community needs, create solutions, and fund local programs that deliver health and human services directly to the people in our community.


United Way was formed in 1887 when a Denver priest, two ministers, and a rabbi recognized the need for cooperative action to address their city’s welfare problems. The first campaign raised $21,700 for 22 agencies.

By the 1950s, more than 1,000 communities across the United States and Canada had established United Ways. In 1974, United Ways raised nearly $1.04 billion, marking the first time in history that a single organization raised more than $1 billion in an annual campaign. Over its long history, United Way has helped with everything from the Persian Gulf War to the Olympic torch relay to the President’s Summit for America’s Future. It’s won awards, such as the Charity of Choice from Financial World magazine. Across the country, United Ways now raise more than $4 billion annually.


Our vision and mission reflect our fundamental belief that all people belong and deserve fairness, justice, and inclusivity.

We recognize structural racism and other forms of oppression have contributed to persistent disparities, which United Way of 1000 Lakes seeks to dismantle.
Our strength comes from our diversity, and we celebrate the visible and invisible qualities that make each person unique, including race, gender, age, sexuality, ability, religion, national origin, gender identity, and other identities.

Through our commitment to diversity, we will strive to be a role model in our community, joining with other organizations to strengthen an effective human service system that reaches out to all people in greater Itasca County. We strive to engage all community members, especially those that have been marginalized. We work with residents, and public and private partners to cocreate solutions that ensure everyone has the resources, support, opportunities, and networks they need to thrive. We commit to leveraging all of our assets (convening, strategic investments, awareness building and advocacy) to create more equitable communities.


United Way believes that every person is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect – this includes equal treatment and access to justice. Recent events involving violence and threats against African Americans and Asian Americans expose our society’s underlying racism, prejudice, and privilege that prevent too many people from being treated with the humanity and respect they deserve. These incidents are abhorrent and run counter to everything that United Way, its volunteers, and professionals value, live, and fight for every day.

All people of all backgrounds and identities must call out discrimination and demand its removal from our society; otherwise, we are endorsing the status quo and are complicit in the abuses that follow.

We must all do our part, working United, to make our communities the places that we need them to be – equitable, respectful, and opportunity-filled. We, as a society, can and must do better to guarantee that the basic human rights and freedoms of every person in every community are protected.

United Way of 1000 Lakes is committed to working with our partners, and donors to advance equity as a core principle that guides our efforts to improve lives and create positive community change.  To that end, we are currently completing United Way’s Equity Framework.

Get Involved

This is your United Way. Lend your voice. Raise your hand. Play your part.

Find your role