Following 10 years of spearheading fundraising and community impact growth, United Way of Sumner County President & CEO Dana M. Given has announced she is leaving the local charitable organization at the end of December to accept what she calls an “incredible job opportunity in Alabama.”
Hired in May 2007, Given oversaw the raising of more than $8.4 million during her tenure, which included the fundraising challenges faced during the national financial crisis of 2008 and the subsequent national recession. Out of the 10 United Way campaigns completed during her watch, fundraising increased seven times and included four years of increases in excess of 10 percent. Five of the past six years were concluded with the announcement of new United Way of Sumner County fundraising records, and the annual UWSC campaign has grown 55 percent during her time leading the organization. Given’s eleventh campaign, which is set to conclude on March 31, 2018, following her Dec. 29 departure, is currently tracking toward yet another record year.
“Dana has done a wonderful job as President & CEO of United Way of Sumner County for the past 10 years,” said UWSC Board Chair Dr. Del Phillips. “She has dedicated herself to work that invests in lifting up other people and families within our community. Her time in Sumner County will leave a tremendous legacy as she takes the next step in her life and career. We wish her only the best as she embarks on a new, exciting opportunity."
According to Given, the new opportunity in her life is one she never expected.
“I had planned to stay in the United Way system for the rest of my career,” Given said, “but when two former UWSC Board members, Jerry and Susan Keen, approached me about a position they created just for me so that he could retire, I was absolutely intrigued – since I’ve thoroughly enjoyed staying at their beach properties multiple times over the years. As their Executive Business Manager, I will be handling the day to day operations of all of their business dealings, including developing a marketing plan, bookings and property management for their three luxury beachfront rental houses, called Susan’s Sand Castles I, II and III in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
“My 27-year old son, Drew, has decided to join me, but I couldn’t convince my 26-year old son, Nick, and his fiancée, Megan, to also migrate south – so we will be back in middle Tennessee often to visit and since they love the beach, I’m sure we’ll be seeing them as often as they can get away”.
Given’s efforts have been highlighted by improvements in every aspect of United Way of Sumner County’s operation. In addition to putting the organization on a path toward its first $1 million campaign, Given oversaw:
- adoption and implementation of Outcomes Based Funding for UWSC partner agencies;
- the organization’s move to a modern and functional office space in 2011;
- strengthening of the organization’s internal financial controls and processes, including creation of a Financial Policies Manual;
- creation of Quarterly Days of Action community impact programs for year-round engagement, including the Kids Coat Drive, Stuff the Bus school supply drive, Winter Food Drive, Community Diaper Drive, and Days of Caring service projects, all of which directly impact lives in the community;
- the launch and sustainment of two major annual fundraisers – the UWSC Charity Golf Scramble and the Boots & Bling gala and auction;
- implementation of a modern, online grant application process that will save time and resources for both agencies and UWSC for years to come;
- recruitment of more than 300 dedicated volunteers;
- the management of UWSC’s finances to its most healthy position ever at the end of the 2016-17 fiscal year; and
- the booking of more than $1 million in total UWSC revenue and support for the first time, which includes fundraising and designations from other United Ways, during the 2016-17 fiscal year.
Even with so much invested in United Way of Sumner County, and with the organization being on the cusp of its first ever $1 million campaign, Given says it is the people she has encountered along the way that makes leaving difficult. Yet, she believes those same people will ensure UWSC’s continued success.
“I’ve had the privilege of knowing our funded partner agency’s directors and many of their staff over the years and am awe-struck by their daily, loving commitment to bettering the lives of their clients,” Given said. “I am honored to have worked with hundreds of volunteers and thousands of annual donors who have entrusted our United Way with their charitable contributions. I haven’t taken their trust lightly. We have an incredible staff and board here at the UWSC, and I am confident that they can take us to the finish line in getting to the Million Dollar goal in the next few months – as they work to close out the 2017 campaign.”
The United Way of Sumner County Board of Directors was informed of Given’s pending departure on Nov. 28. The Board’s Executive Committee, made up of Board officers, will spend the next several weeks preparing a job description and other relevant information by reviewing information from other United Ways and additional sources. The Executive Committee will present its recommendations for a job posting and process to the full Board at the end of January, after which the position will be posted and advertised. Following an application period to be determined, the Executive Committee will review applications and submit finalists to the full Board of Directors for interviews and a hiring decision.