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United Way HAS MOVED! Our NEW address is 650 East Avenue, Suite 200, Erie, PA 16503

Our Team


At United Way, we know we only make progress toward crushing poverty when we give it our all, every day - and that starts at the top.

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Laurie Root


Laurie joined United Way of Erie County in 2010 as Vice President, Major Gifts and Planned Giving. She was named Senior Vice President in 2014 and President in 2021. Laurie is responsible for organizational management, strategic planning/implementation and resource development.  Her background includes three decades of experience in association leadership and management, primarily in the Washington DC area.

Why do you work to crush poverty every day?

"Every child deserves the opportunity to be successful in school and to pursue their dreams. Not only does it benefit them as individuals, but it lifts up our entire community."

Read Laurie's Full Bio

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Bill Jackson

President Emeritus

Bill joined United Way of Erie County in 1996 as Vice President of Finance and Administration and was named President in 2010 and President Emeritus in 2021. Under his leadership, United Way was transformed from a community fundraiser into a leader in the fight against poverty in the Erie region. Bill is an Erie native and Gannon University graduate.

Why do you work to crush poverty every day?

"In 21st century America, there is no good reason for poverty to exist at the levels we are currently seeing. I know for a fact we as a community can change that, and it is exciting to be part of the transformation."

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Mike Jaruszewicz

Vice President, Community Impact

Mike joined United Way of Erie County in 2010 as a Campaign Representative and was named Vice President of Community Impact in 2017. Mike oversees our community impact work, which includes partnerships, grants and initiatives. Mike is an Erie native who served as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar to Australia and United States Peace Corps Volunteer in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania before joining the United Way team.

Why do you work to crush poverty every day? 

I am part of a team that is working to strategically remove the barriers that have been preventing far too many people in our community from being successful. Having such a profound impact on a community is incredibly fulfilling.

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Joelyn J. Bush

Director of Marketing and Communications

Julie Chacona

Julie Chacona
Chief Development Officer
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Community Impact Coordinator

Jon Paul Ferretti

Jon Paul Ferretti

AmeriCorps VISTA

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Erica Jackson

Community Impact Manager, Grants Administration

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Stephanie King

Director of Education

Lori Krause

Lori Krause
Senior Director of Community Impact

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Marybelle Martin

Program Director, Erie Free Taxes

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Sara Naughton

Community Impact Manager, Data and Evaluation

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Ron Oliver

Vice President, Labor Division & AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison

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Joanna Peters

Administrative Assistant

Natalie Rugare

Natalie Rugare

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

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Gina M. Schaefer

Resource Development and Office Manager

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Ashley Wilczynski

Administrative Support and Database Associate

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Christine Yuhas




United Way of Erie County employs each of the Community School Directors at all 11 community schools that spread over four of the Erie County school districts. 

Meet the CSDs