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United Way of Erie County announces retirement of Bill Jackson

Wednesday Aug 25th, 2021

Laurie Root named President and Chief Professional Officer 

August 25, 2021 --- United Way of Erie County’s Board of Directors announced today that Bill Jackson, has announced his retirement effective December 31, 2021 and the board has named him president emeritus. United Way’s board is pleased to announce Laurie B. Root has been promoted to president and chief professional officer of United Way of Erie County effective immediately. Bill will be fully involved in assisting with a smooth transition through the end of the year.

Jim Ohrn, president of the board said, “We are indeed fortunate to have the benefit of Bill’s knowledge and experience over the balance of 2021 to help ensure a smooth and effective transition.” 

Bill assumed the role of president in 2009 and has, along with dedicated employees and community support, skillfully transformed the organization into one that is laser focused on addressing the root causes leading to poverty in Erie County. During Bill’s tenure United Way implemented the Community School strategy in eleven schools throughout Erie County, launched the Imagination Library program putting age-appropriate books in the hands of Erie County children through age five at no cost to their family, installed the 211 social service helpline in Erie County, and led the effort to relocate the United Way offices to the former Wayne School building at 650 East Avenue.  

“It has been my honor and privilege to work with such a talented and dedicated group of staff, volunteers, and community members to make a real difference here in Erie County, and I look forward to seeing even greater things from United Way in the future,” said Mr. Jackson.  

Laurie currently serves as Senior Vice President at United Way. She has held this position for seven years and from 2010 to 2014 she served as Vice President of Investor Relations. Prior to 2010, Laurie served in many high-profile positions in both the for-profit and non-profit areas in the Washington DC region. She is the recipient of the 2016 Women Making History award from the Mercy Center for Women, the 2015 Women’s Roundtable Woman of the Year Award, as well as the 2013 ATHENA Leadership Award. Laurie is also Past President of the Rotary Club of Erie and currently serves on several boards. She is very well equipped to take on the pivotal role of leading the talented United Way team while also working with the Board of Directors as we pursue our vision to Crush Poverty across Erie County.  

“I look forward to continuing the remarkable work that United Way has undertaken to crush poverty in our community, ensuring that all students are successful and all families are stable,” stated Ms. Root.  

The Board of Directors of United Way as well as staff have expressed deep appreciation to Bill for his hard work and dedication to United Way along with his commitment to all the citizens of Erie County. The team is looking forward to working with Laurie as they continue efforts to fulfill the vital mission of United Way of Erie County.