United Way of Racine County: Creating impact for 100 years

Anniversary Celebrations: United Way of Racine County

MaryBeth Kallio, United Way’s community investment director, helps students try on winter outerwear during United Way’s winter clothing drive in December 2021.
MaryBeth Kallio, United Way’s community investment director, helps students try on winter outerwear during United Way’s winter clothing drive in December 2021.

United Way of Racine County has been changing lives and creating impact in the Racine County community for 100 years. We’ve supported our community through everything from a world war, to vast technological changes, to the COVID-19 pandemic and more, establishing ourselves time and again as an organization responsive to the unique and changing needs of our community. 

In 2019, we made history by electing our first female President and CEO Ali Haigh. In her time as president and CEO, Haigh has shifted United Way towards a heavier focus on data and impact reporting – a strategy that will provide us better insights into future funding decisions and programming directions. Haigh’s leadership focuses on place-based collaboration and the use of data and partnerships to drive impact.

United Way of Racine County has a long-standing history of impact in the community. It was founded in 1922 as an effort to consolidate all charitable drives in Racine County. We continued to grow and change as an organization in the early 20th century, supporting Racine County through the effects of the Great Depression and World War II.

In 1990, Dave Maurer became United Way’s new president and CEO and shifted our focus to programming, community building and collaboration.

Under Maurer’s leadership, we established our current focus areas of health, education, financial stability and essential services and aligned our work around these building blocks to a good life. During his tenure, United Way led the creation of the Homeless Assistance Leadership Organization (HALO) and implemented Schools of Hope, an early reading efficiency program.

After Maurer’s retirement in 2013, President and CEO Rodney Prunty steered United Way towards more equity-centered work. Prunty launched United Way’s Community Conversations initiative, which invites community members to participate in kitchen-table style discussions about their goals and aspirations for Racine County. In 2016 and 2017, these conversations focused exclusively on race, equity and inclusion. 

In his tenure, Prunty also implemented the LIFT (Link and Inspire for Tomorrow) community school model in partnership with Racine Unified School District, transforming Knapp Elementary into Racine’s first community school. A community school is a hub for the whole neighborhood and a home base for partner organizations, programs and resources tailored to the needs, challenges and aspirations of the community it serves. 

Since 2016, we have also transformed Julian Thomas Elementary and Mitchell K-8 into community schools.

When United Way received a transformational gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott at the end of 2020, Haigh’s leadership helped allocate the funding into three main areas – resulting in an increase in equity-focused work through the Equity Innovation Fund, increased support for local nonprofits through the Training and Technology Fund and increased funding for community schools.

In the coming months, we encourage you to stay connected to our work as we unveil new centennial events and begin our milestone campaign. The transformations we’ve made over the years wouldn’t be possible without the support of people like you, and we hope you’ll join us in making our next 100 years even more impactful.

United Way of Racine County
2000 Domanik Drive
Racine, WI 53404
unitedwayracine.org
262.898.2240 

Rodney Prunty (left), past president of United Way, speaks with Susan Stith of Express Scripts (center) and Darlene Slaughter of United Way Worldwide (right) at a report out event for United Way’s Community Conversations initiative in 2017.
Rodney Prunty (left), past president of United Way, speaks with Susan Stith of Express Scripts (center) and Darlene Slaughter of United Way Worldwide (right) at a report out event for United Way’s Community Conversations initiative in 2017.

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Ali started with United Way of Racine County in 2011 and is now the first female CEO in the organization’s history. She is a graduate of the 2017 United Way Worldwide Fellows Program. Prior to her presidency, she led the investor relations department, which she oversaw for many years, in becoming donor-centered by implementing affinity groups, year-round corporate engagement, mobile giving, Day of Caring and Do More 24. She graduated with honors from Alverno College, earning a degree in Community Leadership and Development. In her spare time, she likes to surround herself with nature by hiking, kayaking and camping.

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