Ms. Sharon Gibson-Ellis, President of the Valley United Way, announced after a long and successful career with United Way’s across the nation has decided to pursue her passion. Ms. Gibson-Ellis has announced she will serve as the new Executive Director of Second Chance Animal Rescue in Columbia, Missouri. Ms. Gibson-Ellis has been a long-standing foster parent to animals who are in need of care, attention and love over the years. According to Joseph Pagliaro, Chair of the Board, “Sharon’s departure will be Missouri’s gain. After many years Sharon has decided to return to the heartland of our country, and she is looking forward to this new and exciting chapter in her career. We are happy for her.”

Three years ago, Ms. Gibson-Ellis arrived at the Valley United Way to serve as the new President of the organization. Her predecessor, Jack Walsh, retired after serving the Valley for nearly 30 years. Gibson-Ellis has successfully spearheaded new Community gardens in the 5 Valley towns with a focus on fulfilling Valley United Way’s impact area of Food Security. Many residents do not have access to fresh produce which is expensive and not easily accessible. The Alice Report has also identified many valley residents are often working two jobs yet continue to struggle to provide basic resources such as food for their families.

Mr. Joseph Pagliaro announced to his Board of Directors that although Sharon is pursuing her dream, the Valley United Way is a “Vital organization that continues to serve and meet the needs of Valley residents. We are happy for Sharon. Her pursuit of a new opportunity gives the board and community the ability to define the value Valley United Way provides to corporations, donors, and members of the non-profit community. Together the Board will take a new look at how to provide sustainable solutions that meet the ever-changing needs of our diverse communities.” A consultant, Laura Downs, has been retained to assist the Board of Directors over the next two months to assess a new path and Strategic Plan for the organization.

“At a time when campaigns have begun across the nation, Campaign Co-Chair’s Joy DeMarchis and Karen Stockla of Prudential are looking forward to working with the community to do amazing work to benefit the community. A Campaign Kick-Off is scheduled for September 27th at 4pm in the Scinto Towers and members of the Community are invited to attend. Harvest House, another Valley United Way event focused on Food Security, will take place on Thursday, September 26th at the Shelton Pavilion in Veteran’s Park from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. All Valley Residents are encouraged to bring non-perishable items and sign up to volunteer on www.valleyunitedway.org. A new Valley United Way initiative, Women United, will be kicking off at Harvest House in the evening. Their goal is to raise money for resident’s basic needs.

Ms. DeMarchis and Ms. Stockla would like to “Invite all Valley residents, those who are new to our community and those who are long standing residents to actively engage and participate in all events and programs to support YOUR community. All residents are INVITED to attend our upcoming Communitini on Oct. 10th at Center Stage. This fundraiser features Cocktails and Food from local restaurants, live music and is a New York, New York theme. Please join us at www.valleyunitedway.org to meet your new neighbors and old friends.