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United Way of Central Ohio Finds New CEO and President

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega United Way of Central Ohio Finds New CEO and PresidentPhoto by James D. DeCamp. [JamesDeCamp.com ]
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United Way of Central Ohio is under new leadership. Janet E. Jackson, former CEO and president, announced her decision to retire last April. Her successor is Lisa Courtice, a Ph.D. psychologist who brings CEO and other leadership experience.

“Our United Way has never been in a better position to bring our community together to reduce poverty,” Jackson said in a press release. “We have strong volunteer leadership and a uniquely qualified staff. The future is bright for our organization.”

Jackson established an organization that works with others and channels funds, facilitating development in Central Ohio neighborhoods. There’s always debate around the means and ends of that development, which can and often does leave residents of up-and-coming neighborhoods displaced. But, through neighborhood partnerships that engage the existing community in finding solutions, projects have the opportunity to enable the area to grow as development occurs.

United Way is on the funding end of many of these efforts, providing places like Directions for Youth & Families with the resources to provide in-home behavioral and mental health services for low-income neighborhoods. Their patients come from a spectrum of adverse experiences, from dealing with a family member’s addiction or death to witnessing the murder of a loved one.

Per Scholas, a free job training service with a focus on technology, is another one of United Way’s dozens of funded partners. The two-month course provides an industry recognized certification and assistance into employment in IT.

These partnerships attempt an all-encompassing approach to end poverty, the systemic illness creating symptoms like a high infant mortality rate, poor community health and widespread obesity, and an issue Jackson has built her legacy on.

Courtice, who enters the position after 13 years as executive vice president of The Columbus Foundation, plans to carry that legacy forward meanwhile leveraging more money. As an eight-year board member of the Weinland Park Collaborative, she’s seen how strategic investment can create mixed income neighborhoods.

“The work is very challenging, and it takes a portfolio approach,” she said. “It’s complex, and you have to be intentional.”

Courtice is just starting, and for the time being “will be doing a lot of listening” before engaging with communities, and continuing, improving and creating new neighborhood partnerships.

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