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New CEO Keynotes Local United Way's Meeting

Campaign chairman stirs optimism for new fund-raising year.

This year’s Alexandria United Way Annual Meeting featured only two awards but gave those in attendance an opportunity to meet the new Chief Executive Officer of the group’s parent organization, United Way of the National Capital Area.

Charles W. Anderson assumed his new position on July 7, so had only been onboard for three days. Anderson takes over an organization that was plagued with questions of financial mismanagement last year, resulting in a less than successful campaign to raise funds.

“I am very pleased to have this new position and am looking forward to working with everyone,” Anderson said. “One of the first things that one does when taking a new job is assess the situation before setting priorities. There are some obvious things that I am going to do, of course.

“First of all, we are getting ready for a new campaign and I am focusing a lot of time and energy on that. We did not raise as much money as we needed last year, for many reasons. We want to be able to provide. The reason we are here is to provide services to those who need them. If an activity helps us to do that, it is a good thing, and if it does not, perhaps we should reconsider whether it is necessary or not,” he said.

ANDERSON ALSO spoke about the need to get the organization’s financial house in order. “I want everyone to know that I am going to make certain that we dot all of the I’s and cross all of the T’s when it comes to our financial records,” he said.

Allen Lomax, the newly-elected chair of the Alexandria United Way, echoed Anderson’s sentiments. “I am looking forward to working with our own new leadership in Alexandria and the new leadership at the National Capital Area office,” he said. “We are going to have a retreat in August to set goals for this year’s campaign and I am optimistic.”

Part of the reason for Lomax’s optimism is that outgoing Alexandria mayor, Kerry J. Donley, has agreed to chair the campaign. “This is one of the things that I have agreed to do because I believe it is important,” Donley said. “Through the years, the local United Way has provided services to many of our most needy citizens. For a variety of reasons, mostly having to do with the United Way of the National Capital Area, the local United Way did not raise as much money as we have in the past. We need to raise money to continue to provide the services that we provide. I hope we can change that this year,” Donley said.

He told the gathering last week, "I know we can do better than last year. I guarantee it."

THE GROUP dispensed only two awards during this year's annual meeting held at the Lee Center. “There are a number of awards that we can give but we felt that we really wanted to give only two this year,” said Tricia Rodgers, the executive director of the Alexandria United Way. “The outstanding Community Service award went to Kerry Donley for all of the work he has done for the city and for United Way and the Gazette Packet's Adult Community Service Award went to the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium.”

The Consortium is chaired by Rev. Gary Charles of the Old Presbyterian Meeting House. “We were very pleased to receive the award,” Charles said. “We are proud of what we have accomplished over the past six years and are looking forward to continuing our partnership with the city’s public schools.”

The Consortium is comprised of 23 different congregations in the city. Last year, 100 tutors went to the city’s 10 elementary schools three times a week and worked with children in grades K—2 who were identified as having reading deficits.

“The children we work with have shown an average of a year and-a-half improvement in their reading level,” Charles said.

There is a need for more volunteer tutors. “We could use 700 based on the need,” Charles said.

Anyone who is interested in volunteering can contact the web site at 222.alexandriatutors.org.