Karen Benzel of Alliance, director of United Way for Box Butte and Dawes Counties, has been named Executive Director of the entire United Way of Western Nebraska.
Benzel took over last week from Steph Black, who is retiring in March
United Way Board President Todd Lewis says the board is sad to see Black leave since she’s done so much for the organization, but at the same time feels fortunate to have Benzel taking over.
Lewis says Benzel already has a deep understanding of the position and an unmatched passion for its mission with great ideas for the future.
One of those ideas is an administrative reorganization that Benzel says is a direct result of working with and under Black.
United Way of Western Nebraska expanded into Dawes County with Benzel’s hiring in 2015 and she’s credited with helping implement additional donor options and an online grant application process.
Instead of filling her old position, United Way will hire a Development Director. Benzel thinks it’s a more efficient way to operate for an organization with just 4 employees.
Benzel says the reorganization will allow United Way to better serve its communities and work collaboratively throughout its entire Western Nebraska Service area. She emphasizes that its basic operations won’t change with the reorganization.
United Way serves as an umbrella fundraiser for local non-profits, taking the place of their own fundraising efforts.
A key feature is that money stays where it’s raised. As an example, all donations in Dawes County go to United Ways partner organizations in Dawes County.