Francisco Sanchez of Chase bank was named chair of the organization, a new title, replacing outgoing president Greg Anderegg of SC Johnson who led the board for the past three years. David Maurer, executive director for some 19 years, also got a new title: president and chief professional officer.
As his last official duty, Anderegg presented the President's Award to Mary Wyant, who was ending her six years on the board with what Maurer said was the best attendance on record.
Rakesh Popli and Mark Mundle were named Volunteers of the Year.
Jeff Neubauer, chair of the AFA initiative, said the program will address the "paradox" of companies unable to find qualified workers like truck drivers, machinists and nurses in a community with persistent and high unemployment. "Not to overstate it," he said, "but how do we break the cycle of poverty?"
He ran off a series of unsettling statistics:
- More than 20 percent of families with children in the city of Racine have incomes below the poverty level.
- Out of those 2,017 families, 84% are single head of household families
- Of the 1,664 women aged 15-50 who gave birth here in the past 12 months, 72% were unmarried.
"The rate of return on investment is much higher when you focus on the youngest children," he said, pointing out that typically the least amount of funds are spent on kids from birth to three, and the most on adults in prison.
The goal, he said, is to bring 95% of these families out of poverty. "We do it with married couples," he said. "If we can do it with these 2,000 families, bringing them from where they are to where they want to be, it's conceivably achievable" to do it with even larger numbers.
The United Way, Maurer said, has budgeted an initial $50,000, and will be asking the City Council for $20,000, along with a similar amount from the business community. Eventually, the United Way expects to budget $200,000 annually for AFA, he said.
"If we can move the needle, we'll want to refocus our resources," Neubauer said. Non-profit organizations and churches wishing to nominate eligible families for the program should contact Kimberly Payne, project facilitator, at the United Way.
New board members elected were Milous Adams, U.S. Navy, retired; Randy Baker, CNH Global; Sue Boland, Wheaton Franciscan-All Saints; Bruce Duerr, Great Northern; Ethel Gates, Service Employees International Union, Lincoln Lutherna; Mark Giesler, Johnson Diversey; Stephanie Hayden, Racine Unified; Ray Koukari Jr., Gateway Technical College; Steve McLaughlin, UW-Parkside; Paul Rohling, Johnson Diversey, retired; John Siegert, Design Parners; Fran Strickland, SCJohnson; and Helen Suda, Gateway, retired.
Board members re-elected included Tom Burke, Modine Mfg.; Mike Goebel, CWA Local 4611; Brad Goodwin, SCJ; Adrian Schoone of Schoone, Leuck, Kelly and Pitts; Alicia Tanguma, PA Staffing Service; and Scott Terry, Fuel Creative.
Campaign Chair for 2009 is Chris Antonneau of David Insurance.