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Bill Crist Tapped to lead United Way Board

OSWEGO, NY – Executive Director of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, Melanie Trexler has announced that Bill Crist, superintendent of Schools for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, will officially take over the reins as president of the agency’s board of directors at the United Way’s 2014 / 2015 Kickoff Breakfast, September 10, at the American Foundry.

Crist follows out-going United Way Board President Kathy Fenlon.

Bill Crist
Bill Crist

He praised her for her work with United Way and the support she has offered him.

“Kathy’s leadership over the last two years has been remarkable. She has served as committee member, board member, executive board member and president. I am especially grateful to her for extending her tenure and assisting me during my transition back to central New York this past spring. It has truly been a pleasure and honor to work with Kathy over the years in the spirit of helping Oswego County. She is one of a kind!” said Crist.

Crist, a former superintendent of the Oswego City School District, has been actively involved with United Way for more than a decade serving as a board member since 2003 and playing a major role in several sub committees including By-Laws, Campaign, Golf, and Strategic Planning.

Additionally, Crist was a member of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce from 2003 to 2013 where he served as a member of the executive board of directors, the Government Relations committee and represented the Oswego City School district.

A dedicated supporter of United Way, Crist is committed to increasing the impact of United Way.

“I feel very strongly about the positive impact that United Way has on Oswego County. My affiliation with United Way has allowed me to see first-hand how great the need is in our community and the remarkable way in which United Way utilizes donors’ dollars to support programs that produce measurable results by providing services that offer comfort, support and empowerment to those in need,” said Crist.

According to Trexler, Crist’s vast experience made him the perfect choice for United Way board president.

“We are very fortunate to have Bill as our board president. His skills set, leadership abilities and thorough knowledge of United Way and Oswego County is invaluable. I am confident that he is the right leader at the right time and will successfully lead United Way into the future and continue our mission of improving the quality of life in Oswego County by ensuring positive results from United Way funded programs and creating stronger, healthier communities,” said Trexler.

In his new role as board president, Crist is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.

“As we look to the future it is important for us to find innovative ways to reach our goals and convey our message to the community.  We wish to assure our supporters that with United Way, it’s all about results. We are focused on educating the public and reminding them of the tremendous impact that their dollars have on the lives of those in need and the effect they have on Oswego County and our goals of ending hunger, helping children and youth succeed, and improving the health and well-being of our community,” said Crist.

One of Crist’s first duties as United Way board president will be his active role in the Campaign Kickoff Breakfast.

He will share his vision for the future of the United Way as well as introduce events guest speakers: Jeanne Unger, executive director of Farnham Family Services and Investigator Michael Curtis of the Fulton Police Department.

Unger will share video excerpts from Senator Ritchie’s recent forum on Heroin and Opioid Addiction as well as a recent video from the Oswego County legislature focusing on heroin locally.  According to Unger these videos, which include addicts speaking about their experiences, family members who have been affected by an addict, and perspectives from law enforcement and elected officials, will put into perspective the devastating effects that heroin.

“The success of the United Way’s Annual Campaign will have a tremendous impact on our efforts to combat heroin abuse in Oswego County.  The funding that it provides Farnham Family Services assists us with both our treatment programs and our preventative work,” said Unger.  “United Way funding allows us to expand our preventative work in our schools and the community in general.  Additionally, as a result of United Way funding we are able to procure additional dollars that make United Way’s investment even more beneficial.”

Curtis, a native of Fulton, will share his experiences with Catholic Charities’ CYO Program. From attending as a youth to witnessing the positive effect CYO has on today’s youth, Curtis puts a face on the impact that CYO has on youth and the community.

According to Trexler, Jeanne’s and Mike’s stories are excellent examples of the results that United Way helps produce for Oswego County.

“United Way funding is all about results. Donations to the United Way Community Fund benefit a myriad of programs that serve community members of all ages and address the issues of hunger, the success of our child and youth, and the overall health and well-being of our communities,” she said. “These programs produce measurable results that have a tremendous impact on not only those they serve, but on the community as a whole. There is no better way to make a positive impact on Oswego County than supporting United Way.  Donations to the United Way Community Fund make a difference by providing solutions and increasing the quality of life throughout Oswego County.”

United Way’s Annual Campaign Kickoff Breakfast, which is open to the public, will be held September 10 from 8 – 9 a.m. at the American Foundry, 246 W. Seneca St. (behind Fajita Grill on Route 104 West).

The cost to attend is $15. Deadline for reservations is September 5.

For more information, or to make reservations, contact Resource Development Director, Lois Luber at your United Way office, 315-593-1900 or via e-mail at [email protected]