Two West Virginia United Ways are the latest affiliates to announce a merger. The merger is at least the second this year for United Way affiliates. Two Indianapolis, Ind.-area affiliates announced a merger in March.
The Tygart Valley United Way is a consolidation of the United Way of Marion and Taylor Counties with the United Way of Randolph County. The combined entity will serve five counties in northern West Virginia near the border with Maryland and Pennsylvania: Barbour, Marion, Randolph, Taylor and Tucker counties.
The merger brings to 14 the number of United Way affiliates in the Mountain State. The number of counties not covered by United Ways will decrease from nine to seven as a result of the merger.
Executive Director Karrah Washington left the Elkins, W.Va.-based United Way of Randolph County in February after three years to become executive director of the Barbour County Senior Center in Philippi, W.Va.
Brett White will lead the merged affiliates as executive director. The headquarters will remain in downtown Fairmont in Marion County, while the Elkins office will become a new regional office. The previous position of executive director of Randolph County will become a regional engagement director post.
White also chairs the statewide collaborative of 14 United Ways, which started working together on many projects during COVID. “We spent so much time working together on mask initiatives, sanitizer and food drives, it just kind of built and built, and we got to a place where” it made sense to merge, he said. Small affiliates were not seeing much growth and “we were looking at adding those counties anyway,” he said.
The two boards approved the deal this past January and February and hashed out an agreement. The Marion and Taylor affiliate kept its full board of 24, adding four members from the Randolph County affiliate and one from each of the new counties served (Barbour and Tucker), for a total of 30. The rest of the board moved into an advisory role as a regional cabinet to help with the annual campaign.
Combined, the merged affiliate will have five employees and revenue of about $625,000, according to White. Marion and Taylor had four employees and annual revenue of about $500,000 while Randolph County had one employee and revenue of $100,000.
White said the United Way of Marion and Taylor Counties raised and distributed more than $125,000 for a COVID response fund in addition to meeting its annual campaign goal of $500,000.