More trouble in River City
Another Top Exec Leaves United Way
By Mike Kirby
The United Way of Hampshire County, rocked in September by the sudden resignation of Lewis S. Stess, its president, will announce soon the departure of its Vice President for Community Investment, Mistinguette Smith, who came to the agency less than four months ago.
Smith, reached at the agency, would neither confirm nor deny that she was leaving the agency. She said that a statement would be made shortly by Susan Clopton, a professional fundraiser and the United Way’s interim president, who fills the vacancy created by the surprise departure of Stess.
Clopton told downstreet.net that a press release was going out on Friday announcing that Smith would be leaving the United Way, perhaps as soon as next Thursday.
Her position will be filled by a director of community investment, who has yet to be hired and who will work fewer hours than those worked by Smith.
Clopton said Smith had worked with her in developing the job description for the incoming director as “part of our plan” to address some of the issues swirling around the United Way.
Smith’s position was itself a new one, created in the wake of widespread turmoil at the agency brought about by deep reductions in funding for member agencies.
She had come to the beleaguered United Way staff from the Western Massachusetts Food Bank where she served as director of programs.
Fall is traditionally the busiest time at the United Way, which on Oct. 5 held its kickoff breakfast for the annual fund drive for 2006-2007. This past year’s campaign fell short of its goal, which resulted in a cut of more than $200,000 for the 27 member social service agencies that rely on the United Way for support.
At last month’s campaign breakfast, United Way officials admitted that the cuts had produced anger among the agencies and promised that the United Way would do a better job of providing adequate funding and listening to the concerns of partner agencies.
In an interview at the October annual meeting, Smith told downstreet.net that she believes the United Way was back on track and that it had put its troubles behind it.
Smith graduated in 2000 from Smith College where she was an Ada Comstock Scholar.