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New CEO named for United Way of Whiteside County


STERLING – The United Way of Whiteside County is about to be under new leadership, but with someone familiar to the area.

Keri Olson, head of the Lee County United Way, is the nonprofit's new CEO.

The move brings the Sterling native closer to home.

"I do really love United Way as an organization, and Whiteside County was particularly interesting to me because it's my home, I was born and raised in Whiteside County," Olson said.

"They're also a bit bigger than Lee County, so they're doing some programming that Lee County isn't doing yet, things like the Life Program with the Imagination Library and the Born Learning Academy. All of those programs and just exciting to get into."

She has no particular new plans to implement yet – she needs to spend time learning more about the organization to find a place where she can make her mark, Olson said.

Olson fills the role last held by Diana Verhulst, who stepped down Nov. 20 to become a pastor at Franklin Grove Church of the Brethren.

Olson became the executive director for the United Way of Lee County in February 2018, and before that was the branch operations director for the Sterling-Rock Falls Family YMCA.

She looks back on a number of things she was able to do in In Lee County, that she is proud of.

"We've really increased our summer lunch program," she said. "When I started out, it was grant-funded and it served less than 300 meals over the course of the summer. When this summer ended, we served 10,000 meals, so in just 3 years we went from 300 to 10,000, so we definitely worked hard to increase our reach with that program."

She has been active in the community in a number of ways, serving on the board of directors for the Sauk Valley Community College Leadership Program, the Rotary and serving as a Chamber Ambassador.

She is particularly fond of the United Way for how it brings together the services people need.

"We know that people who need services generally need services from more than just one organization," Olson said. "If they are in a homeless shelter, they're probably going to need services from more than just that homeless shelter to get back on their feet. So United Way is able to provide resources to a number of different organizations in the community so we can have a well-rounded approach to solving some of the issues that we see."

For the time being, Olson will oversee the agencies in both counties until her Lee County replacement is found.

Scooter Give Away Rules


Donate at least $20 to United Way’s 2020 Annual Fall Campaign (other rules apply) for your chance to WIN a brand new 50 cc Wolf-brand scooter, generously donated to by Bollman Auto Center in Rock Falls, who is partnering with United Way of Whiteside County in the 2020 Live United … Like A Rock 75th Anniversary Annual Fall Campaign.

You may print this Entry form and mail it in, or stop by our offices to fill out an official pledge form.Check BOXES ON THE ENTRY FORM BELOW and please pay by credit card using our Donate Now button. Unchecked boxes, unpaid tickets, donations less than net $20, or returned checks will result in a rejected entry. Please click on all that apply. Must not be present to win. Six weekly drawings will take place on Facebook live at the United Way of Whiteside County’s page, beginning Monday, Oct. 5 at 11:15 a.m.; final drawing for finalists is Monday, Nov. 16. There will be 12 finalists from these weekly drawings. Final drawing for the winner will be held in March 2021 in Sterling, Ill. at United Way’s annual Recognition Banquet unless circumstances prevent the event from occurring in which case the final drawing will occur at the first scheduled UWWC board meeting after mid-March, 2021.

All proceeds benefit United Way of Whiteside County. Entry deadline is Noon on November 13, 2020. United Way reserves the exclusive right to extend the deadline if there are insufficient entries in the opinion of our leadership team. Check our website for new developments.


Position Open: Director, Born Learning Academies of Whiteside County

Immediate Opening
Director, Born Learning Academies of Whiteside County

Born Learning Academies   Everyday life is a learning experience for children. Born Learning is a pubELOGO2lic engagement campaign that helps parents, grandparents and caregivers explore ways to turn everyday moments into fun learning opportunities. A Born Learning academy includes six sessions, each being in the evening. The topics include: importance of learning, building relationships, building your child’s language skills, nutrition and health, how children learn and routines/learning on the go. Each session is approximately an hour and a half. The sessions are typically held in a school building in the community.

Position Background and Details  
Currently, United Way of Whiteside County funds two academies each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. Through a generous donation from the program’s funder, we are able to add this position in order to increase the number of academies offered. 

The director will coordinate calendars with school administrators in Whiteside County who want to host academies on their campus. The director will manage every aspect of the academy including, but not limited to, ordering supplies and incentives, marketing the academies to parents and/or caregivers in a variety of ways; registering families; speaking at public and private events to advance the program; designing marketing materials, arranging for volunteers and food to serve parents and their children at the academies, and arranging for qualified daycare workers to care for the children while parents are learning. Additionally, the director will lead the academies as an instructor/facilitator. The position reports to the United Way’s CEO. Compensation DOE and subject to continuation of the grant year-to-year.
Required Skills and Experience
• Two years of college at an accredited institution
• Demonstrated proficiency in Microsoft Suite and Adobe products
• Experience speaking publicly
• Pleasant adaptable attitude
• Preferred background in education

How to Apply 
• Send your resume with a cover letter marked confidential explaining why you are the ideal candidate for this position to: Ms. Diana Verhulst, CEO, United Way of Whiteside County, P.O. Box 806, Sterling, Illinois, 61081 or preferably email your material to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
• Include two professional references
• Include any hyperlinks to your work if it appears online
Please, no calls.
Further description of the position and compensation range will be made available upon application. 
United Way of Whiteside County is a 501 c 3 nonprofit and an equal opportunity employer. More information about Born Learning can be found at bornlearning.org
Part-time (hours will vary)

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United Way of Whiteside County