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Reabold takes helm at United Way of Washington County

December 16, 2012|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com
  • Melissa Reabold is the new executive director at United Way of Washington County.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

Melissa Reabold likes Washington County so far — particularly its giving spirit.

“I’m very impressed with the philanthropy mind-set of the community,” she said.

Reabold is the new executive director of United Way of Washington County.

She came to this area from Wilmington, N.C., where she was vice president of resource development for United Way of the Cape Fear Area.

Reabold replaces Leah Gayman, who was the United Way of Washington County’s executive director from 2008 until she resigned in May.

Michael G. Harsh, president of United Way of Washington County’s board, said of Reabold, “From the moment we met her, she was our top choice.”

Harsh called her “passionate” and “well organized,” someone with “both the head and the heart in the game.”

Harsh, a professor at Hagerstown Community College, said Reabold spoke the week of Dec. 10 to his class of Kepler leadership scholars. She inspired the group to participate in the next Cycle United, a United Way fundraiser involving stationary bicycles, he said.

“She knows how to connect with people,” Harsh said.

Reabold, who went to high school in Jim Thorpe, Pa., said she has worked in several cities along the East Coast, including Orlando, Fla., and Charleston, S.C.

Her first career was in respiratory therapy.

She later worked for about eight years at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, first as a marketing coordinator, then as director of development.

Next, she was director of public support for the Cape Fear chapter of the American Red Cross, another marketing and fundraising position.

Reabold said she worked closely with United Way while at the medical center, coordinating the employee contribution campaign, and at the Red Cross, a United Way recipient.

Chris Nelson, the president and chief executive officer of United Way of the Cape Fear Area, said Reabold did terrific work during her nearly five years there and was highly respected.

“She’s good at relationships and that is 90 percent of the game,” Nelson said.

He noted that the Cape Fear Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals gave Reabold an award last month as Professional Fundraising Executive of the Year.

Reabold said United Way of the Cape Fear Area made the transition several years ago from an allocation model to a community impact model.

In the first approach, the United Way divides money among charities in the community.

The second way, the United Way decides on broad categories of community needs and distributes money to specific programs that support those causes.

Washington County moved to the community impact model last year and chose as its focal areas education, income (or financial stability) and health, each with several subsections.

Reabold said she’s excited to come to a United Way that’s developing its community impact plan.

Washington County, she said, has rich history like Wilmington does. She also sees evidence that local agencies work well together, like they did in Cape Fear.

She’s not sure, though, how quickly she’ll adjust to the colder weather; it’s been awhile since she lived in the Pocono Mountains region.

Reabold said her daughter, Anya Johnson, is ready to transfer from Cape Fear Community College to Hagerstown Community College, sight unseen, when she comes to live with her mother in Washington County at the end of the month.

For now, mother has been keeping in touch with daughter — and with Gracie, their Yorkshire terrier — electronically.

“We have Skype dates,” Reabold said.

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