920.563.8880 unitedway@idcnet.com

Fort Atkinson, WI – June 25, 2020 – The United Way of Jefferson & North Walworth Counties has announced that it is merging with the Watertown Area United Way effectively as of July 1, 2020.

“We are so excited to be moving forward with finalizing this merger, prior to kicking off our 2020 United Way Campaign,” states Megan Hartwick, United Way executive director.  “There have been many discussions in the past year, among many groups throughout the county, about how to better increase collaboration among local organizations to more effectively support those in need. We wholeheartedly believe this merger of two local United Ways will put us in a position to do just that – to grow support for our mission to fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our communities.”

“Bringing the Watertown Area United Way under the umbrella of the United Way of Jefferson & North Walworth Counties makes sense, in that it gives us the opportunity to leverage our donations in the best possible way in our combined service areas, in turn strengthening the support of our partner agencies,” states Chris VanGundy, Watertown Area United Way board president. “Our donors trust us to make sure their dollars go where they’re needed most and will have the greatest impact, and we believe this merger will allow us to more effectively do that.”

The United Way of Jefferson & North Walworth Counties will continue to support its existing service area of Fort Atkinson, Jefferson, Whitewater, Lake Mills, Palmyra, Sullivan and Helenville, but will now also support Watertown (zip code 53094), Waterloo, Ixonia and Johnson Creek. Hartwick will continue to serve as the executive director for the organization.

“I couldn’t be more honored to continue my work leading our United Way for our service area, but to also now be entrusted with the responsibility of supporting and growing United Way’s presence in the greater Watertown area is something I am inspired by committed to exceling at,” Hartwick adds.

“The board members of the Watertown United Way are excited for the opportunities this merger will bring to the Watertown community. Working with Megan over the last few years, it’s clear that she will bring a revitalized vision of the United Way to Watertown and be able to provide a solid presence for our agencies and donors,” VanGundy states.

The Watertown Area United Way has been a solely volunteer-led organization with a five-member board of directors. Two of those board members will be joining the board of directors for the newly expanded United Way of Jefferson & North Walworth Counties.

“I’m looking forward to joining the board of the United Way of Jefferson & North Walworth Counties as a voice for Watertown. I think having the experience of working in the Watertown community under the United Way for over 7 years, I can bring the knowledge I’ve gained about the specific needs of Watertown and how we can best address those needs to the merged organization,” VanGundy adds.

“Having Chris’s participation on our board, along with Helen Zuehlke, former president of the Watertown board, will be a tremendous asset,” Hartwick states. “They have established a trusted presence of United Way in the greater Watertown community, which will allow our organization to grow our support more quickly and effectively.”

That growth will begin starting with the fall 2020 United Way Campaign.

“With the hardships our communities have endured as a result of COVID-19, we know the 2020 campaign will bring a tremendous amount of changes and challenges,” Hartwick states. “However, we also feel very optimistic that the merger will further show our communities that United Way is committed to doing all we can to ensure support to those who need it most and to ensure the overall strength of our communities. Now more than ever, United Way’s support is needed and this merger will lend itself to our ability to increase that support.”

Anyone in the Watertown area who would like to discuss getting involved with the United Way, or anyone with any questions about the merger and the organizational changes, can contact Hartwick at the United Way office at 920.563.8880 or unitedway@idcnet.com.