Joyce Mather

United Way board of directors members have a huge task ahead of them, as they work to fill the post Joyce Mather will leave in September. It will be difficult to find anyone with the energy and dedication to match what Mather has poured into her post as executive director of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley since 2003.

Grateful members of the community were quick to give high praise to Mather for the good she has done. “Tireless leader,” “great partner,” “outstanding,” “caring, accountability, teamwork, integrity …;” the kind of language used to describe Mather’s tenure is a testament to the degree to which she touched so many lives.

But her legacy can be measured in more than simple words. During her time as executive director, the number of programs funded by the United Way increased. Its annual campaign grew from $464,000 in 2003 to $800,000 in 2014. She spearheaded the launch of efforts such as the Warming Hands and Hearts Energy Assistance Program, the Back-to-School Backpack program and the relocation of the 2-1-1- Health and Human Services Hotline after the closure of the Volunteer Action Center.

Mather will be greatly missed, but she has set a precedent that should inspire any successor to continue her onward and upward approach to serving the people of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Robert Stephens, president of the Bernard McDonough Foundation, spoke for many when he said “The Mid-Ohio Valley owes her a tremendous debt of gratitude.”

Many who know Mather believe her desire to do good work will lead her to continue to be “highly engaged” in our community, and we will be fortunate, indeed, if that is the case.

“Thank you” does not quite do justice to the sentiment we owe Mather.