United Way of Connecticut Board of Directors Announces New Chief Executive Officer

ROCKY HILL, Conn. (August 26, 2020) — United Way of Connecticut’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Lisa Tepper Bates to serve as UWC’s new President and CEO, effective October 1, 2020.

Ms. Bates brings over 25 years of experience working in diplomacy and nonprofit leadership, most recently named by Governor Ned Lamont as Connecticut’s Senior Coordinator for Housing and Transit Oriented Development. She will succeed Richard Porth, who will retire in early September after 12 years with the organization.

Ms. Bates is joining UWC after leading an effort to enhance use of data-driven approaches and implement innovative solutions to meet the needs of people facing housing instability, to improve human outcomes and conserve government resources, resulting in one of the most ambitious multi-agency data matches completed to date by any U.S. state.

During the COVID-19 public health emergency, Ms. Bates took on a new role, as the Chair of the Recovery and Immediate Needs Subgroup of the state’s emergency management team. In that role, she worked with senior leadership from state and federal agencies alongside leaders from nonprofits, trade associations, advocacy organizations, and philanthropy on a wide range of emergency response efforts as well as on the development of a statewide framework to engage multi-sector partners in planning for recovery from the impacts of COVID.

Ms. Bates brings to her new role strategic vision, seasoned leadership experience, and a collaborative style, making her ideally suited to lead UWC forward. Her personal and professional experience align with United Way’s mission of meeting the needs of Connecticut and its residents by providing information, education, and connection to services. Her background in nonprofit management and government relations will be critical to this new role.

Chris Skomorowski, CEO of Bicron Electronics Company and UWC Board President said of Ms. Bates, “Our selection of Lisa to lead the United Way of Connecticut as its President and CEO is the result of a thorough search. We had many outstanding candidates, but it was Lisa’s commitment to the mission of UWC, along with her vision for the organization that led the Transition Committee to our final decision. Lisa has extensive experience with external relations, liaising with government agencies, and representing an organization as its public face. We are grateful to have her as UWC’s next President and CEO.”

Ms. Bates stated that “United Way of Connecticut plays a critical role in connecting residents of our state with the services they need every day. Rick Porth has done impressive work to build a strong organization. I’m honored to take on this important role at this challenging time, and to build on the work he has done. I look forward to leading the organization and its terrific team into the future.”

Governor Lamont said, “I greatly value the state’s partnership with United Way of Connecticut, which provides important help every day to Connecticut residents, and has played a central role in our state’s efforts to manage the COVID-19 public health emergency. I’m grateful to Lisa for her terrific work on a wide range of subjects in my Administration, and I have asked her to stay engaged on some of the important projects that she helped to launch. I wish her the best as she moves into this position – the United Way has made a good choice.” 

Ms. Bates served as a U.S. diplomat from 1992 to 2006. She worked overseas and in Washington, including as a Special Assistant for Europe to the Undersecretary of State and as Director for Southeastern Europe at the White House National Security Council. Her tours of duty included Poland, Albania, and the former Yugoslavia, where she worked for several years on implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement the ended the war in Bosnia. 

She transitioned from diplomacy to non-profit management, serving as Executive Director of Mystic Area Shelter & Hospitality (MASH), and then as Executive Director of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH). At CCEH, Ms. Tepper Bates led efforts to transform the homelessness response system of Connecticut. She was a core member of the leadership team that worked together to reduce annual homelessness across Connecticut by 40% in just six years.

Ms. Bates holds a BA from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and an MBA from the Yale School of Management, where she focused on non-profit management. She is a Board member of the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority and has served on a number of nonprofit and community boards and committees. She lives with her husband and son in Stonington.
The board is grateful for the enormous contributions Rick Porth has brought to UWC, which has grown into a critical resource for the state of Connecticut and its residents under the twelve years of his leadership. Mr. Porth’s tenure is marked by a focus on the innovative use of technology to connect people to necessary services and supports through various channels. He worked tirelessly alongside UWC’s Board and Senior managers to employ UWC resources effectively in the face of rapidly growing need, particularly in crisis intervention work within the state of Connecticut.

“It has been a pleasure working with Rick and to have been able to support his leadership during the many crises Connecticut has experienced, particularly in the last few years. He has led with a heart of commitment and has created positive change for the state and for UWC’s organization and the partners we serve. We wish Rick the very best for the future,” states Sulma Avenancio, SVP Entravision and UWC Board Vice-Chair.

Under Mr. Porth’s leadership, and working with dedicated and innovative UWC leaders, notable accomplishments include the development of 2-1-1’s Mobile Crisis Intervention for Youth which serves thousands of youth each year; 2-1-1 serving as the front door for Connecticut’s Coordinated Access for Housing and Shelter, which has helped thousands avoid homelessness; substantial expansion of 2-1-1’s work in crisis intervention, particularly in emergency response after storms as part of the state’s Emergency Response Framework; and technological innovations in Care 4 Kids childcare subsidy service delivery including an online provider portal and direct deposit and electronic funds transfer.

Additionally, Mr. Porth helped lead the effort with local United Ways in Connecticut to bring the ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Report to the state to call attention to financial hardship in Connecticut and across the country and to advocate for and provide supports to help them achieve financial stability.

When asked to share his thoughts on his successor, Mr. Porth states, “The UWC Board’s appointment of Lisa Tepper Bates to be the next CEO will greatly benefit United Way of Connecticut and the people we serve in every city and town in Connecticut. This decision is the culmination of a diligent and comprehensive search process conducted by the leaders from across the state that serve on UWC’s Board. Lisa is well known and highly respected and she brings extensive experience and strong working relationships with many of UWC’s key partners. I know that UWC will thrive and find new ways to serve Connecticut’s people under the leadership of Ms. Bates along with UWC’s talented and innovative senior managers.”

About United Way of Connecticut

United Way of Connecticut serves by 1) connecting people to information, education, and services; 2) supporting early childhood development and education; 3) responding to emergencies, whether they are personal/family crises or community-wide disasters; and, 4) promoting strong communities in collaboration with many government and nonprofit partners. These four objectives are carried out by means of our diverse array of services which creates cross-cutting connections that help to integrate the work of multiple government and nonprofit agencies.

United Way of Connecticut’s core services include Connecticut 2-1-1 contact center and point of entry for Mobile Crisis Intervention Services and Connecticut’s Coordinated Shelter Access Networks; 2-1-1 Child Care Resource and Referral Contact Center; 2-1-1 Child Development Infoline; and administering the State of Connecticut’s child care subsidy program, Care 4 Kids. United Way of Connecticut also works with local United Way leaders to advance the common good by creating opportunities for all, with a particular focus on education, income/financial security, health and basic needs.
Media Contact:

United Way of Connecticut 
Annie Scully
Community Results Center