UWTC Announces this Year's Campaign Chairs

United Way of Tompkins County (UWTC) is excited to announce this year’s campaign co-chairs, Ducson Nguyen and Deb Mohlenoff. “Both Ducson and Deb are strong community leaders who have exceptional service records,” shares Interim CEO Gail Belokur, “Their work as community advocates mean they are both aware of needs and how we can solve them locally.”

Under the theme of “Better United,” the pair urges community members to come together to support this year’s campaign, which provides funding for nearly 300 nonprofits annually, vets local programs by having local community professionals review their impact, and ensures 100% of individual gifts go to programs and services. “By giving through UWTC, a donor knows that their gift is being deployed to where it is needed most and has high impact,” shares Nguyen. Mohlenhoff adds, “There is so much need to be addressed in our community, recently exacerbated by the impacts of the pandemic. The United Way is poised to navigate the new normal, attract a new generation of donors, and impact our community in innovative and meaningful ways.”

The annual campaign funds the Community Care Fund, which annually provides funding for local programs in the funding priority areas of crisis intervention, meeting basic needs, and supporting wellness. These areas include addressing food insecurity, childcare, housing, crisis and abuse intervention and recovery, health to include mental health, and workforce development. Other programs supported by the annual campaign include the UW/2-1-1 ALICE Program, which provides direct support to qualifying households for expenses including rent, utilities, car repairs, childcare and other basic needs or to help people work or learn. In a typical year 1 in 5 residents in Tompkins County interact with a United Way funded program. “Donors giving to UWTC are funding programs that our neighbors, families, friends, and co-workers need in times of crisis and to strengthen their lives,” states Interim CEO Gail Belokur. “We are grateful for the time and talents that our campaign chairs and other volunteers give to our community through the UWTC campaign each year.”

Both Nguyen and Mohlenhoff are well versed in Tompkins County community needs and resources, having served together on City of Ithaca Common Council with Mohlenhoff recently completing a commitment spanning twelve years. Mohlenhoff is currently the Associate Vice President for College Relations at Tompkins Cortland Community College as well as the Program Director for Leadership Tompkins and Leadership Cortland. Nguyen is employed with CrowdStrike, currently serves as Alternate Acting Mayor for City of Ithaca representing the 2nd Ward, and has been involved in many advocacy projects seeking local solutions for local challenges.

Other Leadership Updates

Gail Belokur Named Interim CEO

On Monday August 15, United Way of Tompkins County's Executive Committee unanimously voted Gail Belokur as Interim CEO. Gail first joined the UWTC team as the Director of Strategic Engagement just over four years ago, and had previously been promoted to the role of Chief Administrative Officer. “I am honored to continue to serve the Tompkins County community, our local agencies, the UWTC staff, Board of Directors, and many community volunteers in this new role,” shares Belokur. 

Cal Walker Named Relationship Liaison

UWTC is also very excited to announce that Cal Walker has accepted a part time position with us as Relationship Liaison. Cal is a social entrepreneur who has had impact through many organizations, including being a founder of Village at Ithaca, and is a Cornell retiree.

As a friend to UWTC, you will likely remember that he successfully led the UWTC Campaign in 2019-2020 raising over $2 million. Cal will be working in partnership with our Campaign Co-Chairs Ducson and Deb, along with Interim CEO Gail, to build relationships and explore ways for local businesses and organizations to meet their community goals in partnership with UWTC. 

“I’m very excited to be supporting United Way‘s ongoing work of providing critically needed funding support to so many of our local not-for-profits organizations who, day in and day out, are committed to meeting the broad and diverse needs of individuals and families throughout our community. I'm especially pleased that UWTC is both timely and responsive in providing direct services in certain situations as well," shares Walker. Belokur states, “Our community continues to be blessed by the time and talents Cal shares, and I’m excited for the positive energy and synergy I know Cal brings to his work. UWTC is indeed fortunate to have him as part of our team, making us ‘Better United’”.