Northumberland United Way CEO to retire after 28 years and $20M raised

After nearly 28 years of dedicated service to the local community, Northumberland United Way (NUW) CEO Lynda Kay has announced plans to retire at the end of May 2017. With NUW recently taking possession of its own building – the single largest donation ever made to the organization, and a long-time dream realized for Ms. Kay – and with the conclusion of yet another campaign on the horizon, Ms. Kay believes the timing is right for this next step.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to lead this organization,” indicates Ms. Kay. “Through our tremendous staff, volunteers, and community partners, and through the generosity of our many donors, we have substantially increased the capacity of local programs and services that support the residents of Northumberland County to lead better lives. It has been 28 years of growth, learning and joyful experiences. I am very proud of what we have accomplished together, and I look forward to continuing to support this amazing organization as a volunteer and as a donor.”

Ms. Kay began with NUW in 1989 after moving to Cobourg in the early 80’s. Through her outstanding leadership, innovative fundraising practices, and tireless work with staff to build coalitions of donors, volunteers, and partner agencies, the organization has ultimately raised in excess of $20 million in contributions for the Northumberland community over the course of her tenure.

Ms. Kay was the driving force behind establishing the hallmark annual ‘Day of Caring’ in Northumberland, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year. Furthermore, NUW was the lead agency in establishing the Food 4 All Warehouse now operated by Northumberland County, launched the annual Backpack for Kids program to provide school supplies to children in need, was instrumental in expanding the 211 helpline to Northumberland, and implemented the ‘Community Matters’ and ‘Action for Community Change’ projects. These are only a few of the many highlights that have dominated Ms. Kay’s distinguished career.

Her passion for fostering a thriving, inclusive community extends well beyond her position with NUW. In addition to her current role as a member of the Northumberland Hills Hospital Board, Ms. Kay has achieved significant impact in her roles as Past President of the Rotary Club of Cobourg, Past Chair of the Town of Cobourg Civic Awards, Past President of the Port Hope Chamber of Commerce, and Past Director for the Northumberland Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Kay was also a member of the committees that raised funds for the construction of both the Northumberland Hills Hospital and the Cobourg Community Centre.

In 2012, Ms. Kay was a recipient of the prestigious Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, awarded to Canadians who have dedicated themselves to service to their fellow citizens, their community and their country. She is also a recipient of the Town of Cobourg’s Mayor’s Award of Distinction, as well as Northumberland Today’s Women in Business Award.

With this record of achievements to reflect upon, Ms. Kay is now looking forward to the new journey of retirement. While she will continue to fulfill her passion of advocating for those in need, Ms. Kay also looks forward to spending more time with her “pride and joy” – her daughter Elizabeth, and Elizabeth’s husband Geoff and her mother – and to supporting ventures that champion the Northumberland community. She will continue to be involved with the current NUW campaign through to completion, before her departure.

“It is difficult to convey the magnitude of gratitude and respect that we have for Lynda, for the way she has shaped the culture of this organization and for the scope of impact that she has had on the people of this community for more than a quarter century,” stated Board Chair Gerald Blackstock. “We look forward to a final push in the current campaign, to deliver another successful outcome for the benefit of Northumberland residents, and in honour of Lynda’s history of remarkable service.”

Mr. Blackstock goes on to say “Lynda will be leaving in place a legacy of positive organizational change, community vitality and innumerable lives made better through her tireless efforts. Her dedication to, and passion for, creating the conditions for people to move ‘from poverty to possibility’ have left an indelible mark on the people of Northumberland. I know that the NUW Board, staff, and broader community join me in saying that she will be greatly missed, and we wish her the very best in this next adventure.”

The Board will be moving forward with a recruitment process for this position in accordance with the organization’s recruitment policy.