President & CEO
Katie Knight assumed the role of President and CEO of the United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties on June 1st, 2015, coming to Iowa from Sarasota, FL where she served as Regional President of Suncoast United Way. Her hiring was the result of a nationwide search which produced a number of extremely qualified candidates from which Katie distinguished herself with experience and vision. She has served in leadership roles at United Ways in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Florida over her 28 year career and has extensive experience in the areas of Community Impact, Agency Relations and Allocations, Resource Development and Administration. Katie has two daughters, one who remains in Florida as a student at the University of Central Florida and the other who will begin studies at the University of Iowa this fall. In addition, Katie’s mother and sister live in nearby West Branch.
VP, Community Impact & Engagement
Patti Fields joined the team at the United Way in 2007. In her work as Vice President for Community Impact & Engagement, Patti partners and collaborates with local governmental entities, businesses and many nonprofit agencies in the areas of Education, Income and Health. She directs the Community Investment work and Disaster Response for United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties and supervises the United Way Volunteer Center.
With over 20 years of experience working with volunteers in nonprofits, Patti is a leader in volunteer management at the local and state level. She has developed continuing education curriculum and presented numerous trainings and workshops in the core competencies and best practices of volunteerism and volunteer management. She is an advisor to the Student United Way at the University of Iowa, a member of the Volunteer Centers of Iowa and an instructor for the Volunteer Management Certificate Program at Kirkwood Community College. Appointed by Governor Culver in 2008 to the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service, served as Chair for three years, and completed her terms in 2015. Embracing the value of service in her personal life, Patti served on the Iowa City Community School District School Board from 2005 to 2015.
Patti received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Iowa, her Volunteer Management Certificate from Kirkwood Community College, her Nonprofit Management Certificate from Iowa State University and the CVA accreditation from the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration. Patti was recognized as the Hospitality Person of the Year by the Iowa City/Coralville Convention & Visitors Bureau in 2010 and as a member of 40 Under 40 and Women of Influence by the Corridor Business Journal.
Director of Development, Marketing & Communications
Trisha Smith is the newest member of the United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties' team joining us in July of 2017 as the Director of Development, Marketing and Communications. Her focus is on resource development including corporate relations, major gifts, donor relations, and fundraising events. Trisha brings with her over 20 years of broad-based management experience, combining administrative, marketing and human service skills in challenging multitasking environments. Prior to joining United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties, Trisha served as the Regional Development Director for The Salvation Army, and held leadership positions with Verizon Business, St. Paul's United Methodist Preschool and Four Oaks. Trisha's educational background includes a degree in Social Work from the University of Iowa, with a focus on administration. She, and her husband Nathan, reside in Lisbon, Iowa where they raised two daughters Cass, who is attending med school at MidWestern University and Ally, who is pursuing a degree in architecture from Judson University. Trisha enjoys running, gardening, and, to keep connected to the game she loves, works as a basketball referee in her spare time.
Director of Finance & Operations
Terri Anderson is the Director of Finance and Operations, which means she is our Finance Department, IT Department, Personnel and Facilities point person. She works closely with all members of the team on community impact, resource development and the Volunteer Center and with our community partners who serve in board and committee roles. Terri is very involved in all aspects of United Way’s work and makes sure things run smoothly!
Before joining United Way, Terri worked as an analyst with Texas Instruments, raised two wonderful children, and spent 12 years managing operations for local non-profits Elder Services, Inc. and New Horizons United Methodist Church. She has seen firsthand the problems that people in our community deal with on a daily basis, and is motivated daily by the difference United Way’s donors and volunteers make.
Terri holds a BBA in Management Information Systems from Iowa State University. She enjoys golfing and cheering for her beloved Chicago Cubs!
Director of Major Gifts & Leadership Giving
Lois Buntz has more than 30 years of experience in fundraising and administration at a variety of Iowa nonprofits, including United Way of East Central Iowa, Horizons and Four Oaks. Lois received a BA from University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire and an MSW from the University of Iowa. She has held faculty positions at Clarke College and the University of Iowa. Lois serves on the board of the Child and Family Policy Center and the Cedar Rapids Library Foundation. Lois and her husband Bob enjoy traveling, bicycling and spending time with their grandchildren.
Finance & Pledge Services Coordinator
As Finance & Pledge Services Coordinator, Carol assists the United Way team in improving the education, income and health needs of the community through her work related to finance, database and pledge processing. She manages data entry of pledges and payments, prepares campaign billings, thank you letters and tax receipts, provides donor support and works closely with the Director of Finance & Operations on electronic data transfer, the annual audit and other financial tasks. Carol provides support to all members of the United Way team through event assistance, mailing preparation, data generation and more.
Carol holds a Masters of Science in Business Administration from Iowa State University and has over 20 years of experience at United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties. She and her husband, Paul, enjoy spending time with their 3 sons.
Community Strategies Coordinator
Wendy Nolan joined the United Way team on March 30th, 2017, as the Community Strategies Coordinator. In this role, Wendy works closely with the United Way Partner Agencies and coordinates activities and communications around community impact priorities and the United Way mission.
Wendy has been an active volunteer with United Way for the past 10 years and was a recipient of the 2016 United Way Volunteer of the Year Award and 2014 State of Iowa Governor’s Volunteer Award. Her United Way volunteering has included 6 years on the Community Impact Council, Summerships, and Reading Buddies. In addition, she has been an active volunteer with Girls on the Run, Junior Achievement, YMCA of Washington County, and many other community organizations.
Wendy holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from St. Ambrose University and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Iowa and has lived in the Iowa City Area most of her life. She is an alumnus of the Iowa City Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership Program. Prior to United Way, Wendy spent over 20 years in insurance administration management locally. In her position, she maintained a focus on positive business/community partnerships and encouraged employees to give back and volunteer in support of that focus.
When not working or volunteering, Wendy and her husband, John, enjoy running and biking, participating in numerous events throughout the region. Wendy is also a certified Spin and Group Fitness Instructor with the YMCA of Washington County.
55+ RSVP director
Erin Balvanz joined our United Way team in September 2019, as 55+ RSVP Director. RSVP is one of three Senior Corps programs within the Corporation for National Community Service with a focus on engaging individuals 55+ to serve as volunteers in their communities.
Erin’s life journey has taken her from Iowa to Madison, Wisconsin, New Jersey/New York City Metropolitan Area, New Orleans, and to 14 countries before she returned to her Iowa roots. Prior to joining United Way, Erin spent 4 years in Customer Care within ACT, Inc in Iowa and 14 years as a Social Worker in HIV/AIDS Case Management and Home Hospice in New York. She holds a BSW from the University of WI – Madison and a MSW from Rutgers in NJ.
Volunteering has brought Erin tremendous joy and lifelong friendships. Some of Erin’s volunteer adventures include her service in AmeriCorps*NCCC, Free Arts of NYC, NYC Arts and Health Care Network, and Miracles in Motion in Swisher, IA.
Outside of work, and when not engaging in the local arts communities, Erin’s passion is traveling the world in search of the ultimate tango connection.
Amy Schaefer joined United Way in June 2015, and will usually be the first voice you hear if you call the office. Amy not only assists the public on the phone and at the front desk; she also supports the work of each member of the UWJWC staff in assisting with mailings and events, and with financial and administrative duties. Amy received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from University of Northern Iowa, and also has seven years of experience working in the Human Resources field.
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