YAKIMA - As United Way of Yakima County marks its 50th year this month, Sunnyside School Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole marks the start of his first year on the agency's board of directors.
Cole is one of just two Sunnyside area residents on the 24-member United Way board, said John Warren, resource development director for United Way of Yakima County.
"The selection committee believes that Dr. Cole can bring a lot of knowledge to United Way about what sort of services and needs should be represented," said Warren, who noted the other Sunnysider on the board is local attorney Rich Strain.
Cole said his interest in serving on the board is "to look at the services (provided by United Way) and make sure they are represented equally across the county."
He praised United Way of Yakima County's efforts in the Lower Valley, such as assisting Nuestra Casa and the Lower Valley Pregnancy Center.
"I know they've done some outreach," Cole said of United Way's efforts in the Lower Valley. "I just want to explore what programs are currently being funded and make sure the needs are met."
To get better acquainted with the needs of the Lower Valley agencies assisted by United Way, Cole said he'd like to see partnership meetings with the agencies that would be open to the public. "I just want to make sure there is a clear communication of the needs of our communities," he said.
While acknowledging the majority of funding for United Way of Yakima County comes from the Upper Valley, Cole said there has been a good pool of support from the Sunnyside area, including school district employees.
Cole added that over the next six months he hopes the public can receive an update on how the fundraising efforts are progressing for United Way of Yakima County.
Cole's term of service on the United Way board is three years. He serves as the board's educational representative, replacing Jane Gutting of ESD 105, who retired.