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United Way of Southeastern Connecticut President and CEO Announces Retirement

Gales Ferry, CT (January 15, 2021) – Virginia L. Mason, President and CEO of United Way of Southeastern Connecticut for the last eleven years, has announced her retirement from the position effective February 12, 2021.

“It is with real sadness that I am leaving United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, but it is time for me to retire,” said Mason. “I will be in the area for a short time while getting ready for a move to California to be with my daughter and her family. My years here have been exciting, memorable, and particularly interesting because of United Way’s investment in its Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center.

“There are so many to thank for inspiration, funding, and dedication, Mason continued. “I have been very lucky to have worked with United Way for so many years, in so many interesting locations. The years have flown by and I thank the organization, its board, its leadership, and its staff for making this a wonderful adventure.”

Mason has been a President and CEO for more than 25 years in both national and international settings, with notable achievements in strategic, business, and marketing planning, and resource development. She is a published writer and researcher, and she has received regional awards for multi-cultural work and cross-cultural collaboration.

Previous to her time with United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, Mason served as President and CEO for four other United Ways, including United Way of Jamaica where she designed an island-wide operation and developed programs and structure for the Board of Directors, fundraising, and allocations. She established a system of four United Ways on the island.

Prior to arriving in Southeastern Connecticut, Mason was the National President and CEO of Family Support America in Chicago for eleven years. The organization is a national coalition of family resource and support programs. At this organization, Mason managed and directed multiple state, regional, and national initiatives.

One of Mason’s most significant volunteer achievements is as founder and sustainer of Hope Bridge School at Khaberd Orphanage in Armenia. It is a personal effort of Mason and her family, and a small group of donors, on behalf of Armenian orphans with special needs with the goal to return institutionalized children to community and civic life.

Mason’s notable achievements in Southeastern Connecticut include:

  • Research, development, and implementation of the New London Food Policy Council;
  • Strengthening and enhancement of the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center program, a core program of United Way;
  • Receipt of a grant for a refrigerated Mobile Food Pantry truck that is deployed throughout the county to distribute food directly to those in need;
  • Collaboration with local human service and nonprofits to convene the New London County Fund to End Homelessness; and
  • Writer of a monthly guest column in The Bulletin.

Mason has a B.S. from the University of Texas in El Paso. With a scholarship from United Way of America (now part of United Way Worldwide), she attended the University of Michigan’s Advanced Leadership Program on Transformational Leadership. At Case Western University, Mason attended its Private Voluntary Organization Excellence Training and International Appreciative Inquiry Training.

“My work at United Way has been an inspiration to me every day for more than 25 years. It has been a privilege to serve this community, and I know that the volunteer leaders, a generous and caring community of partners and donors, and our talented staff team will continue to do great work,” Mason said.

“Virginia has served this United Way and community with a heart of gold and hard work,” noted William Louis, United Way of Southeastern Connecticut Board Chair. “She excels at convening diverse people and partners to find creative and innovative ways to best serve the needs that arose. She is also a true champion in her support of volunteers and staff. We will greatly miss her and wish her all the best for happiness in her retirement as she spends time with her family.”

A Search Committee comprising members of United Way’s Board of Directors has been convened and will begin a search for Mason’s replacement.