Minn. native chosen as United Way CEO, has worldwide agency connections

Karen Mathison has been named director for United Way of Greater Toledo. She previously was president of United Way of Olmstead County in Minnesota.
Karen Mathison has been named director for United Way of Greater Toledo. She previously was president of United Way of Olmstead County in Minnesota.

The United Way of Greater Toledo’s new chief executive is a Minnesota native with strong worldwide agency connections.

Karen Mathison, the president of the United Way of Olmsted County in Minnesota, said she was en route to Toledo today. She was to be announced as the Toledo nonprofit agency’s director during a news conference this morning.

She is expected to begin in Toledo on Jan. 7.

“The thing I’m most looking forward to is helping with the partnerships and collaborations in the greater Toledo area to address issues that affect us all,” Ms. Mathison said.

One of her top priorities will be to make sure students in Toledo are “career-ready,” by the time they graduate, she said.

Ms. Mathison received her bachelor’s degree from Concordia University.

Local United Way officials declined comment until the news conference.

Ms. Mathison replaces Bill Kitson, who stepped down as the United Way’s director on June 1 so he could take a similar position at the United Way of Greater Cleveland. Jane Moore, the Toledo organization’s executive president, has been serving as interim director.

According to biographical information, Ms. Mathison has served as president of the Olmsted agency since 2002.

She also serves as co-chairman of United Way Worldwide’s Health Advisory Council. Since 2011, she has been a member of United Way Worldwide’s Partnership Committee to create collective strategies for local United Ways to work across the organization to solve issues in education, income, and health.

Ms. Mathison is an appointed member of the National Professional Council of United Way Worldwide, a position she has held since 2006. She is on the United Ways of Minnesota board of directors and is a former chairman of the United Ways of Minnesota Association.

She is also a 2010 graduate of the United Way Worldwide Advanced Leadership Program.

Ms. Mathison is involved in various organizations, include the Greater Rochester (Minnesota) Rotary, the Rochester Area Workforce 2020 Coalition, and the Rochester Public Schools Foundation board of directors. She also has served as a member of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors.

The United Way of Greater Toledo in September kicked off its annual fund-raising campaign and hopes to raise $13.8 million — the same goal it had last year, when it raised $13.6 million.

The United Way’s yearly campaign raises money to aid programs and nonprofit organizations aimed at improving education, income, and health, with an emphasis on graduating high school youth.

Contact Federico Martinez at: fmartinez@theblade.com or 419-724-6154.