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United Way of Reno County Director Lisa Gleason Reflects on 19 Years of Involvement


By Lucky Kidd


HUTCHINSON, Kan. — A chapter in the life of Lisa Gleason comes to a close Thursday, as another one begins. Gleason is stepping down as Executive Director of the United Way of Reno County to become Director of the United Way of Kansas, an organization representing the various local United Way organizations around Kansas.

Gleason has been associated with the United Way of Reno County for 19 years, starting in 2005 when she was approached by then-Director Rob Mackey to serve as Chair of that year’s campaign. During that year, she learned a lot about United Way and realized it was an organization doing great things in the community.

Gleason later joined the Board of Directors, during which time it adopted a Community Impact Model in order to make a deeper impact on the community. As part of that, the board created a position of Director of Community Impact, which Gleason ultimately accepted.

“It just felt like the right thing to do. I wanted to give back to the community and do it in a meaningful way,” Gleason said.

Gleason became executive director in 2018, succeeding Tona Turner, who replaced Mackey when he took a position with the national United Way organization. In those years, the United Way of Reno County became involved in many projects beyond their annual campaign.

Most meaningful of those was the Reno County Volunteers Organized in Active Disaster group, which United Way helped to start and continues through the work of many organizations in the community. Other projects Gleason was involved with include brining the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program to Reno County, and the work it and the Hutchinson Community Foundation coordinated for Rally Reno, which provided assistance to community members and supported local businesses during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In her new role, one of the projects Gleason will be involved with is a new statewide initiative known as United for ALICE, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – seeking to help hard working people who still are having a hard time making ends meet.

In an interview with Ad Astra News, which is available on the podcasts page, Gleason was asked what she would view as her legacy from the past 19 years.

“I hope that people will see we truly are making an impact, that we are listening to the community, that we’re learning what matters to them, and that we’re bringing partners together to try and solve those problems and that we’re truly making an impact on those issues,” Gleason said. 

The United Way of Reno County will honor Lisa Gleason with a come and go reception Thursday afternoon from 3 to 5 p.m. at the United Way office at 111 North Walnut, Suite B. in Hutchinson.