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United Way Director Steps Down

United Way Montcalm Ionia Counties Director Stepping Down


By Nicholas Grenke

Posted May. 23, 2016 at 7:16 PM 


Not everyone gets to retire a second time.

United Way Montcalm Ionia Counties Executive Director Roger Thelen will be stepping down Friday. Thelen has headed the organization for the past three years and eight months and said this week he's most proud of the progress the nonprofit has made during his time in charge.

“We've been able to grow and continue to provide increased support services for our partner agencies,” Thelen said.

In 2014 the organization raised $152,500 for 27 local programs, an increase of five percent over the previous year and in 2015 Thelen helped the United Way raise $157,500 for 30 local programs, an increase of three percent.

“It's been a really fun ride,” Thelen said. “It's been a really great position where I've had the chance to work with great people every day.”

The incoming United Way Montcalm Ionia Counties Executive Director, Terri Legg, has been working with Thelen since last week. The United Way Montcalm Ionia Counties Board of Directors chose her as Thelen's replacement when he let it known he intended to retire.
“We've been working together to get her familiar with our process,” Thelen said. “She seems to have an outgoing personality and is eager to learn.”

Thelen spent 15 years as the superintendent for the Central Montcalm County Intermediate School District and retired for four before becoming the executive director of United Way Montcalm Ionia Counties.

He's still not sure if retirement will stick this time, and added he plans to still live in the community with his wife of 36 years, Cheryl.
“I still might help out an organization if it needs someone,” Thelen said.

Thelen said it's a good time of the year for an executive director change, because last year's fundraising is finished and the 2016 campaign isn't in full swing yet.

“We're in pretty good shape,” Thelen said. “I would like to thank all the donors in the community that have helped us accomplish great things.”

For more information on United Way Montcalm Ionia Counties call 616-794-9840 or visit

Follow Nicholas Grenke on Twitter @NickSJ86.  To read actual article, please click here.