President & CEO, United Way of King County
Keeping focused is vital, says Jon Fine, especially for an organization as large as United Way. “We don’t have unlimited resources,” he explains, “so we apply them where they make the biggest difference in solving the most important problems.” To that end, Fine has put the issues of homelessness, early learning and hunger at the top of the organization’s priority list.
The results prove the commitment: United Way of King County has helped create 2,241 units of supportive housing since 2007. It also supported 1.3 million visits to food banks last year and a half-million summer meals for children from low-income families.
Fine has recruited some of the region’s most prominent business leaders to the effort, with its $100 million annual fundraising campaign making it the largest of the nation’s United Way chapters.
Leading the nonprofit has been a rewarding and long-anticipated journey for the former banker. “In business school, I helped to set up a day care center and I found that enjoyable.” When his bank was purchased 15 years ago, he says, “I looked at that as an opportunity to make the transition I had always wanted.”
Getting new wealth engaged is a challenge Fine acknowledges, but he also sees United Way’s push for volunteerism as an opportunity that young companies respond to. “There’s a clear trend in philanthropy,” he says, “and we embrace that trend.”