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Westmoreland, Allegheny United Way units complete merger

| Wednesday, July 1, 2015, 11:42 p.m.

The region's two largest United Way organizations — the United Way of Westmoreland County and the United Way of Allegheny County — are now the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, following the completion Wednesday of a merger a year in the making.

With the merger, the combined organization will serve Allegheny, Westmoreland, Fayette and portions of Armstrong County.

“Our boards went through thoughtful exploration and focused on how can we grow our work in our community and this was the answer,” said Bobbi Watt Geer.

Agency reports show the Allegheny organization took in a record $34.7 million in 2014. The Westmoreland organization, the second-largest United Way in the region, reported revenue of $3 million last year.

Watt Geer, previously president and CEO of the Westmoreland organization, is regional vice president of the combined organization. Although her title has changed — Robert Nelkin, former president and chief professional officer of United Way of Allegheny County, is president and CEO of the merged organization — Watt Geer said the Westmoreland County operation will remain headquartered in Greensburg and is not making any personnel changes.

In a news release announcing the finalization of the merger, officials said dollars raised locally will remain in their respective communities, and local community volunteers will continue to direct the use of funds to help those in need.

Meanwhile, officials will work to merge technology, systems, and processes to achieve greater efficiencies.

“We'll build off one another's strengths, while maintaining local decision-making,” Nelkin said. “We are very excited about the great working relationships that have been built among the board members and staff of the two organizations. It will go a long way in helping to drive successful outcomes in our local communities.”

This marks the second merger the Westmoreland organization has undergone in the last decade. In 2010, it took in the United Way of South Fayette.

Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or derdley@tribweb.com

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