COLUMBIA — The Heart of Missouri United Way appointed Timothy L. Rich executive director this week, after he had served in an interim capacity for the past six months.
He had filled in for Connie Benton Wolfe, who resigned in July. She left to become vice president for advancement at Wesley Retirement Services in Iowa.
Rich has been affiliated with nonprofit organizations for 25 years. Before he became interim executive director, he worked directly with some of the local United Way’s 31 agencies. He was with the Salvation Army and served as associate director of the Central Missouri Food Bank.
He was also director of development for the MU College of Arts and Science, one of United Way’s largest donors.
''We are all very excited he’s official," United Way spokeswoman Lindsey Testerman said. "It’s nice to have that insight. A lot of people in nonprofit tend to stay nonprofit."
Rich said his established relationship with Columbia's charitable community will help him meet its ongoing needs.
"There’s a camaraderie among nonprofit professionals, and I will be hearing their voice and representing them," he said. "I understand the troubles they have and I hope I can be a real advocate for them."
From 2005 until January 2009, he served as the in-state chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof.
Testerman gives credit to Rich’s established relationship with local agencies to the success of this year’s campaign.
Cathy Scroggs, vice president of the Heart of Missouri United Way board of directors, worked closely with Rich in heading up the 2009 campaign, which raised $3,223,351. The goal was exceeded by more than $14,000, she said.
Scroggs praised Rich for his efforts toward the campaign's success.
"From my standpoint, he had a good understanding of fundraising," she said. ''He really took charge of the United Way (with) a lot of energy.''
Testerman said Rich was a key liaison between United Way and the community.
''We needed someone to spearhead the campaign, especially with the turbulent economy and tight budget," she said. "(His) role was to get the word out there … to have the community know about those resources that we offer."