What is your role at UWGP? I have the great privilege of leading United Way of Greater Portland's phenomenal staff team to work in and with our community to achieve long-lasting positive change.
What’s your favorite work moment so far? My favorite moments are when UWGP connects with new partners. I believe with my whole heart that people and organizations want to be part of positive change. Strengthening the social fabric of our community by helping to find a place for each organization and individual to connect and contribute truly inspires me to come to work each day.
How do you take your coffee? I take my coffee and my tea with milk, no sugar.
What’s your favorite book? Long-time favorite: "All the King's Men" by Robert Penn Warren. Recent favorite: "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr
What’s on your bucket list? Hike the Milford Track again, this time with our children.
Senior Vice President, Community Impact and Finance
Dan Coyne, Senior Vice President, Community Impact and Finance
What is your role at UWGP? Dan oversees community impact efforts tied to United Way’s goals around education, financial stability, and health – the building blocks of a good life. He aligns funding, volunteerism, public policy, advocacy, and other strategies to ensure impact is made at the population level throughout Cumberland County. A principal architect of Thrive2027, he provides strategic leadership to the Thrive2027 Council, a group that includes executives, administrators, and public officials from throughout Greater Portland that provides overall guidance and oversight of efforts to ensure the success of three bold community goals.
What’s your favorite work moment so far? There are so many, but being part of the community-wide process that resulted in Thrive2027. In particular, seeing and hearing 2,200 people in Greater Portland articulate a compelling vision for a stronger community and then many working to make positive change inspires me every day.
How do you take your coffee or tea? Like a milkshake: with cream and a natural sweetener
What’s your favorite book? "Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson III"
What’s on your bucket list? Traveling to all seven continents and running the Antarctica marathon
Kristin Chase Duffy
Senior Vice President, Technology and Communications
Kristin Chase Duffy, Senior Vice President, Technology and Communications
What is your role at UWGP? Kristin joined United Way in 2013. Kristin received a BA in Communications and a MBA with a Concentration in Marketing from Bentley University. She has over 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, and engagement with nonprofit and for-profit organizations. As a Mainer, who returned after a few years away because Maine is awesome, she loves to spend time with her husband and two kids and play in her gardens.
What’s your favorite work moment so far? I have the privilege of working with staff and volunteers every day who are incredibly dedicated to and are making a difference in our community. It fuels me with a powerful sense of possibility.
How do you take your coffee or tea? Black
What’s your favorite book? "Game of Thrones" series
What’s on your bucket list? Watch the Tour de France in person with my husband.
Senior Vice President, Resource Development and Governance
Matt Wolcott, Senior Vice President, Resource Development and Governance
What is your role at UWGP? As Senior Vice President of Resource Development and Governance, Matt oversees the fundraising and revenue generation strategies and marketing efforts at United Way of Greater Portland.
Matt has been in the non-profit sector specializing in resource development for over a decade. The common thread throughout his non-profit career is a focus on education. He has led annual and capital campaigns for a wide variety of organizations including an international organization in Guatemala, an independent school in New Hampshire, and a national youth conservation organization now based in Washington D.C.. Earlier in his career, Matt was involved in marketing and communications for a global Fortune 1000 company outside Boston.
Matt is active as a volunteer with the Rotary Club of Portland, Boy Scouts of America, Safe Passage, and serves as a lay leader with his church. He is a graduate of Plymouth State University. Matt resides in Falmouth with his wife, Leah and their three young children.
What’s your favorite work moment so far? Witnessing the genuine care and sense of responsibility that our community leaders demonstrate is both inspiring and gives me great hope for the next generation of leaders behind them.
How do you take your coffee? Little bit of soy milk, no sweetener.
What’s your favorite book? "Catcher in the Rye", "The Bible", "Into Thin Air"
What’s on your bucket list? Newport-Bermuda Race (crew for hire!)
What is your role at UWGP? I am currently the Finance Associate at United Way of Greater Portland. I worked in the corporate sector for over 25 years but always had a connection to the United Way through my employer. When I decided to make a change and explore the non-profit world, I was delighted and honored to become an employee here at United Way of Greater Portland.
What’s your favorite work moment so far? My walk to work each day inspires me as I pass by public housing for newcomers to Maine. The languages I hear, the bright clothing I see, and the babies peeking out of slings on their mothers' backs, all remind me that people come to our country hoping they will find opportunity and something better. So despite the evidence of drug abuse, mental illness and homelessness I also see on my walk to work, these newcomers give me hope and remind me to look for, and appreciate, the positive things happening in our community and here at work.
How do you take your coffee? Dunkin’ Cold Brew with liquid sugar and skim milk
What’s your favorite book? If I have to pick just one, I would say "Bel Canto" by Ann Patchett. It is just a lovely book.
What’s on your bucket list? Go back to New Zealand.
What is your role at UWGP? My primary focus is to support a group of community leaders as they guide the work of Goal 1 to increase the number of children in Cumberland County with high quality early learning experiences resulting in a higher percentage of children reading proficiently by the end of third grade. It is a fascinating combination of analyzing data to understand outcomes for children across the county at a population level and listening to families and service providers about the individual experiences that children are having. With this kind of information, working with the Goal 1 Cabinet and community volunteers, we design approaches to support kids and families using our primary tools of funding, volunteerism and advocacy.
What’s your favorite work moment so far? I get the most fulfillment out of moments when needs and resources to meet those needs come together. I can be in a meeting with folks working in a community agency who mention that their summer program does not have enough books in the appropriate languages and later that day receive an email from an organization wanting to provide free books where there is need. I love being a conduit of community solutions.
How do you take your coffee? Variable.
What’s your favorite book? I read really broadly. Right now I have on my bedside table "Devotions" which is selected poems from Mary Oliver. It keeps me grounded in the beauty of simplicity.
What’s on your bucket list? My bucket list generally only contains the most recent activity to grab my attention. Right now that is a 220+ mile running relay in New Hampshire in September. I also have vague notions of learning to play the double bass and becoming a certified yoga instructor, but not by September!
What is your role at UWGP? Senior Director, Financial Stability
What’s your favorite work moment so far? I am inspired every day by the work happening in our community. Recently I had the opportunity to see a group of high school students, from A Company of Girls, present a short play that they wrote, produced and performed that represented a day in the life of typical high school girl. Poignant, heart-wrenching and a wonderful reminder about the impact of our investments.
How do you take your coffee or tea? With milk and sugar.
What’s your favorite book? Too many to choose!
What’s on your bucket list? Travelling: to the Grand Canyon, Sedona and returning to England and Italy.
What is your role at UWGP? I assist the financial/operations team in all aspects of accounting for the financial information of our organization. It is a role that works with and supports the entire staff.
What’s your favorite work moment so far? It is rewarding to be thanked by donors for being a part of working to improve our community.
How do you take your coffee or tea? natural almond milk creamer
What’s your favorite book? "When We Were Kennedys" by Monica Wood
What’s on your bucket list? Retire on or near the ocean
Ninette Irabaruta, Director, Public Policy and Advocacy
What is your role at UWGP? I am currently the Director of Public Policy and Advocacy
What’s your favorite work moment so far? = This is a hard one to answer for me because there have been many favorite work moments. For now, let me say that my two favorite work moments so far are – (1) developing relationships with key public policy stakeholders, and (2) listening to the issues community members bring to the table.
How do you take your coffee or tea? Black
What’s your favorite book? The unique powerful essay by the Martinique Poet/Politician Aime Cesaire - “Discourse on Colonialism.” It is claimed to be the pioneering work in the study of post colonialism.
What’s on your bucket list? Earning a Ph.D. and Visiting Indigenous Communities across all continents!
Kerrie Keller, Community Impact Manager, Financial Stability
What is your role at UWGP? As the Community Impact Manager in Financial Stability, I support United Way’s work related to Thrive2027’s Goal 2. This involves providing technical assistance to community partners and key stakeholders, as well as supporting related volunteerism, advocacy, and evaluation efforts. I am a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum and graduate of the University of Vermont.
What’s your favorite work moment so far? From community conversations and workplace rallies to reader trainings and food drives, I love how UWGP brings together people from different parts of our community to ensure that Greater Portland is a great place for everyone.
How do you take your coffee or tea? Herbal tea for me.
What’s your favorite book? I don’t like picking favorites, but if I had to, it might be a three-way tie between "To the Lighthouse" by Virginia Woolf, "The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster, and "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer.
What’s on your bucket list? I have always wanted to take a ride in a hot air balloon!
Stephanie Nicoson, Community Impact Manager, Education
What is your role at UWGP? Community Impact Manager, Education. I support Thrive2027’s Goal 1 Cabinet, supporting community partners in their work and interactions with us as well as connecting stakeholders in a meaningful way to Goal 1 related needs.
What’s your favorite work moment so far? Recently, I conducted focus groups within various schools in Cumberland County. While all were incredibly interesting and important to drive our work forward, the high school student group was my favorite. It reminded me how intuitive students can be to the challenges they are facing – they discussed the barriers their peers were up against to being successful graduates and creative solutions. It was also inspiring to hear them speak of all the ways they are supported through their school, community and peers.
How do you take your coffee or tea? A little bit of cream.
What’s your favorite book? Always changing! Right now, “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran
What’s on your bucket list? Backpack the fjords in Norway!
What is your role at UWGP? I am the Health Community Impact Director and staff to Thrive 2027 Goal 3. I attended the University of South Carolina, School of Public Health and have spent the last 20 years working to promote and support healthy communities in South Carolina and Maine. At United Way of Greater Portland, we do that by working to meet people where they are to increase access to mental health and substance use prevention and treatment services.
What’s your favorite work moment so far? My favorite work moment happens every year when I get to participate in the decision-making process. It is inspiring to work with Thrive2027 cabinet members and community volunteers as they work through the process and make grant decisions.
How do you take your coffee? Mostly decaf and mostly black.
What’s your favorite book? "To Kill a Mocking Bird"
What’s on your bucket list? To drive across the US.
What is your role at UWGP? In 2002, I joined United Way of Greater Portland as a Loaned Executive. I immediately realized that I had to be a part of this magical organization. Opportunity presented itself, and I gratefully accepted a position as the receptionist. Fast forward to today. Currently I am the Operations Support Specialist, reporting to the Senior Director of Finance and Operations. As the face of first impressions, it is my mission to provide excellent customer service to all visitors, volunteers, and staff members who pass through the doors of UWGP, or reaches out to us by phone.
What’s your favorite work moment so far? Collecting household items donated to UWGP through our Gift-In-Kind program, in my Mother’s Taurus station wagon, and delivering them to needy families and New Mainers settling into our community.
How do you take your coffee or tea? I enjoy sipping a yummy cup of Jamaican Me Crazy flavored coffee with cream, or a 32 oz. cup of Aroma Joe's green tea with nothing in it.
What’s your favorite book? Any book that leaves a smile in my heart when I turn the final page.
What’s on your bucket list? 1.) Dine at the Lost Kitchen with my daughter, Jenny. 2.) Sample wine at a vineyard in Quebec with my dear friend Hernan. 3.) Dance with my darling Chomba at his wedding. 4.) Visit Italy and submerge myself in the richness of the culture by staying with a host family.
What is your role at UWGP? I am the Community Impact Assistant, so I support the whole CI team in meeting its day-to-day and long-term goals. This includes the annual investment process, volunteerism, policy and advocacy, and Thrive2027.
What’s your favorite work moment so far? 2. I loved helping plan the logistics of and participating in the annual Day of Action. It was so exciting and inspiring to go to local project sites around greater Portland and see so many volunteers actively working to improve our community.
How do you take your coffee or tea? I gave up coffee a while ago and now only drink tea, but I eat coffee ice cream when I’m craving it.
What’s your favorite book? It’s so hard to pick one – but I love Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.
What’s on your bucket list? To hike Mt. Katahdin – I’m from Maine but have never done it!
What is your role at UWGP? In my role as Director, Volunteer Engagement, I help ensure there are a variety of opportunities for people to volunteer to reach our community's goals no matter how much time they have to give. Often this is through helping organizations identify opportunities for team projects, but also through days of service, internal opportunities and developing projects in collaboration with our many community partners. Every day is different which keeps the job exciting.
What’s your favorite work moment so far? We do a lot of work with our education partners. One of my favorite things is to start the day in an elementary school classroom. There is so much energy. Teachers at that age group are amazing. I love seeing the students when something clicks and they are able to identify a new letter or read the sentence that has been a struggle for them. Their minds are always soaking in information and they're full of questions.
How do you take your coffee or tea? Coffee. Strong. Black (no sugar).
What’s your favorite book? There's no way I can answer this with just one title.
What’s on your bucket list? This is such a long list…travel mostly, Galapagos, Alaska and Delaware are at the top…can’t explain Delaware…it’s just there.
What is your role at UWGP? As the Director of Grants and Special Initiatives, I have the opportunity to engage with foundation leaders to tell them about the amazing work that United Way of Greater Portland is doing and making possible in our community! As a naturally curious person, I ask our Community Impact team A LOT of questions about their work, what is new and exciting, how we’re making a difference and advancing the work to achieve the goals set out through Thrive2027. I then get to transform this into compelling reasons why others would want to partner with us to make this possible.
What’s your favorite work moment so far? It’s hard to decide, especially when we have both sides of the equation here – amazing coworkers and really impactful work. But, if I have to choose… I think I’d choose one of our Women United events when we had the opportunity to both hear about the work that is happening (and its successes), and got the chance to meet some of the moms who have been helped along the way.
How do you take your coffee or tea? I take my coffee (preferably flavored… hazelnut crème is my favorite for the moment) with a little sugar and oat milk.
What’s your favorite book? Such a hard question! I’ll take a turn here and say my favorite book(s) that I’m reading with my son right now are the Spirit Animal series. I love that it’s something we’re reading together, he gets really into them, and we can have a good conversation about the lessons you can learn from the characters.
What’s on your bucket list? Travel! I love traveling, experiencing new cultures – the architecture, food, customs, language … all of it! I have so many places on my list still to visit. But, I’d say bringing my kids with me is the next big thing – wherever it may be. I want them to be able to experience new and different places and people as well.
Manager, Women United – I have the unique opportunity to work with an influential group of philanthropists, volunteers, and advocates who are leading critical work that will positively influence single mothers’ ability to meet basic needs, give their kids a stronger start, and live longer, better lives. Our current geographic focus is East Bayside and our strategy is 2-Gen, a whole-family approach focusing equally and intentionally on services and opportunities for the child and the adults in their lives while strengthening social capital. “Unleashing the strength of moms so every kid thrives”.
What’s your favorite work moment so far?
Too many to choose a favorite! One that stands out for me was during a Women United membership event at University of Southern Maine. This unique and powerful event brought together Women United members, invited guests and the Moms in our Project WIN cohort. Through her “love letter to single moms” and her message about the power of “sisterhood”, Joy Thomas Moore, author of “The Power of Presence” showed us how to use the power of presence to raise happy, well-adjusted adults. More importantly, for me and I believe for many of those who attended, Joy illustrated the strength behind our 2-Gen model and the potential impact of the social connections emerging between Women United members and Moms in Project WIN.
How do you take your coffee?
Black Coffee or Herbal Tea
What’s your favorite book?
That is a hard questions to answer. For many years, my answer was “My Year of Meats”, by Ruth Ozeki. Recently I’ve enjoyed, “Becoming”, by Michelle Obama, “Before We Were Yours”, by Lisa Wingate and “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive”, by Stephanie Land.
What is your role at UWGP? As the Resource Development & Marketing Manager, I support the team in many different ways. It’s been a great way to learn more about all aspects of both fundraising and marketing
What’s your favorite work moment so far? Working with people who are so knowledgeable and passionate about our community
How do you take your coffee or tea? No coffee, just tea!
What’s your favorite book? Too many to choose from! Harry Potter will always be my go-to answer because I grew up with it, but The Kite Runner and The Art of Racing in the Rain are more recent favorites.
What’s on your bucket list? To visit every state and every continent
What’s your favorite work moment so far? I really enjoyed working with the Loaned Executives, especially since I had been one. They are impressive people in their own right, and I enjoy seeing their rapid growth and how they come together as a team during a chaotic time to accomplish ambitious goals
How do you take your coffee or tea? Cold brewed and espresso drinks, preferably
What’s your favorite book? I tend to read non-fiction, and A History of the World in 6 Glasses was a great read
What’s on your bucket list? There is so much to see. To keep my list short, I’ll say sailing through the Greek Isles and seeing the northern lights.
Ken Holmes, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing and Communications
What is your role at UWGP? I mostly oversee our large scale communications—from mass emails and social media to direct mail and brochures. I'm actually in charge of this website.
What’s your favorite work moment so far? I really love to volunteer with the community partners that we support. It seems like every single volunteer opportunity is suddenly my new favorite work moment.
How do you take your coffee or tea? Black with two ice cubes
What’s your favorite book? I really like "The Undercover Economist" by Tim Harford
What’s on your bucket list? Step foot on every continent
What is your role at UWGP? Director of Data Management
What’s your favorite work moment so far? My favorite work moment so far has been seeing the people of Portland raise their hands to help the asylum seekers living at the Expo. In a climate where immigrants aren’t sure where to turn for safety and kindness, Portland opened its doors.
How do you take your coffee or tea?Summer: Cold brew with coconut milk Winter: Dirty chai latte
How do you take your coffee? It varies depending on my mood but I find myself often revisiting Les Miserables. Bonus fun fact: My orange tabby cat Hugo is named after Victor Hugo
What’s on your bucket list? I have always, always wanted to visit the Galapagos!
What is your role at UWGP? Director of Human Resources.
What’s your favorite work moment so far? My welcome breakfast! What a lovely way to be brought into the organization (bonus: I’m highly food motivated
How do you take your coffee? Cream and sugar
What’s your favorite book? The Scribe of Siena by a friend’s cousin, Melodie Winawer. It has been described as Outlander set in Italy (which is a favorite series). I love it for the incredible descriptions of Siena and surrounding areas in medieval times, as well as the historical mystery adventure theme.
What’s on your bucket list? I have many life dreams. The top three include travelling to all 195 countries (I’m at 21 currently), return to New Zealand to repel down 100 meters into a cave again, and obtain my private pilot’s license.
What is your role at UWGP? While my title is Executive Assistant to Liz Cotter Schlax, I also coordinate the meeting schedules for the Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Finance Committee and the Board Development and Governance Committee. We have an amazing group of dedicated volunteers who serve on our Board and committees, and it's a pleasure to work with them.
What’s your favorite work moment so far? My favorite work moment was when the Thrive2027 goals were adopted.
How do you take your coffee or tea? With milk
What’s your favorite book? It's impossible for me to pick just one!