Patrick Woods Steps Up as Volunteer Head of United Way
Annual Fundraising Effort
July 14, Topeka, KS—United Way of Greater Topeka has tapped former board member Patrick Woods as its 2021-22 Campaign Chair.
Leadership donors were among the first to congratulate Woods after United Way CEO Jessica Lehnherr surprised them with the announcement Wednesday at a quarterly investor gathering. “We were just able to confirm Patrick’s acceptance last week, and we thought it would be fun to give our leadership donors the first chance to connect with our incoming chair,“ Lehnherr said.
Woods takes over for John Fager from CoreFirst Bank and Trust, who served two consecutive terms and helped United Way navigate more than a year of unusual pandemic fundraising.
The campaign chair lends visibility and energy to the year-long campaign, pitching in at events like Day of Giving and the new campaign celebration, which replaces the more formal annual meeting as UWGT’s recognition event. Woods will serve alongside incoming board chair Matt All, CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, who starts his two-year term this month and succeeds Susan Duffy from the Kansas Corporation Commission.
Woods served on the UWGT board from 2014 to 2017 and said he was honored to be asked to take over as Campaign Chair at such a pivotal time. “United Way’s work has never been more important than it is today, in the wake of COVID and the inequity in our community that this pandemic revealed,“ he said. “The work ahead will be challenging, but necessary. I am honored to lead our efforts to ensure that United Way and our partner agencies have the resources to weather this crisis and continue building a strong, healthy, and equitable community for everyone.“
Lehnherr said Woods possessed a broad understanding of the community’s strengths and opportunities, which uniquely positioned him to lead the campaign. As a former Topeka Public Schools board member, he also can help United Way donors better understand the challenges surrounding UWGT’s critical education goals.
Woods is the Manager of Regulatory Strategy for ITC Great Plains, a Fortis Company, headquartered in Topeka.
In addition to his work at ITC, Woods has served in a variety of leadership roles in the private sector and in state and local government, including stints as the Director of Talent Management & Diversity at Westar Energy, Director of Advancement for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas, Education Policy Adviser and legislative liaison for Governor Kathleen Sebelius, and Director of Governmental Affairs for the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.
Wednesday’s announcement was made at Laird Noller Ford, which was hosting the quarterly leadership event at the invitation of UWGT board member Morgan Franklin.
ABOUT UNITED WAY OF GREATER TOPEKA
Until the Fight is Won.
Creating and cultivating an unbreakable network of support for a strong, healthy and equitable community.
United Way brings together people, companies and nonprofits in Shawnee, Jefferson and Jackson Counties to create positive sustainable change in education, financial stability and health. United Way remains dedicated to supporting Basic Needs, including food, rent and utilities, health and prescription access and safety from domestic violence.