Strategic Consolidation Increases Community Impact in the Region

United Way of Washington County and United Way in Carter County announced today that they have merged the two organizations to create the United Way of East TN Highlands. This merger will allow United Way to serve over 200,000 residents in Washington, Carter, Johnson & Southern Sullivan Counties.

“This decision enables United Way to raise additional resources and help more people across Washington, Carter, Johnson and Southern Sullivan counties,” said Kristan Spear, who is currently President & CEO of Washington County and will remain president of the merged United Way. “The change also allows United Way to maximize our customer service and increase our operational efficiency, ultimately resulting in additional dollars available for funding programs that improve lives and strengthen our region.”

Spear said the decision to merge was driven by both counties and follows more than a year of discussions between the boards of directors from both United Ways.

“The new United Way in East TN Highlands offers a richer donor experience for all of our corporate partners, especially those with offices in both counties,” Spear said. “Previously, partners such as Ballad Healthcare, Citi, Bank of Tennessee and many other companies interacted separately with both United Ways. By becoming one, we now offer a seamless experience for those donors.”

With the new names comes a new model. The United Way of East TN Highlands will open funding to all nonprofits operating within the covered counties. However, the United Way will have the same goals, to end poverty in our region by breaking the cycle of poverty, by UNITING people and resources to strengthen the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community. Applications must have a mission around health, education, and financial stability.

Andrew McKeehan, a board member of the former United Way in Carter County and President of Carter County Bank, said the new partnership will be good for the community. “Carter County Bank / Bank of Tennessee, with a region footprint, is a major supporter of United Way. This combined entity will bring new energy that will be beneficial to the entire region.”

Donna Depew, United Way of Washington County board chair added: “By combining resources, professional expertise, and experience, United Way of Washington County and Carter County will be a stronger organization better equipped to address the needs of our local communities.”   Suzanne McCormick, U.S. President, United Way Worldwide, said the merger aligns with the network’s direction. “The natural progression of our work should have us all asking what can we do better together, to be even more effective and put more resources into our communities,” said McCormick. “The decision by United Way of Washington County and United Way in Carter County to merge their operations will allow more powerful responses to pressing community issues in this multi-county area.”

The vision for the new entity is to improve people’s lives and strengthen communities by ensuring all Carter, Johnson Washington and Southern Sullivan County residents have access to the basic building blocks of a good life: a quality education that leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family through retirement, and good health.

“The challenges facing our communities do not recognize city boundaries or county lines,” said Donna Depew, board chair of United Way of Washington County. “This larger United Way will be able to partner with local and regional organizations and attract new funding from individual and corporate donors who are more interested in wider geographic programs that serve a greater number of people, influence social change and solve more problems.”

Young emphasized that money raised in the community will stay in the community. “We are looking forward to implementing agency-wide best practices in programs, fundraising, and administration with a new focus on providing community impact across geographic borders.”

Crystal Carter, executive director of the former United Way in Carter County, will oversee the larger organization’s programs and volunteer efforts, as the Director of Community Impact. “Volunteers and programs that make progress are the heart of United Way and will continue to play an essential role in this exciting new entity,” said Carter. “Volunteers can remain involved in the causes they love, but now also have the opportunity to make a greater impact throughout the four-county footprint.”

“Together, we can do more than any of us can alone to help strengthen children, families and communities,” said Spear.

About United Way of East TN Highlands
Serving Washington, Carter, Johnson and Southern Sullivan Counties, our goal is to break the cycle of poverty by uniting people and resources to strengthen the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community. Our vision is to be a community united to empower every person and organization to reach their full potential and achieve mor. For more information about United Way of East TN Highlands, please visit


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