United Way of Erie County announces Julie Chacona as Director of Major Gifts

Local News

United Way of Erie County has announced the hiring of Julie Chacona as Director of Major Gifts.

She is an Erie native and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism with a double minor in Fine Arts and Economics from Boston College and holds fundraising certificates from Indiana University Lilly School of Fundraising.

Director of Major Gifts is a new position supported by the Board of Directors.

“We are extremely pleased to have Julie join our United Way team. She has outstanding experience and knowledge in the fundraising field and is well respected. And, her commitment to improving our community makes her a perfect fit for United Way’s team,” said Laurie Root, United Way senior vice president.

With United Way’s shift to the community impact vs. the outdated United Way transactional model, United Way says the timing is perfect to bring someone of Julie’s caliber onboard to increase and deepen the community’s support of the work United Way is leading to break the cycle of poverty in our community.

Prior to joining United Way, she was the Director of Development at Edinboro University where she started and championed the Edinboro University Women’s Philanthropy County which provides scholarships, research and study abroad grants for students. She also co-managed the Athena Connections Emerging Leaders Program that teaches students the eight principles of leadership. Retention rates for students participating in this program is 100 percent.

In addition, Julie wrote and received more than $250,000 corporate and foundation grants for projects that were mission-driven and that aligned with the strategic initiatives of the University. She also managed and led all the major fundraising events of the University including the annual Frank G. Pogue scholarship luncheon, the Porreco College Gala in the Orchard as well as the past three Presidential Inaugurations. One of her first projects at Edinboro was to lead the capital campaign project for the William P. Alexander Music Building securing more than $2.5 million in gifts.

Prior to joining Edinboro, Julie served for 19 years at Saint Vincent Health Center as the Team Leader of the Saint Vincent Health Center Foundation and also as writer/editor and product line manager in the public relations and marketing department. Julie has served on many community boards including the Erie Philharmonic, the Erie Art Museum, Erie Arts and Culture, The Ophelia Project, The Junior League of Erie, and the Erie Advertising Club.

She is currently a member of the Erie Women’s Fund of The Erie Community Foundation and the “Seeds of Hope” Magee Women’s Research Institute advisory committee. In 2019, Julie was a Mercy Center for Women, Women Making History Honoree.

Julie believes strongly in the message of Thurgood Marshall, “None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody – a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns – bent down and helped us pick up our boots.”

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