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New Executive Director for United Way for Cortland County Announced

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A new Executive Director for the United Way for Cortland County has been announced. The United Way for Cortland County’s Board of Directors have named Kristina Thelen as the new Executive Director.


In a release, the United Way for Cortland County says Thelens dedication to community, her knowledge of not-for-profits, and her passion were shown strongly during the interview process. She fills the void left by Christella Yonta, who served as Executive Director for the United Way for Cortland County until her resignation earlier this year.

“Kristina’s experience with grants and budgeting opens new possibilities in terms of fundraising
to best meet our mission in the community efficiently and effectively.”

says Board President, Evan Ramiza.

Thelen’s previous work experience included being a business owner for nearly 10 years, working for Choice Words LLC where she was a grant writing consultant and secured funding for capital, general operating, and programming for non-profit clients throughout the state.

Before working for Choice Words LLC, Thelen was the Business Development Director for the Downtown Ithaca Alliance Business Improvement District. In the role, she helped create multiple support services and regranting programs and secured state grants for a wide variety of projects.

“Cortland County is at a unique juncture in time with many new projects coming online”, Kristina says. “I am looking forward to being a strong advocate for the United Way for Cortland County and a steadfast partner shaping opportunities that affect this unique place filled with so many great people.”

Kristina is a December 2024 Master of Public Administration candidate at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in public policy. She is also set to earn her Economic Development Professional Certification (CEcD) from the International Economic Development Council this summer.

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