Our Mission

Improve the lives of others by mobilizing the caring power of our community.

Our Vision

Build a community in which everyone has the aspirations, resources and opportunities to reach their fullest potential.

We are your neighbors, co-workers and friends. We are a collaboration of donors, volunteers, organizations and experts—UNITED around the shared sense of purpose to reduce poverty in our community. Founded in 1923, United Way of Central Ohio is one of the largest United Ways in the country. We bring together more than 80,000 donors, advocates and volunteers, because when we speak and act together, we have the power to do more and our impact multiplies.

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United Way of Central Ohio is a
volunteer-driven organization

Concerned and compassionate citizens created United Way of Central Ohio to help people in need and make our community a better place for everyone.

Today, we are mobilizing the caring power of thousands of individuals and central Ohio employers to advance the common good.  Together, we are working to create opportunities for a better life for all.  We are joining hands, opening our hearts, lending our muscle and finding our collective voice.

Lisa Courtice, Ph.D. President and CEO

President and CEO




Lisa S. Courtice is president and CEO of United Way of Central Ohio, one of the largest United Way organizations in the country. Under her leadership, United Way is helping to mobilize the central Ohio community to reduce poverty.

Dr. Courtice is a Ph.D. psychologist with over twenty-five years of experience working in nonprofit leadership having served for over ten years as the CEO, Co-CEO and clinical director of agencies directly providing services to those living in poverty in Ohio. For the last thirteen years she has served as executive vice president and leader of community research and grants management of The Columbus Foundation, the seventh largest community foundation in the country.

Lisa currently serves on the Prevent Family Homeless Collaborative. Her professional activities have included the Home and Health impact councils of United Way of Central Ohio, Weinland Park Collaborative, Psychiatric Crisis & Emergency System Task Force of Central Ohio, Champion of Children Advisory Committee, and the Ohio Wesleyan University and Columbus School for Girls Board of Trustees. Lisa received her Bachelor of Arts from Syracuse University, her Master of Arts from West Virginia University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Akron.

Cheryl Nelson Sr. Vice President of Finance & CFO

Sr. Vice President of Finance & CFO




Cheryl Nelson is Senior Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer for the United Way of Central Ohio. In her role, Cheryl is committed to ensuring the organization maintains adherence to strict accountability and transparency standards to maintain financial integrity and donor trust.

Cheryl has been a CPA (currently inactive) since 1987 and has over 25 years of experience in public accounting, healthcare finance and non-profit financial and operational management. Prior to joining the United Way in May 2001, Cheryl was the CFO of the Jewish Community Center (a United Way member agency) for four years. Cheryl’s first United Way experience was working as a Loaned Executive during the 1987 campaign.

Cheryl currently serves as an alumni member and past chair of the United Way Worldwide Financial Issues Committee. She is also a member of the Operations Council for UPIC Solutions, a national administrative services cooperative managed by local United Ways. Cheryl’s other volunteer work includes serving as a mentor in the United Way Women’s Leadership E3 program and a site coordinator for the TaxTime free tax preparation service.

Angel Harris Sr. Vice President, Resource Development & Chief Development Officer

Sr. Vice President, Resource Development & Chief Development Officer

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Angel Harris is the Senior Vice President of Resource Development and Chief Development Officer at the United Way of Central Ohio. She leads the team responsible for building relationships with philanthropists at all giving levels in our community to both reduce poverty and to create a more vibrant central Ohio community for every resident. Angel has been with United Way for 14 years.

Her honors and awards include proclamations for outstanding community service, several outstanding achievement awards, Executive Elements woman of the Week, recognition in Who’s Who in Black Columbus publications in 2005 through 2015. Angel is an honoree in the 2014 Class of Business First’s Forty Under 40.

Angel serves and has served in a variety community related positions including Chair of the Board of Directors for Columbus Area Integrated Health Services, a trustee for the Livingston Avenue Collaborative for Community Development, a first connection volunteer for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, recreation and parks girls basketball coach, tax preparer for the Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition, a mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters school based mentoring program and coach in the Franklin University Undergraduate coaching program. She is the President of the Greater Ebenezer Cathedral of Praise Women’s Auxiliary and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professional’s public policy committee. She is a graduate of Leadership Columbus and Project Diversity.

A founding member of the United Way Women’s Leadership Council, Angel is also a member of the Key Club, Young Leadership Group and the Alexis de Tocqueville Society. She serves as the African American Convener for the United Way Worldwide (UWW) Inclusion Council and is a graduate of the UWW Executive Resource Development Institute. She is an instructor, coach and mentor for new development professionals who enter the global UW system. She and her husband have a blended family with 7 children.

Michael Wilkos SVP of Community Impact

SVP of Community Impact




Michael Wilkos is Senior Vice President of Community Impact.  His team develops effective strategies to improve our community and invests in programs provided by funded partners to implement these strategies.

Prior to joining United Way, Michael was Director of Community Research at The Columbus Foundation. During his tenure at the foundation he initiated, led, and managed more than $9 million in competitive grant-making to support holistic community revitalization in Weinland Park, an effort to stabilize and revitalize a mixed-income community near The Ohio State University. Prior to joining the foundation, Michael served as Senior Impact Director and Director of Neighborhood Development at United Way of Central Ohio.  In that position he managed program allocations supporting neighborhood development strategies. Among many other duties, he also directed volunteer involvement in developing and implementing strategies supporting housing and community safety programs.

Kermit Whitfield Senior Assistant Vice President - Communications

Senior Assistant Vice President - Communications




Kermit is responsible for developing and implementing communications strategies that educate people on United Way’s mission of fighting poverty.  Kermit began his career in communications at Honda Motor Company in Tokyo, Japan and later worked at Honda of America Mfg. and as a magazine editor.  During his tenure at United Way the organization has greatly expanded its strategic communications and earned media efforts.

Kermit is a member of the 2009 class of Leadership Columbus.  He is a member of the Columbus Metropolitan Club board of trustees and past chair of its program committee.  He also serves as vice chair of the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District board and chairs its marketing committee.  He is also vice president of the board of Yay Bikes! the premier bicycle transportation advocacy organization in central Ohio and serves on the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s insight2050 communications committee.  He was a judge for the Business First Columbus Corporate Caring Awards from 2011 to 2017.

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