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.

Kourtni M. Hatton, SHRM-CP HR Manager

HR Manager


(614) 241-3079


Originally from the Cleveland area, Kourtni has lived, worked, and served in central Ohio since 2010, committed to engaging and learning from her Columbus community. To date, she has nearly 10 years of community service and advocacy experience.

Kourtni is the HR Manager at United Way of Central Ohio, where she leads an organizational strategic goal focused on creating a culture of continuous improvement and accountability, oversees benefits administration, and works closely with diversity and inclusion to assess and provide diversity, inclusion and equity initiatives to staff.  She also serves as a member of the organization’s Leadership Team.

Kourtni is a member of SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) and in 2018, she received her SHRM certification.  She is passionate about reinvesting in central Ohio, demonstrated through her completion of UWCO’s Project Diversity program, as a fellow of the 2020 African American Leadership Academy class and volunteerism at Community Shelter Board, and Godman Guild Association’s mentoring program. Kourtni has previously served on the Hilliard/Ray Patch YMCA Advisory Board and as the secretary of the Board of Trustees for Bridgeway Academy.

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 Ohio United Way and the Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio. In 2018 she was appointed by Columbus City Council to serve as a commissioner on the Commission on Black Girls.  Her professional leadership has included chairing on the Weinland Park Collaborative and serving on 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.

Katy Burrier Senior Vice President – Resource Development

Senior Vice President – Resource Development




Katy has spent over 20 years in business development in Columbus. In her position she is charged with inspiring giving by individuals and organizations to help reduce poverty. Katy has given generously of her time throughout her career. She has served on two boards, Columbus Speech & Hearing and Junior Achievement of Central Ohio and she has volunteered for other countless organizations like A Kid Again, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, HBA of Columbus and spent 12 years on the Marketing and Communications Committee at United Way of Central Ohio. Prior to United Way, Katy led the strategy and growth for revenue at Columbus Business First and was a top producer for a combined 18 years.

Katy has a passion to serve. She is a wife of 20 years, mother of three and was born and raised in central Ohio.

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.

Valerie Ridgeway Vice President, Community Impact

Vice President, Community Impact




Valerie is the Assistant Vice President for Community Impact Operations.  She oversees the day-to-day operations of the Community Impact Department and works cross-functionally with other departments to ensure collaboration, communication and the implementation of strategies and processes that ensure maximum success.

Valerie began her career with United Way of Central Ohio in December 2007 as the organization’s first full-time Public Policy Director.  In that role she oversaw the development and implementation of United Way’s public policy agenda and helped advance public policies that impacted early care and education, financial stability, safe and affordable housing and access to healthcare.  Her efforts helped establish United Way’s presence among statewide coalitions that advocate on behalf of health and human services.

In April 2016 Valerie was promoted to Assistant Vice President for Public Policy & Government Relations where she worked to ensure the integration of public policy advocacy throughout United Way’s work.  In September 2017 Valerie transitioned to her current role of Assistant Vice President for Community Impact Operations.

Valerie is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Columbus and a 2018 graduate of the African American Leadership Academy (Favored 14).  Valerie graduated from Miami University with a degree in Communications.  Prior to relocating to Columbus, Valerie served as the Public Policy Coordinator for Hospice of the Western Reserve in Cleveland.  She also managed the public policy activities of the Cleveland Area Alzheimer’s Association and the Ohio Council of the Alzheimer’s Association. Valerie enjoys gardening, music, theatre arts, swimming, pouring into the lives of others and spending time with family and friends.

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