Jeff Kimball Appointed CEO of United Way of Coastal Fairfield County (UWCFC)
Kimball Leads Innovative Efforts to Help All Fairfield County Children Thrive
February 5, 2020 -- The Board of Directors of United Way of Coastal Fairfield County (UWCFC) has appointed Jeff Kimball of Westport as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. Kimball assumes the role from Merle Berke-Schlessel, who retired after 17 years at the helm.
“During this time of innovation, there is no one better to lead the UWCFC team than Jeff Kimball,” noted Samuel B. Tingley, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Directors. “Jeff is a proven leader in growing non-profits, and his work building programs in the public and private sectors translates well as we look to scale the impact of our innovative work.”
Kimball has a track record of growth and is known for his innovative and creative approaches to making nonprofits more effective. Previously, he significantly expanded revenue, donors, and programs at three Fairfield County nonprofits: Experience Camps for Grieving Children, Circle of Care for Families of Children with Cancer, and Greens Farms Academy. He exceeded development goals year over year, and in one case, raised more during his tenure than in the previous 85 years combined.
Kimball is eager to increase funding for and grow the impact of United Way initiatives, especially the cradle to career work being incubated through Bridgeport Prospers. “We are laying a foundation for children’s success by designing and building opportunities for families, neighborhoods and communities to be healthy, stable and successful. That’s why we’re focused on transparently and honestly addressing the underlying causes and working collaboratively with partner organizations to make change on the program, system, and policy levels,” noted Kimball.
Such broad scale change is a challenge, but Kimball brings a wealth of experience in branding, communications, and public policy to the task. He served as Deputy Press Secretary and later Campaign Manager for Sen. John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, where he managed strategy, fundraising, communications, and media relations. As Director of Public Affairs for the American Academy of Pediatrics, Kimball pushed successfully for children’s healthcare reform. And as Managing Director of the Advocom Group, he helped advance non-profits and start-ups ranging from an online educational learning platform to therapeutics for degenerative brain diseases and developmental disorders.
Kimball is drawn to the United Way because of his family’s strong roots in Fairfield County, and because of its work helping those who face difficulties reach their potential. “I now work on the same street where my grandmother started a business as a single woman in the 1940s, and where my mother started her commercial real estate business as a single woman in the 1970s. I know what it’s like to struggle, as one who was raised by a single parent, as a widower, as a single parent myself, and as a family that has experienced its share of difficult times – like so many families in Fairfield County. I grew up in Trumbull, lived in Easton, Fairfield and now Westport, my brothers live in Monroe and Greenwich, and I ran a non-profit in Wilton with reach into every town in Fairfield County. So I am familiar with the pain and problems families face, and I want to do everything I can to provide relief, and to challenge and change the underlying systems so that every child has the best possible shot at realizing her potential. We are doing this, and it’s so exciting.”
In his spare time, Jeff is a single parent to two daughters, a painter, screenplay writer, and book author. His Power of Conviction is a biography of James Tillman, who spent 18 years in prison after a wrongful conviction.
“Jeff Kimball has the unanimous support of our board,” commented Tingley, Board of Directors chair. “His selection came after a national search and a thoughtful approach that our partners, employees, and initiatives deserve. We look forward to his leadership.”
United Way of Coastal Fairfield County’s mission is “Together, we mobilize our communities to improve people’s lives.” Our vision is that all children in coastal Fairfield County are successful in school and prepared for success in life. UWCFC serves the towns of Bridgeport, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton. Find out more at: http://www.unitedwaycfc.org .
Bridgeport Prospers’ mission is to work collectively as a community of stakeholders to have a positive, measurable, and sustainable impact on outcomes for all children and families, from cradle to career. We focus on a set of seven outcomes, from kindergarten readiness through high school graduation and career readiness. Bridgeport Prospers is a member of StriveTogether, a national nonprofit network of 70 communities with a clear purpose: helping every child succeed in school and in life, cradle to career, regardless of race, zip code or circumstance. The initiative receives backbone support from United Way of Coastal Fairfield County. Find out more at: https://www.unitedwaycfc.org/bridgeportprospers