Sarnia-Lambton United Way Executive Director Dave Brown. Blackburn Media photo by Stephanie Chaves. Sarnia-Lambton United Way Executive Director Dave Brown. Blackburn Media photo by Stephanie Chaves.

Dave Brown set to retire after 40 years with United Way

The longest serving active United Way staff member in all of Canada is retiring next year after 40 years with the agency.

Dave Brown, who is Executive Director of the Sarnia-Lambton chapter, will be moving on to the next stage of his life as of July 2025.

This July, Brown will reduce his hours to three days a week, as both a cost saving measure, and to transition Pamela Bodkin into the role.

Brown said a lot has changed since he graduated Lambton College and began his career with United Way of Sarnia-Lambton back in 1985.

"I remember getting our very first computer with United Way, the Trillium Foundation paid for it and we all kind of took turns using it," said Brown. "Lambton College, back in the day, was kind enough to let us use their computer labs in 1985-86 to get us started. Technology and the whole media landscape has changed dramatically."

Brown said he can't thank the community enough for all of its generosity.

"I'm so grateful to the community overall for what they've done for me personally and for the United Way," said Brown. "Everybody has welcomed me since I first graduated from Lambton College. I've enjoyed working with the many staff and all of the volunteers and donors over the years. I've learned so much from all of them and certainly my life is blessed because of the impacts that all of them have had on my life. I really do feel blessed to have had a great career with a great organization in a great community."

Meanwhile, Bodkin began her career with the United Way of Sarnia-Lambton in 1991 and has filled many roles at the United Way, starting as a bookkeeper and, more recently, as Community Investment and Finance Director.

She has also had various campaign and fundraising roles over the years.

Further staffing announcements are anticipated this spring, and Brown is hopeful new staff members will be able to help reach the younger generations for support.

The local United Way is already raising money ahead of the 2024 campaign, which officially begins in mid-September.

Through early donations and fundraisers, they're already sitting about $25,000 ahead of last year's pace. Last year, the agency surpassed its $1.4 million fundraising target.

In addition to the March Bagel Madness at The Bagel Factory in Sarnia, in which the Bagel Factory will donate $1 for every Dozen Bagels sold until the end of March, there are other events planned.

The annual Donut Day with Global Donuts and Deli is on Wednesday, April 24.

All proceeds from the United Way themed donut sales will be donated to the United Way. The annual Charity Takeover event with Refined Fool will take place on Thursday, May 16.

The United Way will receive donations based on food, beverage, and merchandise sales that night. It'll also be National Caesar Day, and a live band is scheduled to perform. Other events will be announced later this spring, including a renewed partnership with Black Gold Brewery in Petrolia.

More information can be found on the United Way's website.

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