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Leadership Change at United Way Danville Pittsylvania County

Danville, Virginia. (July 20, 2018) - United Way of Danville-Pittsylvania County Board of Directors announced today a change in leadership.  Philip Haley, President & CEO, has resigned from the organization effective July 20, 2018, to pursue another opportunity.  The Board is very appreciative of Philip’s service over the past four years and wish him well in his future endeavors.

Jennifer Smith has been appointed Interim President & CEO where she will work with the Board and Staff to continue the United Way’s work in our community. Jennifer has a wealth of experience working directly with many nonprofits in the community and brings strong leadership and knowledge. 

“Philip will be missed dearly and we thank him for his dedication to our community,” said Donna Higdon, United Way Board president. “Jennifer Smith has served as an interim President & CEO previously with our organization and I am confident United Way is in good hands,” states Higdon.

“I would like to thank the community for welcoming me with open arms four years ago,” said Haley. “I will always be an advocate for United Way and look forward to continuing to support their mission in my new role.” 

Thanks to the generosity of the Danville-Pittsylvania County community, United Way provided funding for 17 partner agencies and continues its effort to support the work of so many outstanding organizations focused on improving learning experiences for children, providing quality healthcare solutions for families, and giving a helping hand to families facing financial hardship.

During the past fiscal year, staff and the Board of Directors began an extensive strategic planning process that will continue into 2018. This process will allow the organization to adjust to the changing needs of our community. This work will make United Way a stronger organization in the years to come and allow United Way to have a greater impact on the lives of those at-risk in our community. 

A search is currently being conducted to look for candidates to fill this vital leadership role at United Way. Interested candidates should send resumes and inquires to The board has also established an email for the community to communicate directly with leadership. Please send any questions or requests to    

United Way News Articles
By: Peter Mason Star Tribune Staff Writer

With Averett football kicking off its regular season, the United Way decided to kickoff its upcoming campaign at Averett in the President's suite at Frank R. Campbell stadium on Thursday.  The United Way served food to everybody with catering provided by the Danville Golf Club and Mary's Diner.  Guests at the event also heard from former NFL player and current teacher at Bonner Middle School in Danville, Donald Smith.

"This is a way of inviting the community in and allowing them to see what we do," United Way member and event planner Vicki Robertson said.  "We announce our campaign goal and how much we've raised so far so the community can get behind what we are doing."

The United Way campaign goal for this year is approximately $700,000 and United Way Presdient and CEO, Philip Haley, announced at the event that so far, approximately $80,000 has been raised.  This money is money that the United Way will give to its partners to help their causes.

In order to receive funds from the United Way, an organization must be working in the areas of health, education or income.

"We couldn't do it without the community," Robertson said.  "That's extremely important.  One of the reasons why I wanted to have it here at the Averett campus is because we want the community to understand teamwork."

The campaign kickoff was held during an Averett football practice.  Robertson planned it this way so everyone could see the players on the field practicing and working together.

"United Way has had a tremendous impact on our community and they have for many years," Danville Mayor John Gilstrap said.  "They continue to do good in our community in helping organizations that help our citizens so I am a strong supporter of the United Way."

Some organizations that the United Way is currently working with include the Health Collaborative, the Dan River Nonprofit Network and the Engage Coalition with Averett.

"We're trying to create things in the community for people to get more healthy active lifestyles," United Way Community Impact and Operations Director, Traci Petty, said.  "A person's income really matters as far as health.  People who make more money live 16 to 17 years longer."

In his speech, Smith talked about how he grew up to be a successful athlete, stating that he wouldn't be where he is today if it wasn't for the people who cared about him when he was a child.  He said although his wife didn't agree at the time, he wanted to come back to Danville, stating that he wanted to give back to the community that raised him.

Smith is a graduate of George Washington High School.  He played college ball at Liberty and spent his NFL career with the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys in the 1990's.

"I was told I wasn't going to go anywhere," Smith said.  "I didn't believe what people said because somebody showed me a vision and I believed I could be more."  Smith talked about the importance of educating children so that they could grow up to be successful and stay on the right path throughout their lives before closing his speech.

"The more we keep them engaged, the farther they're going to go, and they're going to stay out of trouble," Haley said.  "That's what we're fighting for and I thank Donald for his words."
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Averett University Bonner Leaders will be with us August 13th
2018 Kickoff Announcement Coming Soon!

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