Raquel Aronhime

Community Impact Manager, Education and Health


I manage the work of our volunteer Health and Education Community Impact Teams. I also lead or participate in multi-stakeholder, interagency groups that address our areas of strategic focus, like food security, child mental health, restorative justice in schools and diversity & equity issues. I am passionate about building bridges for effective communication and collaboration, and I appreciate that a lifetime of living and working in many countries allows me to bring a cross-cultural perspective into my work. Outside of United Way, I focus on my children, singing and acting (when someone gives me a stage…), photography, yoga, and noticing the beauty in each day.

Favorite quote: People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget the way you made them feel. – Maya Angelou

Favorite volunteer experience: I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Slovakia from 1991-1993, teaching English and training teachers.

Connie Beal

Working Bridges Resource Coordinator


I help employers retain their workforce by connecting employees with community resources to so they can succeed at work. The most exciting part about the position is in the partnerships that develop between United Way, local employers, and employees; the driving force behind innovative solutions to fight poverty in the workplace.  I’m a wife, mother, aunt and caretaker of a healthy flock of 28 feisty, egg-laying hens and one rooster named, Norma.

A quote that stays with me: We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit. -EE Cummings

Deborah (Debbie) Bergen

Finance & HR  Assistant


I ensure the Community Campaign funds received are applied accurately and accounted for. I also manage payroll, benefits enrollments, payments, processing disbursements, accounts receivable and various accounting tasks. I love witnessing the collaboration between United Way and various community partners to achieve the best outcomes for our community. Outside of work I am a wife, mother, sister, friend and enjoy cooking.

Favorite movie: The Notebook

Ellen Biddle

Director of RSVP & Foster Grandparents



As the Director of two vibrant volunteer programs,  I am dedicated to helping Vermonters ages 55+ find meaningful ways to use their skills, experience and passion to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors.

When I am not at work, I am an avid reader, adventurous home cook, suburban gardener and voracious traveler but am happiest when spending time with my opinionated almost-thirteen year old daughter exploring the wilds of Vermont.

Words to live by:  You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.
-- CS Lewis


Chief Executive Officer


I truly believe that leadership can play an important role in solving many of our communities most pressing issues, but as I look forward with excitement about the opportunities before us, I look to our staff, our volunteers/donors, and our community.  Leadership is about opening the doors to success and allowing others to walk through. My job is to foster a supportive and constructive environment that embraces equity through inclusive decision making and mindful daily actions.  My belief that is that strong collaboration and building social capital in our communities can make a real difference in the quality of life for us all.  I enjoy connecting donors, partners, volunteers, and staff with our exceptional work.  We make community better together.

Outside of work I stay active running and snowboarding with my main hobby being a love for the kitchen that I share with my two young daughters.  My family moto is “what are we going to eat and when are we going to eat it.”  


Community Impact and Volunteer
Mobilization  Assistant


I help make it possible for the volunteers of our Senior Corp programs to serve in the community and enrich their own lives in the process. I am passionate about people helping each other to make our community a great place to live.

Diana Carminati

Community Impact Manager


I am a seeker and I learn by listening and asking questions. My purpose is to bring diverse groups of people together to solve complex problems that impact the health and well-being of our community. I am continually inspired by the beauty of Vermont and the active engagement and compassion of her residents. Outside of work I spend time with friends and family. I am a country and bluegrass fan and enjoy singing and playing guitar at get togethers. I love being outside and spend as much time as I can on the lake, walking my dog, playing golf and working in our garden and yard.

Favorite quote: Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is the lightning that does the work.  –Mark Twain

Amy Carmola

Director of Community Impact


I bring together United Way staff, volunteers, partners, and community members to invest resources and engage in collaborative strategies that help solve community problems and address priorities in the areas of Education, Income, and Health. I am inspired by the power of shared optimism in driving action to address problems and improve lives. Outside of United Way, I’m a mother, wife, daughter, neighbor, and dedicated Vermonter.

A quote that keeps me going: “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” –Dalai Lama




Having worked as a Student Support Counselor in Franklin County for the last two-and-a-half years, I have witnessed some of the strengths and challenges  in the community. Growing up in rural Vermont I have experienced some of these strengths and  challenges first hand.   As a new member of the Northwest Vermont United Way, I’m excited to offer my skills and experience to the ongoing efforts in Grand Isle and Franklin County communities.  I look forward to working with you all to learn more about the problems we face and come together to make a difference.

John Cronin

Director of Resource Development


My real work is connecting people in the community to causes that are important to them, and to work hard to make sure they feel joyful about their gift. I love watching our volunteer Impact Teams and Community Investment Committee do their thing. They are why I come to work each day – they inspire me and allow me to have complete confidence that our family’s gift is translated into real solutions. They make me feel secure that as gaps in service or new needs emerge, they will be there to identify them. Outside of work I am a husband, father, musician, artist, cook, and dishwasher. Also a leaf catcher and cloud reader.

Favorite movie: The Princess Bride

First volunteer experience: I was a prep cook in a convent for many years (Sister Alvarez, you should see how quickly I can peel a potato now! I think you would be proud.)

Cindy Elcan

Director of Administration and operations


It’s important that our United Way team be successful and happy at work, and I help facilitate that by making sure our workplace resources and culture support our greatest asset, our people. Outside of work, I’m a wife, mother, advocate for human kindness and equity, and a life-long musical learner. A quote that stays with me: I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
Favorite volunteer experience: Special Olympics

 Ruthann Hackett

Manager of Individual Gifts


Who could ask for a better job!? I meet new people and foster relationships by sharing how United Way works collaboratively to make a positive change in people’s lives. My work at United Way began over 10 years ago as a United Way volunteer and it has lead to a very rewarding career. Outside of work my favorite pastime is cooking and baking– there is no better place to be but in the kitchen with family and friends. I’m a wife, mother of two beautiful grown daughters and enjoy any time I can get enjoying the lake!

Favorite quote: It’s amazing what you can accomplish as long as you don’t care who gets the credit. –H.S. Truman

Leah morrison

Community Campaign Associate


Leah Jamison is a Community Campaign Associate whose primary work is to support local companies with their United Way campaigns. Leah is passionate about helping others and enjoys her position at United Way of Northwest Vermont because she knows it’s impacting the local community in so many ways. She started off in a sales position where she quickly rose through the ranks and was promoted to District Manager within 2 years. After deciding that she ultimately wanted to work in the nonprofit sector, she worked in the foster care system before moving to Vermont to marry her best friend.  Leah started out as a Loaned Executive with United Way and is happy to work full time on staff. She also oversees events and the Emerging Leaders Group.

Lisa Jensen

Working Bridges Resource Coordinator


As a shared on-site resource coordinator I help employees and supervisors connect with community resources and resolve work barriers and disruptions. I'm passionate about building relationships to create positive change for people, within workplaces and in our community. Outside of work, I am a mom, wife, sister, daughter, and friend.

First Volunteer Activity: Big Sister

Cari Kelley

Community Campaign Manager


My job, as Community Campaign Manager, is to work with businesses that want to engage with United Way of Northwest Vermont, in developing successful workplace campaigns.  The most important part of this work, and what I find most exciting, is connecting businesses and their employees to critical community issues that are important to them and watching them take part in making real change happen.  I am in awe everyday when I see the generosity of our business community and their employees.  We truly live in a special place!

I am a mother of a blended family of five and Greg and I both instill in our children to follow the golden rule…treat others as you would want to be treated.  It’s the secret to a balanced life.

Sandy Menard

Administrative Assistant

I provide clerical support to assist co-workers in achieving United Way’s mission of “building a stronger Community to improve people’s lives”.  At home, I am a housewife, gardener and tatter. My favorite is Roots as well as TV from the 60s and 70s. If I were an animal I would be an indoor cat considering the love and care we give ours.

Mary Pelkey

Foster Grandparent Program Coordinator


I connect volunteers with with children who need caring adults. I form strong partnerships with community leaders, schools, daycares and programs to prepare our children for tomorrow. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my children, grandchildren  and friends as well as supporting my community in various ways. I especially love going on cruise vacations with my husband!

One of my favorite quotes: There are hundreds of languages in the world…however, a smile speaks all of them!

Buddha Rai



My work is to provide regular support to the staff to accomplish our organization’s goals. I am passionate about helping other people and want to make a difference in people’s lives. Outside of work, I like to spend time with family and friends. I enjoy playing soccer, volleyball and table tennis. I also enjoy playing a musical instrument such as a guitar and a drum. I truly believe that, “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” Quoted by George Washington Carver. 



Leah C. Soderquist

I collaborate with a dedicated group of volunteers and community partners to provide transportation solutions for seniors and adults with disabilities. We strive to increase mobility and community engagement as an essential element of health and well-being. It is my passion for community planning and systems design that inspired me to join United Way. Outside of work, I enjoy spending my time adventuring outdoors. During the summer months, I dedicate myself to seeking out the best swimming holes and creemee stands around the state. I also enjoy spending time in the kitchen with friends and family testing out my latest batch of fermented foods.





I focus on building positive relationships with organizations and individuals in Northwest Vermont to recruit volunteers 55 and up for our RSVP and Foster Grandparents programs. I believe very strongly in the importance of volunteering, and being aware and a part of what’s going on in the community you live in. My passion for nonprofits is what originally got me interested in United Way. I volunteer with the Travis Roy Foundation, where I dedicate quite a bit of time outside of work. I spend my summers relaxing at my partners’ camp or rollerblading on the bike path, and my winters playing pond hockey wherever I can find ice!







We have special volunteer opportunities for adults aged 55 and over. Let us help you share your time and experience with your community.

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