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United Way of Greater Niagara leader is leaving

WHEATFIELD – Carol G. Houwaart-Diez, who has worked at the United Way of Greater Niagara for 29 years, the last 12 as president, announced Thursday that she is leaving June 30.

Houwaart-Diez said she has been hired as CEO of the United Way of Martin County, Fla., where she starts work July 18.

Twenty-nine years “is a long time to be in one place,” said Houwaart-Diez, 51. She said the move to Stuart, Fla. “is the best thing for my family. It’s a great opportunity.”

She also confessed that it pays more than her current job. “And it’s sunny,” she said.

Martin County is smaller than Niagara County by about 60,000 people, although its United Way raised close to $2 million last year. The United Way of Greater Niagara has reduced its goal twice is the last three years, to $1.2 million last year.

The major event of Houwaart-Diez’s years as United Way president was the consolidation of the old United Way of Niagara with the Eastern Niagara United Way.

“I promised when we consolidated in 2010 that I’d give it five years and then I’d do something else,” Houwaart-Diez said. “It’s been six years.”

Houwaart-Diez said the United Way board, executive committee and personnel committee will meet next week to begin to map out plans for selecting a successor.

This week, Houwaart-Diez announced that the United Way of Greater Niagara is seeking applications from nonprofit organizations that want to be considered for funding from 2017-19. The deadline is June 7.

Houwaart-Diez started a program of three-year funding commitments for United Way partner agencies in 2014, paid from undesignated contributions to the fund drive.

Agencies dealing with education, income and health are favored.

The United Way of Greater Niagara supports 44 programs across the county which assist about 50,000 people.