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United Way organizations merge

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United Way Virginia Highlands and United Way of Southwest Virginia have merged.

The combined organization, announced Wednesday in Gate City, will operate as the United Way of Southwest Virginia.

The merger took effect on July 31.

The regional service area now will include Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Grayson, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington and Wise counties, as well as the cities of Galax and Norton.

Travis Staton, president and CEO of the former United Way Virginia Highlands, is president and CEO of the merged organization.

"This merger is about amplifying United Way's mission," Staton said in a statement. "By coming together and sharing our talents and resources, we will be able to have a greater impact on those who need us most in our communities."

The territory served by the merged organization covers 5,000 square miles and includes a population of more than 330,000 people.

The merger was led by a team comprised of staff and board members of each United Way organization, who spent months working out details.

“We know that by combining resources, expertise, and experience, United Way of Southwest Virginia will be a stronger organization better equipped to address the needs of our communities throughout the region," said Alan Jones, Jr., the board chairman of United Way of Southwest Virginia, who is Alpha Natural Resources’ senior vice president and controller.

"The combined organization's increased scale will enhance our ability to advocate for Southwest Virginia on issues facing the region as well as to attract new sources of funding from donors interested in wider geographic programs that serve more people and influence greater social change,"  he said


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