With her 20th anniversary as the Executive Director of the United Way of Chittenden County (UWCC) just six months away, Gretchen Morse today announced that she plans to retire by the end of June 2011. In a letter to the Board of Directors of United Way, she said, ‘It is with a strong sense of humility and gratitude that I announce my retirement from the United Way of Chittenden County. I am fortunate to work with an amazing board and staff who are faithful stewards of United Way’s mission. There is an exceptional network of member agencies and community partners, as well as thousands of volunteers who exemplify the true meaning of service to community. I am, therefore, confident in a bright future for United Way and know that this is the time for me to move on with other aspects of my life.’According to Don Rendall from Green Mountain Power, the current Board President of UWCC, ‘Gretchen has been a transformational leader of the United Way. For twenty years she has worked tirelessly, and with extraordinary success, to spearhead innovative partnerships with the public, private and nonprofit sectors to improve the lives of the people who live in our community.’ He went on to say that Morse has truly been a change agent with a vision that has led the organization well beyond its critical fundraising role to a new place as a leader in finding solutions to community problems. According to Rendall, a search committee for a new Executive Director is currently being formed by the Board of Directors and the process will begin shortly.Among the many accomplishments of United Way of Chittenden County during her twenty years, in addition to raising a total of over $70 million during the annual Community Campaigns were:leading the transformation of UWCC to a community impact investment model in which results-based funding decisions are determined by a set of target outcomes which have been identified through a comprehensive community engagement process;joining community partners to launch the Champlain Initiative, a healthy community initiative for Chittenden County;steering the Burlington Street Outreach Project, a multi-sector partnership to work with individuals with social service needs in Burlington’s city center;launching the Chittenden County Truancy Project, a collaboration of schools, local nonprofit service providers, government agencies, law enforcement officials, and the courts to improve the graduation rate of high school students and to reduce truancy;creating the UWCC Volunteer Center by merging the Foster Grandparent, RSVP and Volunteer Connection programs under one umbrella, which annually mobilizes and places over 2,000 volunteers in local nonprofits to do work they otherwise could not accomplish;merging two call centers into one statewide ‘Get Info’ center, the precursor of Vermont 2-1-1 (a program of the United Ways of Vermont) the comprehensive statewide information and referral program for all non-emergency health and human services which this past year responded to 47,000 calls from people who needed help finding help;collaborating in the Earned Income Tax Credit program and a free tax preparation initiative which returns millions of dollars each year to low-income working individuals and families;partnering with IBM to launch the annual Days of Caring which last Spring included 12 local companies and over 430 volunteers who donated nearly 2,000 hours at 32 local nonprofit agencies;pulling together all local emergency assistance providers in Chittenden County in 2008 to form a united HELP Fund in response to the national economic crisis;establishing the Working Bridges Program that links community resources with business needs for the purpose of improving employee recruitment, retention, advancement, income and productivity; andlaunching the Child Card Food Network with licensed childcare providers to help them access federal funding in order to provide free meals to hungry children.Before joining United Way, Morse was Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Human Services from 1985-1991, appointed by Governor Madeleine Kunin. During her six years in that role, she was elected Vice-Chair of the National Council of State Human Service Administrators of the American Public Welfare Association and she led the development of the Vermont Reach-Up Program, a welfare-to-work initiative that coordinates access to education, job training, child care and health care for working families.Morse was also part of the Kunin team that created Dr. Dynasaur, the Vermont version of the federal Medicaid children’s health care program. This unique approach has become a national best practice for covering all children in low income families.Prior to that she was a Vermont State Representative from 1977-1985 and chaired the House Education Committee and the House Health and Welfare Committee during her eight year tenure. Throughout her career Morse has received numerous community services awards: the Susan B. Anthony Award from the YWCA; the Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. Award; the Thibodeau/Wall Award for Community Service from HowardCenter; the Champlain College Distinguished Citizen Award; and the 2008 C. Harry Behney Lifetime Economic Achievement Award from the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation. Morse received the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Vermont’s College of Education and Social Services for her service to the people of Vermont; and she was honored by UVM’s Masters of Public Administration program as an honorary member of Pi Alpha Alpha for her public service to the State of Vermont. Morse graduated with a B. S. from UVM, and in 2009 was awarded the esteemed Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University for her years of public and community service.Morse has served on a number of state commissions and nonprofit boards. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, is an emeritus member of the Wake Robin Board of Directors, and most recently was appointed to the Board of Trustees of Fletcher Allen Health Care.