Finding Joy: A Message from United Way of Larimer County’s CEO

(Photo courtesy United Way of Larimer County)


I hope you are enjoying all that summer offers to our beautiful piece of the world. As United Way of Larimer County (UWLC) kicks off our new fiscal year, we’re excited to share some wonderful updates, as well as one personal piece of news from me.

This past year, UWLC distributed more than $3 million to impactful organizations and programs and as we look ahead, we are excited to be investing an additional $2.5 million (almost double with a total of $5.5 million!) in impact funding as we:

  • Partner with the Department of Local Affairs to help distribute a portion of up to $33 million across Colorado to support continued pandemic recovery for small nonprofit organizations
  • Lead fundraising efforts for Teaching Tree Early Childhood Learning Center to expand its services in Loveland as it joins Boys and Girls Club in its Loveland Youth Campus
  • Build out our Oak Street Community Impact Center in Fort Collins in partnership with eight grassroots, community-led nonprofits who will soon move into our upstairs west wing.

While it is challenging to navigate the changes that all this work brings, we are excited for the joy that comes with working so closely alongside organizations leading high-impact work and the communities they support. And we are honored to have all of you as part of this important and evolving approach to community impact.

Speaking of change and joy, I have some exciting personal news to share! For many years I’ve considered changing my name, as Deirdre means “sorrowful, broken-hearted, or sorrowful wanderer.” In addition to the sad meaning, it’s also incredibly difficult for people to pronounce and spell, despite my catchy rhymes like “pear tree,” “truth or Deirdre,” or “I before e except in Deirdre.”

Since I’m not full of sorrow or brokenhearted, I’ve decided to officially change my name to reflect who I am and what I want to exude—the exact opposite of sorrow: JOY. A first name change takes practice, both for me and for others who’ve known me as Deirdre and rehearsed those rhymes over and over—I’m guessing I’ll be “Deir..Joy” for a while as people adapt.

I love that the name Joy and the process of change are so deeply connected to our work here at UWLC. We are becoming laser focused on how we can create joy, through connection and belonging, for ALL in this beloved community—especially for those among us who feel the least connection and belonging.

Thank you for supporting me and UWLC in finding joy—with both a small and a capital J! We are excited for what lies ahead and having you along for a joy-filled ride.

With gratitude and in partnership, 

Joy (Deirdre) Sullivan

President & CEO

United Way of Larimer County


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