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Tracy Frank, Published June 24 2010

Haun returns to United Way as president

Melinda Haun has come full circle.

The new United Way of Cass-Clay president spent Wednesday afternoon meeting community members and becoming reacquainted with those she knew when she first worked for the organization 17 years ago.

“It does make the acclimation a little bit easier when you’ve lived and worked in a community,” Haun said, adding that she’s excited about the area’s growth.

Haun’s first priority will be to accompany Tammy Miller of Border States Electric, 2010 fundraising campaign chairwoman, to visit the top 25 company supporters.

“I very much want to be out into the community,” Haun said.

Longer term, Haun plans to work on a community mobilization plan that will look at the most urgent conditions that need to be addressed in Cass and Clay counties, specifically in the areas of income, education and health.

“It’s much broader than United Way looking at those issues and placing funding into it,” Haun said. “It’s about identifying what those issues are and in the long term, how we can address those root causes.”

She started her new job June 16 after serving as president and chief professional officer of United Way of Chippewa County in Chippewa Falls, Wis., for 15 years.

“Already, I can see she is going to be a very good fit for us,” said Kristina Hein, UWCC community impact and public relations director. “She’s thinking really strategically about how she wants United Way of Cass-Clay to grow, but she’s also just so personable and warm and all of those things you want a leader to be.”

Haun, who is originally from St. Thomas, N.D., and graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead, worked at UWCC from 1984 to 1993 as vice president and director of community resources/evaluation.

Michael Leier of the Southeast Human Service Center worked with Haun when she first worked for UWCC and said he was thrilled to hear that she had been named the new president.

“I’ve always had a great deal of respect and admiration for Melinda,” he said. “She’s a great people person, and she’s got a good vision. I think she’ll be a great fit for our community.”

Haun also has extensive national United Way experience and has served with United Way Worldwide. She replaced Judy Green, who resigned in February to work for Sanford Health-MeritCare.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526