By Katie Demeria
After working with various United Way agencies throughout the country for 40 years, Joe Shtulman, president of the United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley, announced his retirement Monday.
Shtulman started his career working with a United Way agency in Connecticut, then moved to other agencies in various states, including Ohio, Massachusetts and Kansas.
He has been with the Northern Shenandoah Valley's United Way for twice as long as any other chapter, though -- 14 years.
"I've truly enjoyed working in this community, with the volunteers, agency providers, the great staff and all the donor groups," Shtulman said. "It's the people here who helped me stay longer than I usually stay."
Shtulman will officially begin his retirement in January 2015. In the meantime, he will continue to run the United Way out of its Winchester office. He will also work with the board of directors to find a suitable candidate to replace him.
The board will likely work with the United Way Worldwide, he added, which has a program to help local United Ways identify top-level candidates.
In his time with the United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley, Shtulman has shifted the organization to a community impact focus.
"The community impact model helps us target our scarce resources or high priority needs, and also ensures that there is accountability and that the dollars are making a substantial impact on those needs," he said.
Working with young people and engaging them in community projects, he added, has been one of his favorite parts of working with the organization.
He has worked with students from John Handley High School in a number of different projects, and recently started working closely with Sherando High School students to help them develop a marketing project to communicate to other young people the challenges of mental illness.
He also started the Martin Luther King Day-Youth Services Project, which, according to a news release, "involves youth in helping others."
"They're the leaders, the donors, the volunteers of the future -- it's a new generation," Shtulman said. "I know this generation is particularly interested in making sure that what they get involved in has results and makes an impact."
Several projects he helped to implement had an important impact on the local community especially, Shtulman said.
A few years ago, the United Way recognized the increasing senior population.
"We involved people in helping develop efforts to keep seniors in their homes, and I think that was important," he said.
The organization has also zeroed in on mental health issues, he added, starting a mental health initiative to help communicate to the area the challenges of living with a mental illness and what services and programs are available to help.
In his retirement, Shtulman said he will continue to help the community through volunteer work.
"It's the community that helps make [the valley] a place in which people want to live, work and raise their children," he said. "I think the United Way is the best organization to help a community care for those in need."
Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org