Gebhardt takes over United Way reins

Posted: Tuesday, April 04, 2000

The director's chair at the Kenai Peninsula United Way recently has been claimed by Evy Gebhardt. The executive director's chair, that is.

Gebhardt said a lot of her experience comes from coordinating the Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race and working with sponsors for her husband, Paul's, Iditarod efforts.

"I have gained much experience securing volunteers and fund raising," she said.

The position that was once filled by Rosetta Alcantra is now in Gebhardt's hands.

Gebhardt's first official day was March 21. Her training, which started earlier last month, was halted because she went to Nome to greet her husband at the finish line at the Iditarod Race.

Alcantra started at United Way in April of 1999. Nearly a year later, she resigned to take another executive director position at the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council. The council is a nonprofit organization providing technical assistance to 36 tribes and first nations throughout the Yukon Territory.

The council offers training to rural villages, helping them understand what they need to know to provide themselves with a sustainable community.

Her new job appeals to her because she has a Native background and was raised in Anvik on Yukon River.

"It's a big honor to be recognized by tribal members for leadership on watersheds," she said.

The office for the council is located in Anchorage, but Alcantra plans to work out of her home in Soldotna until June when she moves there.

If time permits, Alcantra would like to still take part in United Way activities at some level, she said.

According to the organization's mission statement, the United Way provides help and support to the nonprofit health and human service agencies of the Kenai Peninsula, also assisting them in finding long-term solutions for community problems, developing and supporting the voluntary efforts of the nonprofit sector and promoting collaboration among human service organization and educating the community regarding area needs.

The executive director of the United Way is the primary organizer and conductor of annual fund-raising campaigns, is in charge of volunteers from Seward to Homer, educates and assists the teams for in-house campaigns.

Those duties are now Gebhardt's responsibility.

United Way has 14,000 offices nationwide and six in Alaska. The organization raises funds for 27 area nonprofit organizations on the Kenai Peninsula.

Gebhardt was trained by both Alcantra and Alcantra's predecessor -- Helen Donahue. She did not have an agenda coming into the job and has since absorbed lots of information.

"I had a fresh perspective coming into it," Gebhardt said.

"I think she will do a great job," Alcantra said.

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