Local nonprofit changes name to be reflective of goals

Organization gave away over $20,000 to partner agencies



Eric Fejeran, Board President for United Way of Pullman, discusses the recent name change of the organization on Tuesday morning at Thomas Hammer.

BENJAMIN WHITE, Evergreen reporter

The organization previously known as United Way of Pullman has changed its name to United Way of Whitman County.

“We want to branch out and show that we represent Whitman County as a whole,” said Eric Fejeran, board president of United Way of Whitman County.

Ed Sala, vice president of United Way of Whitman County, said they applied for the name change in the winter 2019 and they received the confirmation of the name change Aug. 20.

United Way of Whitman County collects funds from community stakeholders and then donates that money to local nonprofits, Fejeran said, and are one of the largest nonprofits globally.

“I think it was last year or the year before, we had our largest fundraising year,” Fejeran said. “We gave away over 20,000 to our partner agencies.”

The biggest goal is to improve the health, education and financial security of locals, he said.

“Just seeing the look on the faces of the agency representatives when we hand that final check to them at the end of the year and knowing that they’re going to take that money and they’re going to change someone’s life for the better, that’s what it’s all about for me,” Sala said.

All the money donated to United Way of Whitman County goes toward nonprofits, Sala said. The board members cover all administrative costs with their own donations.

Meeting their fundraising goals has become more difficult and they need to address their strategies for raising money, he said.

One big goal is changing their fundraising model, which allows them to receive donations a few months out of the year, Fejeran said. They want to switch to a year-round model.

“I want to broaden our demographic to include young people,” Sala said. “You don’t have to give money, you can give time or even a small amount of money. I was a college student, $5 a month can matter.”

Teaching young people to give and making generosity a lifelong commitment is very important, Fejeran said.

“I can honestly say before I was approached by United Way I was a passive giver, but now I’m a much more focused [giver], I wouldn’t say I’m super sophisticated, but I’m passionate about it and it’s definitely changed my view of philanthropy and how important that is,” Sala said.

Another goal is to set up a youth organization with Pullman High School, such as Kiwanis Club, or the Key Club, Fejeran said.

“I really would like [United Way] to be an organization that doesn’t just fund agencies but also has programs,” Fejeran said.