It was September 1992. A gallon of gas costs 95 cents. Fewer than 10,000 people call Marysville home. Kirk Herbstreit is the senior quarterback of the Ohio State Buckeyes. George Bush (Senior) is President of the United States. And on September 9 at a special meeting of the United Way Board, volunteers promote Shari Marsh from her role as office secretary to become the organization’s third Executive Director.
Shari Marsh (right), United Way’s Executive Director, begins her 3rd decade of leading the local non-profit
organization this week. She’s pictured with Tony Eufinger, 2012 Campaign Co-Chair, at last week’s Campaign Kickoff event.
Shari continues in that role today and is one of the true leaders in Union County. Over the last 20 years, Marsh has guided the organization—and the local social service community as a whole– through tremendous change and growth. During her tenure, Marysville’s population doubles. United Way’s annual campaign triples. More than $12.7 million is raised! And Marsh is at the forefront of closing multiple gaps in the community’s social service network.
A press clipping from a September 1992 Marysville Journal-Tribune article announcing the hiring of Shari Marsh.
“For 20 years, Shari has and continues to be the voice promoting the well-being of numerous community organizations and the citizenry in which they support,” said Eric Phillips, CEO/Executive Director of the Union County Chamber of Commerce. “Her love for the Union County community and her dedication to improving the quality of life has enriched and touched so many lives.”
“The most satisfying part of my job is knowing that people are receiving needed programs and services, in part, because of the work of the United Way of Union County,” Marsh said. “When I get an opportunity to meet a person who has received services from a funded program, it makes me happy to know that this organization had an impact. We are all placed here to be of service to one another and this job allows me a chance to do that.”
“Shari is a driving force for positive change behind the scenes in Union County,” said Luke Braun, United Way’s Board President. “She is one of the kindest, most caring individuals I have ever met. She is a true pillar of our community.”
One of the biggest changes behind the scenes at United Way has been the evolution from a simple fundraising and pass-through agency into a collaborative, community partner. Marsh embodies United Way’s mission to bring neighbors and resources together to improve lives. As Union County evolves and new needs emerge, Marsh uses her innovative vision in collaboration with community leaders to help establish or recruit new programming to Union County. More than a dozen new Partner Agencies have arrived in the last two decades, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Child Care Network, Community & Seasoned Citizens, Consolidated Care, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Loving Care Hospice, The Marion Shelter Program, North Union Personal Needs Pantry, Plain City Free Clinic, Pleasant Valley Seniors, The Salvation Army, Union County Personal Needs Pantry, Wings Enrichment Center, and United Way’s Youth Arts & Recreation Grant Fund.
Shari’s knowledge about the needs of this community is exceeded only by her incredible capacity to care for the people in Union County.
She is not just an unwavering advocate for those in need throughout the area
... she is also a tireless cheerleader for all those who call Union County home.
That’s who you want leading an organization like the United Way of Union County.”
Doug Hoy, Scotts Miracle-Gro, United Way Past Board President.
“If you would have told me 20 years ago that we would be funding programs to deal with homelessness, I would not have believed it,” Marsh said. “Unfortunately that is one of the sad situations that have touched many households throughout Union County. It is also more important than ever for the local network to look at substance abuse and all of the consequences that come with that issue.”
The number one song in September 1992 is End of the Road by Boyz II Men. 20 years later, Marsh isn’t anywhere near the end of her road at United Way and maintains high aspirations for the organization.
“I am looking forward to seeing the organization reach the one million dollar campaign goal in the near future,” Marsh said. “Reaching that milestone can only mean wonderful things for Union County. I will always remember back to when my own personal, internal goal was to see the organization raise a half of a million dollars and the year that we did it the goal was $450,000. We zoomed on past that goal, past a half a million dollars and went closer to $600,000. I hope United Way will be seen as a community partner, not only the social service sector, but also with the community-at-large in seeking meaningful ways to help Union County remain a great place to live, work and raise a family.”
“I remember seeing Shari at Community Services meetings when I first started working for Union County over 18 years ago,” said Brenda Rock, Director of the Union County Council for Families. “She knows a lot of Union County residents, not only because she works here, but because she grew up here and has always been someone who looks out for her neighbor. And in that respect, she has been the perfect United Way Director; because she cares about the County and the people who live here.”