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Citing family needs, United Way executive director says she'll step down next month

WILLMAR -- Stacey Roberts has resigned after 10 years as executive director of the United Way of West Central Minnesota. Her last day will be Nov. 17.

Roberts said Wednesday that she has found herself caught recently between the demands of her position and the needs of her aging parents in Minneapolis and her family.

Roberts and her husband, Eric, a Willmar businessman, have four children -- three are teenagers in the Willmar schools and one is in college in California.

Making the decision to leave the United Way was a difficult one, she said in a telephone interview.

"I still come to work every day and enjoy it and have a passion for it," she said. "I get to see the best of all facets of the community."

Roberts will be leaving during the United Way's annual fundraising campaign. The goal this year is $915,000.

According to a release from the United Way, Roberts worked to increase the annual campaign from $500,000 to more than $900,000. Roberts is credited with being a key leader in creating the Growmobile, which travels throughout the area offering school-readiness instruction for young children.

During Roberts' tenure, the Pillars Leadership Club grew to more than 500 members. Several new initiatives were launched, including Empower: Women United in Philanthropy, Imagination Library, Youth as Resources and the Gift in Kind program. The organization also expanded its territory from Kandiyohi County to west central Minnesota.

Steve Lykken, United Way Board president, said in the release that the board is saddened by Roberts' resignation but is grateful for her service.

"Under Stacey's tenure, United Way has invested more into our community than ever before along with growing highly successful new programs that will impact our region for years to come. The board wishes Stacey, her husband Eric and their family the very best."

Roberts said the United Way has a strong staff, and she's confident the organization's work will continue without a pause.

"There's good people here to carry it forward," she said. "I'll be their biggest cheerleader."

As difficult as the decision to leave is, Roberts said, she is at peace with it. She may do some part-time work at her husband's business after Nov. 17, but "I'm going to focus on my parents and my children."

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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