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Board of Directors


Evan Ramiza, Sciarabba Walker

First Vice President

Jenny Robinson, Child Development Centers

Second Vice President

Greg Richard, CAPCO


Nicole Cottone, CFCU


Rachel Bearup, M & T Bank

Mike Catalano, Retired, Cortland City Police Department

Missie Horton, CFCU

Michael Hudon, Community Volunteer

E. Angela Herrera Canfield, Cornell University

Colby Reagan, Royal Auto Group

Megan Leach, Child Advocacy Center

Jeff Breed, Gutchess Lumber

Lorraine Lopez-Janove, SUNY Cortland

Doug DeRancy, Retired, SUNY Cortland

Julia Porter, Family Health Network

Melissa Holl, Berkshire Hathaway, Heritage to Home Realtors

Executive Director
UW ED Kristina Thelen.jpg

Kristina Thelen

Executive Director

Cortland, NY— United Way for Cortland County’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Kristina Thelen has been hired as its new Executive Director. Kristina’s dedication to community, knowledge of not-for-profit entities, and passion for the causes and mission of the United Way showed strongly in the interview process. We are excited for this new chapter of the United Way for Cortland County. Kristina takes over the position from Christella Yonta who served as the executive director since 2016.
“Kristina’s experience with grants and budgeting opens new possibilities in terms of fundraising to best meet our mission in the community efficiently and effectively.” says Board President, Evan Ramiza. As a business owner for almost 10 years, she developed a keen interest in how commerce and community intersect at the entrepreneurial level. She became devoted to how public policy supports or hinders economic vitality, as well as access to health and human services, to provide additional much needed layers of interactive stability in our society. Gaps in economic opportunity directly affect generational wealth and the potential for communities to reach their collective and individual goals, therefore, resource acquisition became a prime focus in Kristina’s career. Most recently Kristina worked for Choice Words LLC as a grant writing consultant and secured funding for capital, general operating, and programming for non-profit clients from across the state. Prior to this, she was the Business Development Director at the Downtown Ithaca Alliance Business Improvement District creating many support services and regranting programs as well as securing state grants for projects involving a wide range of stakeholders and community partners. Kristina is a December 2024 Master of Public Administration candidate at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public
Affairs in public policy. She is also set to earn her Economic Development Professional Certification (CEcD) from the International Economic Development Council this summer.
Kristina is excited to start forging a deep connection in the community and looks forward to continuing collaboration with business and agency partners. “Cortland County is at a unique juncture in time with many new projects coming online”, Kristina says. “I am looking forward to being a strong advocate for the United Way for Cortland County and a steadfast partner shaping opportunities that affect this unique place filled with so many great people”. Kristina also indicates that she is looking forward to becoming involved with many Cortland organizations through volunteering, boards, and committees as well as launching her first United Way fundraising campaign this fall.

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