After almost 28 years of service to the local community, Northumberland United Way CEO Lynda Kay has announced she plans to retire at the end of May 2017.
Kay joined the Northumberland United Way in 1989 after moving to Cobourg in the early 1980s. Over the course of her tenure, the organization has raised more than $20 million in contributions for the Northumberland community.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to lead this organization,” Kay says. “Through our tremendous staff, volunteers, and community partners, and through the generosity of our many donors, we have substantially increased the capacity of local programs and services that support the residents of Northumberland County to lead better lives.”
Kay was the driving force behind the annual “Day of Caring” in Northumberland, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. While she was CEO, Furthermore, Northumberland United Way took the lead in establishing the Food 4 All Warehouse (now operated by Northumberland County), launched the annual Backpack for Kids program to provide school supplies to children in need, helped to expand the 211 helpline to Northumberland, and implemented the “Community Matters” and “Action for Community Change” projects.
Most recently, the Northumberland United Way took possession of its own building at 62 Swayne Street — a long-time dream for Kay — as the result of the single largest donation ever made to the organization ($450,000 donation from a local citizen).
Kay has also served the community in other roles over the years. Currently a member of the Northumberland Hills Hospital Board, Kay was Past President of the Rotary Club of Cobourg, Past Chair of the Town of Cobourg Civic Awards, Past President of the Port Hope Chamber of Commerce, and Past Director for the Northumberland Chamber of Commerce. She was also a member of the committees that raised funds for the construction of both the Northumberland Hills Hospital and the Cobourg Community Centre.
In 2012, Kay received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, awarded to Canadians who have dedicated themselves to service to their fellow citizens, their community and their country. She is also a recipient of the Town of Cobourg’s Mayor’s Award of Distinction, as well as Northumberland Today’s Women in Business Award.
Before she retires, Kay will see the current Northumberland United Way campaign through to completion.
Northumberland United Way Board Chair Gerald Blackstock says Kay’s history of community service and contributions to the organization have been remarkable.
“It is difficult to convey the magnitude of gratitude and respect that we have for Lynda, for the way she has shaped the culture of this organization and for the scope of impact that she has had on the people of this community for more than a quarter century,” Blackstock says. “Lynda will be leaving in place a legacy of positive organizational change, community vitality and innumerable lives made better through her tireless efforts.”
After she retires, Kay plans to spend more time with her family and to continue supporting the Northumberland community.
“It has been 28 years of growth, learning and joyful experiences,” Kay says. “I am very proud of what we have accomplished together, and I look forward to continuing to support this amazing organization as a volunteer and as a donor.”
The Board of Northumberland United Way will be beginning the process of recruiting a new CEO to fill Kay’s position.