Catrina Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of the Coastal Bend, has announced her retirement, effective April 26, 2019.
Wilson, a life-long Corpus Christi resident, has held the position since 2006 and previously served as executive director of The Women’s Shelter of South Texas, now the Purple Door. She joined the shelter in 1985, serving as head of non-resident counseling services, program director and associate director before serving nine years as executive director.
“I was given the incredible opportunity to lead United Way of the Coastal Bend for 13 years, and the decision to retire came with mixed emotions,” Wilson said. “My husband and I have decided that we want to be able to spend more time together and with our family, as each day is precious. Retirement also will allow me to participate in some community volunteer opportunities that would be challenging to fulfill while employed full-time.”
United Way of the Coastal Bend is a wholly locally owned and operated nonprofit organization that partners with 46 agencies and programs across 60 communities in 10 South Texas counties. Founded in 1936, UWCB and its partners work to change lives in the areas of education, health and financial stability – the vital components to a better life. UWCB achieves its goals with the help of donations through workplace campaigns, special events, corporate gifts and individual donations.
“Thousands of donors entrust us with their gifts each year, and we ensure that their gifts are invested wisely in our community,” Wilson said. “It’s incredible to see the commitment of our volunteers who review grant applications, serve on various committees and our Board of Directors who generously give of their time and talents to improve the lives of our friends and neighbors throughout the Coastal Bend. It has definitely been a humbling experience and an honor to work alongside an incredible staff of professionals who are truly dedicated to our mission. It also has been a joy to work with our wonderful nonprofit partners to change the Coastal Bend for good.”
Wilson said she gave UWCB’s Board of Directors more than three months’ notice to help with an easy transition, so as not to interrupt operations.
“Catrina has served United Way of the Coastal Bend with dedication, vision and integrity,” said Wes Gore, board chairman and Vice-President/General Manager of NuStar’s West Region. “She is a dedicated professional who led significant improvements at the local United Way, helping it become the well-respected, highly efficient organization that it is today. We are so grateful for her leadership and hard work. She will be missed tremendously.”
Judith Talavera, board chair-elect and President and Chief Operating Officer for AEP Texas, noted that under Wilson’s leadership, the organization secured and remodeled its own building at 4659 Everhart Road, saving significant money in annual rent and allowing for a central meeting space for donor companies and community programs. Wilson also hired quality staff, increased the number of agency partners and stabilized the organization’s operations.
“Catrina always says that ‘non-profit’ is just a tax status, not a management style, and she runs the operation as a highly successful business,” Talavera said. “Our community is incredibly lucky to have had Catrina serving in non-profits for 34 years. She has generously shared her knowledge with others in the field, and our community is a better place because of Catrina Wilson.”
Wilson has vast community service including serving as a board member of Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend; member of Rotary Club of Corpus Christi; former member and chair of Harbor Playhouse Board of Directors; past member of Health and Human Services Commission’s Family Violence Services Committee; and past member of the Texas Office of the Attorney General Sexual Assault Programs Committee. She was one of 12 nonprofit executives in Texas supported by the RGK Foundation to identify and develop an outline of core competencies for nonprofit leaders. A graduate of Leadership Corpus Christi Class 28, Wilson also was honored by YWCA Women in Careers in 2008.
Wilson also has served on the Texas Council on Family Violence, the National Council on Family Violence and on the National Domestic Violence Hotline board, where she served as board chair from 2015-2017. She said she is excited to see what’s next for United Way of the Coastal Bend.
“The landscape of philanthropy is constantly changing, and while we hear that traditional giving is decreasing, there are also some very positive trends that include the increase in issue-related giving, giving circles, impact investing and volunteerism,” she said. “UWCB is prepared to adapt to these changes and facilitate philanthropic giving that is donor-centered. It is critical to support the network of performing nonprofit organizations in our community as their services improve the quality of life for all. United Way is here to support donors in that process.”
United Way of the Coastal Bend also is involved in many key community programs, including: Nurse-Family Partnership, the Success By 6 initiative, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, Operation Supply Our Students (Operation SOS), FamilyWize prescription assistance, Caller-Times Children's Christmas Appeal and the Coastal Bend Community Health Needs Task Force. The organization is proud to maintain a four-star rating – the highest available -- with Charity Navigator and keeps five years of financial records and audits on its website, uwcb.org.
“I will always look back with affection, satisfaction and pride on what UWCB has accomplished over the years,” Wilson said. “From changing the way we do business with donors and funded partners to UWCB being recognized as an outstanding and trusted nonprofit because of our accountability, transparency and ability to deliver positive outcomes. It has been a wonderful journey, and I look forward to what the future brings for me and our United Way.”
The board’s search committee is seeking applications to succeed Wilson and plan to have the position filled before she leaves at the end of April. Interested applicants can visit https://careers.unitedway.org/jobs or uwcb.org for more information.