United Way announces new executive director

By John Bailey


The Catawba County United Way’s Board of Directors recently announced Mark Bumgarner as the agency’s new Executive Director (ED). 

mark bumgarner
Mark Bumgarner

Bumgarner, who will be stepping down as the ED at Adult Life Programs, is following Jennie Connor as the CCUW’s leader. Connor is retiring at the end of March, after 20 years as the Catawba County United Way’s Executive Director.

“I understand many great candidates applied for the position, and I’m Honored Mark saw the United Way as an avenue for him to continue his service to our community, adding his great passion for helping those in need to the United Way,” Connor said.

Amy Guyer from RHF/Century and the CCUW Board of Directors President, said Bumgarner has the board’s full confidence.

“Mark is already familiar with the United Way programs and processes, having served as a leader for one of its funded partners (Adult Life) and has also been very active on the Interagency Council,” Guyer said. “His prior professional experience along with his passion and enthusiasm for the United Way mission is contagious.”  

Bumgarner grew up in Catawba County, graduating from Newton-Conover High and has always looked for ways to give back to his community. For him, having the chance to lead the CCUW is a dream come true.

“My parents instilled service to the community both by teaching and example, with my mother having served on the United Way Board,” Bumgarner said. “The United Way is uniquely positioned to address poverty and its impact on our community and other issues in a way that unites us all and strengthens our community.” 

After earning his BA in Psychology from the University of North Carolina in 1987, Bumgarner came back to Catawba County to work at Frye Regional Medical Center. He moved on to a position with the county’s Department of Social Services Child Protective and Foster Care services before moving into the Adult Protective Services as a Lead Social Worker.

He earned a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership from Mountain State University in 2010, and in 2011, Bumgarner accepted the position as the Executive Director at Adult Life Programs.

“I believe we always stand on the shoulders of the people who come before us, and I think it’s that way with professions as well,” Bumgarner said.

“Catawba County DSS gave me a skillset that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. Adult Life Programs really gave me the opportunity to put that skillset to work, allowing me to grow a program that served our community on so many levels.”

Bumgarner’s goal professionally has always been focused on taking what people thought of an organization and expanding it beyond its original expectations. He looks forward to doing the same at the CCUW.

“My parents taught me about taking care of the community and when you’re fortunate, you don’t rest on that,” Bumgarner said. “You turn around and you help make other people fortunate. You give them the power to improve things for themselves.”

Bumgarner’s first official day at the CCUW is March 31.

To learn more about the Catawba County United Way and its mission of increasing the organized capacity of people to help others, visit ccunitedway.com or call 828-327-6851.