Gabrielle “Gabby” Thabes has joined the United Way of Lee County as its community initiatives specialist. She will lead the initiatives and social service programs for Lee County by serving as the liaison between the United Way and its funded partner agencies.

“We welcome Gabby with her passion for the nonprofit sector and Lee County,” said Tipi Miller, executive director of the United Way of Lee County. “We are excited to see what new ideas Gabby brings to this position and watch her faithfully serve the people in this community.”

Thabes is a spring 2023 graduate of Auburn University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in philanthropy and nonprofit studies. She has previously interned with other nonprofit organizations in the area, including Baby Steps and Nourish, AL. During her time interning at these two organizations, she gained experience in grant writing, organizing fundraising events and communicating with donors and volunteers.

“When I applied for this job, I was most excited about the prospect of becoming more active in the implementation of nonprofit programs that are positively impacting Lee County,” Thabes said. “I further found it appealing that the United Way works with numerous causes across several focus areas, rather than concentrating on one issue, so I would have the opportunity to help improve our community’s quality of life in multiple aspects.”

Thabes will be tasked with administering all in-house, direct assistance including but not limited to the Student Health Fund, which provides funding for dental or medical bills for uninsured students; the United Way Community Fund, which provides assistance with necessary expenses (utilities, rent, car payment, etc.) during times of hardships; and the Covid Fund, which assists families that have lost income due to COVID-19.

“I plan to take a relational approach to this job,” Thabes said. “I would like to use this position to deepen United Way’s connections with its partner agencies and their leaders by increasing communication, volunteerism, and involvement with agency programs. I value community input, so I plan to regularly communicate with agencies to receive and incorporate their feedback to ensure that United Way is constantly adapting to effectively meet both their needs and the needs of Lee County.”

The United Way of Lee County is a nonprofit organization in Opelika whose mission is to increase the organized capacity of people to care for one another by generating and applying the necessary resources to meet the needs of the community. United Way looks to improve and strengthen the community by focusing on and funding organizations and programs working in four key impact areas — the building blocks for a good life: education, health, crisis and families and communities.