Lee County United Way Exec. Steps Down



After leading United Way of Lee County for 25 years, Rebecca Benton will step down as executive director in June, she announced during February’s board of directors meeting.

“This has been such a rewarding experience both personally and professionally,” Benton told the board. “I have had the opportunity to work with an amazing group of community leaders and volunteers.”

Throughout Benton’s tenure, United Way of Lee County has continued to fulfill the non-profit’s mission to increase the organized capacity of people to care for another by generating and allocating resources to meet community needs.

In her quarter century at the helm, Benton led United Way of Lee County through the uncertainties of Y2K, the dot-com crash, 9/11, the loss of major donors in the textile industry and Uniroyal, the economic downturn of 2008, hurricanes, tornadoes and a pandemic.

“Through all of the challenges, we have persevered and continued to care for our community, loved on those who were hurting, and made a difference in the lives of the people in Lee County,” she said.

While Benton is leaving United Way of Lee County, she is not planning to retire.

“I don’t know what God has planned for my next chapter, but I am trusting that He will provide another area of service for me,” she said. “And if you are so inclined, I ask that you join me in praying for discernment of His perfect will in the coming months.”

The decision to pass the leadership baton to United Way of Lee County’s next executive director, Benton said, was not made lightly.

“While it is difficult to step away from this incredible organization, I know that this is the right time,” she said. “We have a wonderful staff here at United Way that is mission-focused, and I know that they will continue to work hard to accomplish our mission.”

From 1997-2021, Benton oversaw 25 United Way of Lee County fundraising campaigns that yielded more than $24.2 million in pledges to allocate to 51 partner agencies, programs and initiatives.

“I will be working closely with our leadership team and board to ensure a smooth transition and seamless continuity in terms of our programs, agencies and community work as we prepare for our next executive director to join the team,” she said.

Benton has worked with United Way of Lee County’s executive board on a transition plan. The board has formed selection and strategic planning committees with target dates to post the position in March, interview candidates in April and recommend and vote on a new executive director in May with a start date in June as Benton departs.

“Thank you for the support you have given me,” Benton said. “I have been blessed with the absolute best board of directors through all of these years and I am so fortunate to live and work in such a giving, caring community.”


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