Leadership Transitions at Berkshire United Way

July 9, 2021

Berkshire United Way’s (BUW) Board Chair Mike Stoddard announces that president and CEO Candace Winkler will step down at the end of the summer. She has successfully led the organization since spring 2019, including through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Berkshire United Way CEO holds t-shirt

Under Winkler’s leadership, BUW quickly pivoted and mobilized to respond to emergency needs at the outset of the pandemic. BUW partnered with the philanthropic community to establish the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund for Berkshire County, which raised and distributed over $2 million in emergency grants to over 100 organizations working on the front lines. Winkler also facilitated new partnerships to purchase meals from locally owned restaurants to feed families that were most impacted by school and business closures.

“Candace has had a tremendous impact on Berkshire United Way and our role in the community. With more than 20 years of experience, she brought a fresh perspective to the organization. She helped put us on a strong path forward with the sale of the building on South Street, the reorganization of the development department, and the establishment of BUW’s Volunteer Center that helped facilitate over 1,000 volunteer hours in the month of April alone,” shared Board Chair Emeritus Christina Wynn.

BUW’s strength also stems from the generosity of more than 4,000 donors that help impact the lives of over 80,000 individuals annually. BUW and its network of partners work to ensure children are reading proficiently by the third grade, youth are graduating from high school, and adults can earn a living wage and support their families. Coming out of the pandemic, these goals are more important than ever and BUW is well positioned to continue this work.

Winkler is honored to have led the incredible team at BUW. “The staff and board are both extremely talented and passionate about helping those in need. They truly are Here for Good and their commitment to supporting children and families is unparalleled. While my focus will move to the national stage, I will continue to support BUW as a leadership donor and community volunteer.”

Winkler will stay at the helm through the end of August, at which time board member Laurie Gallagher will step in as interim CEO until a permanent leader is selected. The BUW board has established a CEO search committee, co-chaired by Wynn and Pat Callahan, to identify a diverse group of candidates for the board to consider for this important organizational and community role. Past board member and longtime human resources professional Art Milano will help manage the search process.

“Berkshire United Way has had many outstanding CEOs in our 97-year history – leaders who were the right person at the right time – and Candace is among that list,” said Stoddard. “The staff and board are sad to see her go, but we have a very strong team in place and the BUW board is committed to helping Berkshire children reach critical developmental and educational milestones, and providing support to families and individuals with the greatest needs.”

Winkler will assume a new role at a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. in September, but she and her family will continue to live in the Berkshires.

Berkshire United Way CEO speaks at campaign kickoff
Candace at BUW's 2019 Workplace Campaign kick-off event at General Dynamics.
Berkshire United Way CEO marks chart and holds book
L: Candace marks a chart in mid-April 2020 signifying the COVID-19 Emergency Fund surpassing $2M raised.

R: With Northern Berkshire United Way Executive Director Christa Collier at a StoryWalk™ at Berkshire Family YMCA in North Adams during the #HereForGood Volunteer Month in April.