Cornwell set to retire from United Way


After 15 years, Karen Cornwell is stepping down as executive director for United Way of Idaho Falls and Bonneville County.

“I’m getting old,” Cornwall said.

Cornwell also is a former Idaho Falls city councilwoman who served two terms before

losing to Barbara Ehardt in

December’s runoff election.

Cornwell will retire in January or February. In the meantime, United Way has posted a job

announcement in the Post Reg-

ister for her position. Cornwell will help hire and train her replacement during her remaining months, “So when I do leave, everything will be in order,” she said.

The new position will be one of two paid staff positions.

The ad calls for a candidate able to lead fundraising campaigns as well as help foster relationships between United Way and other agencies and corporate sponsors. The local organization also serves Fremont, Jefferson, Madison and Teton counties and has 28 partner agencies, including the American Red Cross and the Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership.

United Way has compiled a group of former senior volunteers and tasked them with fielding resumes and ranking them, Paul Yela, board chairman, said. Then, the committee will turn the list over to the board, which will conduct interviews and present an offer to the top candidate.

Cornwell said the salary and benefit package will be competitive but will be based on the experience of the candidate. She said United Way is looking for someone with five to 10 years of experience in nonprofits.

The most difficult part of the job will be the learning curve, Cornwell said, as well as networking.

“Getting to know industries and businesses involved with United Way, and getting some new ones,” she said. “Donations come from the community.”

Cornwell said the fundraising goal for 2014 is $900,000 to $1 million. She said she would expect the new executive director to have similar expectations in 2015.

For Yela, the requirements are pretty simple. He said United Way is looking for someone who will appreciate the job.

“The ideal candidate is an individual who enjoys the process of interacting with agencies who serves people who have needs in our community,” Yela said. “Basically, a person who likes to help people.”

As far as Cornwell’s retirement, she doesn’t plan on being sedentary for long.

“(I’ll) probably rest for a while, but I know I will get back in the community with nonprofits,” she said. “I like this city too much to pack up (and leave) or stay in my house, so I will be looking to help out.”

Reporter Aubrey Wieber can be reached at 542-6755.