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United Way changes the guard

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A retirement reception scheduled for tonight caps off Debi Meeds’ tenure at United Way of the Ozarks.

Meeds, the nonprofit’s CEO since 2014 and an American Red Cross veteran before that, is scheduled to retire after the close of business today. United Way is hosting a 4 p.m. retirement event at Evangel University’s dining hall, according to an invitation to the reception.

Springfield Business Journal a month ago reported former City Manager Greg Burris was selected to succeed Meeds, less than a month after the nonprofit announced her retirement. Meeds is credited with leading the implementation of Connect Springfield, a coordinated case management system, and for utilizing multiagency resource centers.

“It’s been a blessing to serve here,” said Meeds, 68, in a July 8 SBJ article. “We have a really connected, collaborative community that truly cares about those that need our services.”

Burris has led United Way of the Ozarks’ Give 5 volunteer program since he left the city in 2018 after nearly 10 years leading the municipality. He previously held leadership roles at Missouri State University for 25 years.

While continuing to oversee Give 5, Burris will lead an organization with an annual budget of $5 million, 10 staff members and 2,410 volunteers. The local chapter of the United Way works through 22 agencies to fund community programs in health, education and financial stability.

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