June 6, 2022, Paterson, NJ – United Way of Passaic County announced today that its CEO, Yvonne Zuidema, has decided to step down from the position on June 30, 2022, after leading the organization for more than 20 years.
Zuidema joined the United Way of Passaic County staff in 1998 and became the President & CEO in 2001 at the age of 30, then one of the youngest leaders in the United Way network.
“I love the mission and work of United Way, and being able to do that work and serve my home community of Passaic County for so many years has been an absolute honor,” said Zuidema.
Under her leadership, United Way of Passaic County developed an anti-poverty agenda that focused on understanding and addressing the intersections of education and health with poverty. Zuidema brought the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program to United Way of Passaic County in 2011, which to date has prepared nearly 10,000 free tax returns for working residents of Passaic County. In 2021, Zuidema worked with the city of Paterson to launch a new initiative, the Financial Empowerment Center, to help individuals reduce debt, build credit, grow savings and achieve financial goals. She has also overseen the publication of several reports and plans that address hunger in Passaic County.
During the pandemic Zuidema formed the COVID-19 Relief and Response Fund for Passaic County, raising over $100,000 and distributing help through grants and new programs.
She has been the chair of Passaic County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters, creating community response funds for disasters and coordinating social services for long-term recovery from floods and other natural disasters.
Zuidema has also served for the past three years as the President of United Ways of New Jersey, the statewide association of local United Way organizations.
“Although it is never easy to say goodbye, the time is right for me to take a rest. The organization is in a good position to continue its positive impact in the community, and I’m very proud of that,” said Zuidema.
The United Way of Passaic County board of directors began planning for Zuidema’s departure in April. They have named Mary Celis, the Director of Health Initiatives since 2015, as the Interim CEO beginning July 1. The board will begin an executive search process this summer.