Tonja Couch, Executive Director: Tonja started on her path to serve others before her professional career was even considered. She was a student leader and a Day of Caring volunteer who clean out the 3rd floor of the Community Agency Building where she now works. During her time at Xavier University she learned a lot in the classroom about Theology; and holds a Bachelor of Arts. However, it is what Tonja learned outside the classroom at Xavier that has made her the woman she is today. Xavier’s mission is to create men and women for others; this mission is what Tonja has carried forward. Tonja has only worked in the non-profit sector since graduating from college in 2005. This community’s genuine heart of giving, while focusing on how to make long-term changes to help others, continues to encourage Tonja to serve and hope for more for Jackson County. Tonja believes that by bringing people together we can be incredible together and soar to new heights to ensure every resident has what they need to succeed.
Maci Baurle, Development Director: Maci was born and raised in Jackson County. She attended the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville and received a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and Advertising with a minor in Marketing. After interning for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast Indiana in college, she knew that nonprofit work was her passion. After graduation, Maci spent four years working for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in both Development and Event Production. During her time at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, she learned the ends and outs of event fundraising, how do secure donor and sponsor dollars, along with how to create and execute multiple events with up to 1,500 people at one time. Maci strives to make a difference in the lives of others with her work. She’s grateful to finally be working in Jackson County and the opportunity to give back to the community who has given so much to her.
Emily Engelking, Engagement Director: Emily is a Jackson County native and has lived here her entire life. She attended Hanover College and received a dual-degree in English and Political Science. After graduation, Emily spent 27 months in the Peace Corps, serving in a small town in western Ukraine. During her time in the Peace Corps, she taught English to people of all ages, as well as worked within her region to train teachers in modern education practices. She knew that she wanted to continue working in public service when she returned Stateside. She is thrilled to be back in her home community and to work to make Jackson County a thriving place where people are happy to live.
Bonita Dobbs, Program Manager: Bonita moved to Jackson County in 2005. She graduated from Ivy Tech Community College with an Associates in Science Degree in both Human Services and Liberal Arts. During that time, she served at the Jackson County United Way as an AmeriCorps member for two years before joining the JCUW team in 2013. Bonita is dedicated to creating community awareness of volunteer opportunities throughout our community serving as a liaison in bringing the community together. She also seeks out sponsorships to ensure programs can meet the needs of those we serve whether it be to purchase Rock’n Ready schools supplies for children in our four school districts or supplies to assist our seniors during the annual Day of Caring.
Stephanie Strothmann, Community Impact Director: Stephanie grew up in Jackson County. She received her BA in English from Indiana State University and then moved to Columbus, IN, where she lived for 21 years. While in Columbus, she developed a passion for urban farming and, after getting 4 chickens, moved back to the country in her hometown of Seymour, Indiana, where she now has a small farm with dogs, cats, ducks, and chickens. She participates in the Seymour Area Farmer’s Market each weekend in the summer and is a Jackson County Purdue Extension board member. She loves the Arts and has been in several shows with the Jackson County Community Theatre. Stephanie is the Covering Kids & Families Director with Jackson County United Way and helps get folks enrolled in health coverage so that getting the healthcare they need will not cause financial burden and help them become more financially stable. Stephanie loves working for Jackson County United Way because it “gives me a way to give back to the community that I grew up in, and now have returned to, because I want to see this community become a place where people stay."
Ashley Caceres, Biligual Healthcare Navigator: Ashley is a first-generation native to Jackson County. She attended Ball State University where she received her Bachelors of Science in Architecture, with minors in Sociology and Social & Environmental Justice. During her time at BSU, Ashley focused her schoolwork and extracurricular leadership in the education and celebration of the Latinx experience, specifically in serving as President of the Latinx Student Union. Her undergraduate work and passion for serving is what fueled her desire to continue celebrating and advocating for the community that raised her in Jackson County. Ashley now serves as the Bilingual Outreach and Enrollment Specialist for Covering Kids and Families of United Way, as well as doing Su Casa Customer Service work for our county. These roles allow her to build trusting relationships with the families she serves, as she helps them through their goal setting to stability.