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Cowlitz & Wahkiakum United Way director leaves for state-level position

Brooke Fisher-Clark

Brooke Fisher-Clark, executive director of the United Way of Cowlitz and Wahkiakum Counties, unveiling the local Imagination Library program in 2018.

United Way of Cowlitz & Wahkiakum Counties announced Monday that executive director Brooke Fisher-Clark is leaving to oversee a recently created statewide United Way program.

Fisher-Clark was chosen by the United Ways of the Pacific Northwest to become the executive director of the Washington Imagination Library Expansion. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is an international program that provides free monthly books to children younger than 5 years old.

Fisher-Clark has been executive director of the local United Way agency since 2016. Marlene Johanson, president of the board of directors for United Way of Cowlitz & Wahkiakum Counties, said Fisher-Clark has been a passionate and effective leader, with the Imagination Library program and other local fundraising efforts.

“She has great ideas, is very dynamic and is able to get donors to line up with the strategic plan for United Way. She’s going to do great in her new role, as sad as it is to see her go,” Johanson said.

The Imagination Library branch in Cowlitz County has the highest enrollment rate of any branch in the state since launching in 2018. The local program run by United Way accounts for nearly a quarter of all Washington children currently enrolled in the Imagination Library and has distributed more than 100,000 books.

According to the United Way press release announcing the hire, Fisher-Clark has spent the last year working to secure state government funding to support additional library branches. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction recently agreed to dedicate $2.25 million to establishing libraries in all Washington counties and cover half of the local funding costs for the program going forward.

“The 50% state funding support will be a great windfall, but it is a team effort with local communities in the state to keep this powerful early learning program possible for our children. The return on investment is priceless,” Fisher-Clark said in the press release.

The local United Way is hiring for the next executive director. Johanson said the hiring process could take several months, but they hope the incoming director can work with Fisher-Clark as she transitions to the new job.

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