United Way director to step downPublished 7:26pm Friday, October 18, 2013
In the coming weeks, Beaufort County United Way will be on a search for a new executive director to fill the spot being vacated at the end of the year. Mark Hamblin announced he is leaving the position to pursue another business opportunity.
United Way’s mission is to facilitate “neighbors helping neighbors” by coordinating local community outreach efforts. Under Hamblin’s watch, that has meant a variety of projects, from recruiting people to help rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Irene, to donating 50 refurbished laptop computers to Bath and John Small elementary schools.
But in the past two years Hamblin feels like the organization has started the necessary process of shifting how it helps the community: by addressing the overall wellbeing of the county — physically, mentally and economically. A lot of his time was spent simply listening to community advocates.
“The cool thing is, as I listened to other groups, to other nonprofits, and the (Kate B. Reynolds) group — we’re all saying the same thing,” Hamblin explained. “We’re helping some people out, but are we really moving the needle on these underlying issues? The answer is no.”
Hamblin said part of the process is to bring more people together to establish more of an impact model addressing the root of Beaufort County’s problems.
“It’s a monumental task but finally there’s a groundswell of understanding that, yeah, we’re helping people, but we need to do more. What are the steps we need to take to alleviate these underlying issues?”
“This is where we need to go as an organization,” Hamblin explained. “Whoever comes after me, hopefully, they’ll take that kernel of an idea and complete that and make it happen … I’m excited about what I’m going to be doing, but it’s tough to walk away from it at this point … We’re in a position now to take some really cool steps in the community.”
Hamblin, a longtime woodworker, had the opportunity to buy a furniture repair and restoration franchise and turn a hobby and passion into a career. He will be assisting the United Way board with finding a new executive director.
“We would like to have someone in the community take the reins — if they’re here. And I think they’re here,” Hamblin said. “If you know the community, you’ve obviously got a leg up. If we could find somebody locally, that would be ideal.”
He said although his new line of work will take him to neighboring counties, when it comes to his philanthropic work, he won’t be going far.
“I’ll still be around and I’ll do whatever I can for this organization and others like it,” he said.