Lake Area United Way and United Way of Porter County Board of Directors have solidified plans to merge the two organizations into United Way of Northwest Indiana.

The evaluation process began in March on the heels of then Lake Area United Way CEO Lisa Daugherty leaving her position to serve as CEO of Center for Workforce Innovations.

“We are always evaluating how we can better support the community,” said Ron Donahue, board chair of United Way of Porter County and CEO of InHealth. “Our organizations have always worked closely together to serve Northwest Indiana, but when the opportunity to explore combining forces became available, we knew we had to make it happen.”

The goal of the merger is to provide more support to the community by expanding programing through operational synergies, and providing donors a streamlined giving experience. Both boards, guided by executive staff, went through a lengthy discovery process to determine the viability of a merger and determined now was the time to combine existing resources and talents to better serve Northwest Indiana.

“Pooling resources as a single organization will allow for the expansion of services across the Region which will help more people thrive,” said Michael J. Jasaitis, current board chairman of Lake Area United Way and attorney at law for Austgen, Kuiper, Jasaitis, P.C.

The organizations will work closely on daily operations as merger logistics continue. They anticipate the new organization to be formed by the end of the year.

“As one, United Way of Northwest Indiana will continue to help people thrive by bringing our caring community together to solve tough challenges,” said Jeff Strack, the newly elected board president of United Way of Northwest Indiana and CEO of Strack ‘n Van Til. “We envision a world where all individuals will achieve their full potential.”

The organizations will keep the community informed about merger proceedings as they progress. To submit an inquiry, email David Nicole, interim President & CEO of Lake Area United Way at or Kim Olesker, President & CEO of United Way of Porter County at