All-female team leads United Way drive
by Special to the Banner
May 11, 2014 | 1489 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
 Co-chairs for the 2014 United Way campaign are  Pat Fuller, left, and  Merica Stum.
Co-chairs for the 2014 United Way campaign are Pat Fuller, left, and Merica Stum.

Chairman of board
Chairman of board
Charlotte Thorogood was the first female to serve as United Way of Bradley County board chair. Since 1997, there have been several women chair the board of directors or serve as campaign co-chairs; however, never has there been a campaign team consisting of all ladies — until this year. Board Chair Tanya Mazzolini is joined by campaign Co-Chairs Pat Fuller and Merica Stum.

All three have been involved in charitable work within the community and now bring that experience to help United Way of Bradley County with its 2014 campaign.

“United Way was a charity my employer encouraged us to support,” said Mazzolini. “I had just gotten out of college, so I didn’t know much about United Way, but as time went on and I saw more of the presentations at our office, I became more and more engaged.”

Mazzolini was born at Bradley Memorial Hospital. Her dad was a professor at Lee for 40-plus years, and her mom worked at Lee for 40-plus years. Her father was from Florida, mom from Delaware, and they met in Delaware and then relocated to Cleveland and never left.

“I graduated from Lee with a degree in accounting,” she said.

She now serves in the accounting department at Life Care Centers of America.

Following her introduction to United Way through campaign meetings at her company, Mazzolini began serving on allocation panels.

“I was eventually recruited to be a division chair, and then I was recruited to be a campaign co-chair,” she said.

Now, she is one of the few women to serve as a board chair, joining Thorogood, Carolyn Jackson, Nancy Casson and Cathy Barrett. She took the reins as board chair at the United Way Annual Meeting earlier this year.

Much like Mazzolini, Stum had a huge connection to the community through Lee University. While working at Lee University, Stum headed up the internal school campaign and learned more and more about United Way.

“Jake (her husband) and I both graduated from Lee and moved around a bit. We came back, and I took the community relations position at Lee and was there for eight years,” Stum said.

Now, she and her husband are the owners of Brooks Screen Printing, with Jake also working for People for Care and Learning.

She explained that fundraising was not any part of her job at Lee. Her task was to create that connection between the university and the public.

“Through that I got to be a part of lots of other organizations in town,” she said. “That was part of my job … as much as we wanted people to be involved in Lee, I wanted to also have Lee involved in the community.”

Stum served on some allocations committees prior to becoming the campaign coordinator at Lee University.

Fuller has a short history with United Way but a long history of helping others in the Cleveland and Bradley County area.

She moved to Cleveland to work at First Citizens Bank many years ago, in 1974. As with Life Care Centers of America and Lee University, First Citizens was a great company supporter of United Way.

“I was one of the first 11 employees at First Citizens Bank,” Fuller remembered.

Fuller has been involved with the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, Empowering Women, the Bradley Initiative for Church and Community, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, The Caring Place and the Bradley Sunrise Rotary Club, to name some of her charitable work in the community.

Fuller said she is excited to be working with United Way, and with Mazzolini and Stum.

Mazzolini said that it is not her desire to focus on the three being women, but it has been an idea that she had about 15 years ago.

“When the board chairs’ framed photographs were hanging on the United Way conference wall, I noticed just a few women, and thought it would be great to have more representation from women,” Mazzolini said.

“I think one of my goals is to get more women engaged and into leadership roles,” she said.

If you would like to learn more about United Way of Bradley County or get involved, contact the office at (423) 479-2020 or check out the United Way website at