October 10, 2017
Written by Katie Kuhn, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County
Vickie Hay is United Way’s new Health Portfolio Manager. Previously, Vickie worked with United Way as the Kindergarten Readiness Program Coordinator & Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program Coordinator.
We sat down with Vickie to learn a little more about her background and what she is excited about in this new role.
You are United Way’s new Health Portfolio Manager. What do you do in this position?
I oversee the health investment strategy for our four county region. This includes 66 regularly funded programs, as well as the programs funded under the Healthy Birth Outcomes and Human Trafficking and Sexual Violence special initiatives. For these programs, we develop relationships with community leaders and agency staff to ensure that their work fights for the health and safety of our communities.
I also have the privilege to represent the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County on a number of community collaboratives and coalitions.
In your opinion, what is the most pressing health issue facing our community?
I would say that a health issue that is co-mingled with all the rest is the persistent and pervasive effects of historical, intergenerational trauma that results from systemic racism and inequity for people of color in our community. We see unacceptable racial disparities in community health issues ranging from infant mortality to mass incarceration.
The effects of racism on the overall health of our community are significant, especially given recent statistics that declare Milwaukee as the worst city to be born black in the entire nation across a number of indicators. As a community, we need to be willing to have honest and earnest conversations about ways to advance racial equity and be intentional about the way we fight racism in our work.
How do you like to give back to your community?
I love volunteering with kiddos, specifically through books! I used to be a camp counselor, and I LOVE to read, so volunteer programs like “My Very Own Library”, “Build my Bookshelf”, and “Emerging Readers” are right up my alley. There’s something so magical about watching a kid open a book and get truly excited about reading.
Tell us about your family! What is your favorite thing to do together?
I very recently got engaged to my boyfriend of three years, and we are already busy planning our upcoming nuptials. We actually got engaged doing our most favorite thing—seeing live music surrounded by our closest friends out at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado! Other than catching a concert, our favorite thing to do together is probably exploring either Milwaukee or Chicago with friends or making each other laugh while we lounge on the couch. We share an apartment in Kenosha with our two furry gentle-cats, Purrfessor Remus Mooney Lupin and Shadow. I’m 100% biased, but they are just the cutest.
If you had a Saturday completely free, how would you spend it?
Ah, the dream! I would definitely sleep in, wake up slowly with a cup of coffee and a few chapters of whatever book I’m reading at the time (very likely Harry Potter), grab brunch at the Coffee Pot in Kenosha (HIGHLY recommended!!!), go see a movie, and have a few friends over for friendship and food. J
Learn more about the programs funded by United Way in the Health Portfolio.