Noreen J. Dunnells Named 2023 Minalee Saks Champion of Children

Parenting Now has named United Way of Lane County’s Noreen J. Dunnells as its 2023 Minalee Saks Champion of Children. Noreen will be honored at Parenting Now’s A Night of Hope Auction & Gala on March 3.

This honor is given to community members who go above and beyond to enrich the lives of children in Lane County, and beyond—whether through volunteerism, enacting social change, direct service work, program development, and the like.

The award is named after the founder of Parenting Now (formerly Birth To Three), Minalee Saks.

"Noreen is a shining example of unwavering dedication to children and families,” says Parenting Now Executive Director, Theya Joslin. “Her consistent investment of time and talent over the course of many years has contributed, substantially, to their well-being. Our community is a better place because of Noreen and the work she has done. We are proud to call her our 2023 Minalee Saks Champion of Children."

Noreen Dunnells has a long history of work with United Ways across the country. In her 11 years as CEO of United Way of Lane County, she has helped to improve the lives of many children and families in our community.

In her role as CEO, Noreen has helped to implement rich and robust programming aimed at early learning and literacy, as well as programs that help support underserved communities. This includes growing the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to reach children birth to 5 in rural Lane County. Thanks to this effort children can receive a free book in the mail every month until they are 5 years old.

“Noreen is tenacious about improving the lives of others and ensuring the community rises to the occasion to assist those in need.,” says Brad Smith, former Board Treasurer for United Way of Lane County’s Board of Directors. “She is tireless and selfless. Her energy is almost unmatched. Her sensibilities and business acumen round out her leadership skills. She dedicates attention to both running the organization and addressing the business aspects of the United Way in addition to aligning programmatic efforts and the investment of resources to achieve meaningful change. She is respected by the entire community – businesses, civic leaders and other community service organizations – because of her talent, genuine approach and laser focus on improving the community and helping others. We are all lucky to have her.”

To purchase a ticket to our Hollywood Lights Night of Hope Gala or name a donation in Noreen's honor, click here

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