United Way Bay Area

Meet the experts: Lorne Needle, VP for Community Investments

Posted on July 13, 2009, by United Way in Uncategorized

lorne-at-pelosi-event-sept-07Lorne is a vice president on United Way's Community Investment Team, which is responsible for investing donor contributions in top-performing Bay Area nonprofit programs. The team also partners with business, government and nonprofits to address our community's greatest needs and implement the most effective solutions.

United Way: What part of your job do you like the most?

Lorne: Advocating for Bay Area residents whose voices are all too often overlooked - like low-wage workers and children. While there are lots of great nonprofit programs in our region that are improving thousands of lives, I believe we can make things better for hundreds of thousands - even millions - of people who really need them. This requires change at the policy level, and United Way has a role in bringing about that change.

United Way: What inspires you?


-Changing lives

-Everything about working with and for young people

-Being part of the hard-working and committed team here at UnitedWay

United Way: What is your most significant accomplishment since joining United Way?

Lorne: Helping us move forward as policy advocates. In the last three years we've been a partner to Nancy Pelosi around Children's Health Coverage, co-sponsored a bill on access to Medi-Cal, and helped shape the Bay Area Council's plan on the federal stimulus package, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. We're also starting to play a role in national policy on the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act, which distributes billions of dollars for employment training. The best part is that the full potential of our policy-power has yet to be unleashed!

United Way: What is the best-kept secret about United Way?

Lorne: Our Community Projects. We have a long history of incubating small start-up programs that fill gaps in services, test innovative practices, and grow best practices to scale. . We provide seed funding, fiscal sponsorship, staff training, and marketing and fundraising support.

Some of our community projects have gone on to become very important community organizations, including SF Works, Out and Equal, and the Girls Justice Initiative. Our current community projects include Raising A Reader, Earn It! Keep It! Save It!, Honoring Emancipated Youth, MatchBridge and Bank on Oakland.

United Way: What do you do for fun in your spare time?

Lorne: Dinner with friends, going for walks with my wife and travel. I'm also a spoken-word poet.

Lorneis frequently called on by local media for his expert commentary. Check out his recent interviews:

Lorne is a two-time graduate of Stanford University, with a B.A. in Public Policy (concentration in preventing/reducing poverty) and an M.B.A. Lorne has launched and led organizations working in youth development, preventive health, workforce development, and education. He has lived in the Bay Area since 1983, and currently resides in Redwood Shores with his wife, Audra, who is a second-grade teacher at the Carey School.

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