Enews 3-2-23: UCS Executive Director Steps Down

Julie Brewer to Step Down as Executive Director of UCS

The UCS Board of Directors would like to share that Executive Director Julie Brewer will retire from her role with UCS on July 21st of this year. After seven years of dedicated service to our organization and the Johnson County community, Julie has decided to begin a new chapter in her life.

Julie’s commitment to excellence, collaboration, and inclusivity has been instrumental in advancing the mission of our organization. During her tenure, UCS has grown its funding, staffing and organizational capacity to take on more initiatives and projects to help meet the needs of Johnson County’s most vital resource – its residents. Her presence and expertise will be greatly missed.

Julie joined UCS in 2016 and immediately moved the organization into preparing for its 50th anniversary and honoring its history and legacy, while launching a comprehensive organizational and community strategic planning process to identify future issues and needs impacting Johnson County. UCS developed and implemented a number of multi-year initiatives under Julie’s leadership.

Collaboration and partnership are at the heart of Julie’s success as a leader. Every UCS project Julie led during her seven years with UCS began with the question, “who should be at the table?” Safe, stable and attainable housing has been a priority issue for Julie, and she brought together leaders and residents from all parts of Johnson County to be part of developing housing solutions in our community. With grant support from Kansas Health Foundation, REACH Healthcare Foundation and Health Forward Foundation, UCS created the multi-sector Johnson County Health Equity Network leading to a collaboration between Johnson County and its municipalities to implement the Johnson County Municipalities Community Housing Study and gathered more than 100 community members across sectors to participate in the Housing for All Task Force which resulted in the Housing for All Toolkit.

Another priority project for Julie was improving how our community meets the health, financial stability, and educational needs of children aging out of foster care. Beginning in 2017 with grant support from REACH Healthcare Foundation, UCS led the Transitional-Age Youth (TAY) Planning Project. Focusing on young adults between 18-24, this initiative helped KS Dept. of Children and Family Services (DCF) conduct an Aged-Out Intensive Home-Based Services pilot in Johnson County, that was adopted as a state-wide component of foster care services. Bridge to Success is another TAY pilot that brought Olathe Public Schools and Johnson County Community College together to provide mentorship and supports for high school graduates as they take their next educational steps.

Launching a Racial Equity in Communities Pilot has been a focus for UCS over the last two years. Julie’s leadership was essential as UCS launched the Racial Equity in Communities pilot in 2021 with grant support from the Health Forward Foundation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and investments from participating jurisdictions. The goal of REIC is to support implementation of culturally responsive systems change in Johnson County jurisdictions that want to move beyond a symbolic awareness of racial equity towards substantive analysis, action, and accountability. UCS engaged 45 residents, staff, and elected officials from five jurisdictions in the REIC community of practice.

Under Julie’s leadership, UCS provided vital community support during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a collaborative leader and essential community partner, UCS was uniquely situated to respond to pandemic challenges. UCS represented the needs of Johnson County on local and regional funding allocation processes and community response efforts, including serving on the Johnson County COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, Johnson County CRF Community Investment Committee, KC Regional COVID 19 Community Response and Recovery Fund, and the County’s Emergency Operations Center. In 2022, UCS collaborated with the Johnson County Housing Authority to implement the new Emergency Housing Voucher program to connect residents experiencing homelessness to housing and provided facilitation and technical support between the Kansas Housing Resource Corporation, the County, United Way of Greater Kansas City, and local agency partners on the efficient and effective allocation of Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance funds and the Kansas Homeowners Assistance Fund.

The UCS Board of Directors is committed to finding a candidate who embodies the same level of dedication, passion, and expertise that Julie brought to the organization. A transition committee is being formed and a search process will begin soon. In the meantime, we are confident in the ability of our talented staff and leadership team to continue the important work of United Community Services of Johnson County.

Join us in wishing Julie well as she prepares for this transition!

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