Meredith Mooney steps aside from Keizer United

Former president of Keizer United, a Keizer-based nonprofit,
Meredith Mooney. Submitted photo

After eight years with Keizer United, the last seven as president of the board, Keizerite Meredith Mooney is stepping aside just as the organization is changing. 

Mooney is stepping aside to focus more on her family, including husband Randy, and their two daughters. She also will concentrate on her future employment.

To the uninitiated, Keizer United is a Community Partnership team which brings people together, mostly nonprofits and schools, cities, state and county.

“All these bring partners together so that they can hear what each organization is doing,” described Mooney, “ To identify extra resources or gaps in service.”

Mooney described Keizer United as a place to link arms, support one another, without recreating the wheel. 

The McNary High School graduate is a consummate volunteer. She currently sits on the Valor Mentoring Advisory Council and volunteers at the Keizer Community Library. Another activity she has been involved with was the Blue Birds. 

Having led a group with various non-profit organizations and government agencies, Mooney has her finger on the pulse of the community. 

What she has learned about the community while serving as Keizer United president is that “People really do like to be together; that was really affirmed during COVID, Mooney said. 

“People just want to work together, support one another, encourage one another. I’ve had people say, ‘this is the funnest meeting I come to.’ I think it’s a welcoming place.” 

What Mooney learned about h e r self,while serving as president, was more personal. 

She said she realized she could help lead a non-profit organization and a community partnership team. 

“I got done homeschooling my girls and so I could volunteer more. And so I started volunteering at Whiteaker, at the community center and Keizer United, and then at Church of the Park, I was all over the place and then I just cut it back down. But I learned that I could help grow a group of people that wanted to be together and work together for the good of our city,” Mooney said. 

As to be expected, Mooney is an advocate for volunteering. “I think, honestly, people don’t know that they need one another, or that people don’t know about their city,” she explained. 

“People just don’t know there’s a place for them. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re coming from, there is a place for you at the table and you can help form this city and make it stronger.” 

Keizer United’s mission has remained steady for almost 20 years: to offer a forum for Keizer to recognize and assist resident needs through collaboration. 

In the current fiscal year, for example, Keizer United received a total of $4,000 from the City of Keizer and the Salem Leadership Foundation, money that was then granted to other organizations including the Keizer Network of Women’s Christmas Basket project, the Peggy and Jerry Moore Garden in Keizer, a project at Union Gospel Mission’s Simonka Place. 

This year Keizer United has accrued more than 2,000 volunteer hours plus almost 800 hours of Community Partner hours; together it had a combined value of almost $120,000. According to its annual report, for every $1 given, Keizer United Partners returned $27.05 to the community. 

Mooney leaves Keizer United as it prepares to reorganize. The non-profit has been dissolved and will come under the umbrella of the Salem Leadership Foundation (SLF). 

“We dissolved the nonprofit status because nobody wanted to run the nonprofit. I didn’t even realize I was running a nonprofit,” Mooney said. 

Keizer United will continue to serve in some capacities as far as a secretary, but there will be no official leadership roles filled. 

“So we’re using their (SLF) scaffolding. They’ve already been supporting us financially and matching the City of Keizer’s funding for all the years that we’ve been doing this.” 

Mooney explained that Keizer United will have more funding, it will have more resources and opportunities for grant writing. 

“Keizer United is going to grow in depth and maybe even numbers,” she said. 

It will still be Keizer United; though it will operate under the SLF umbrella, the understanding is that KU will remain Keizer-centric. “They will have no say in what we do,” Mooney added. 

Jennifer Palanuk of Keizer will step into Mooney’s role for the time being. 

Contact Publisher Lyndon Zaitz:
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

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