Dave Carothers. Photo courtesy United Way of San Diego County.

United Way of San Diego County has named two community leaders — an award-winning employment attorney and a veteran educator — to key positions on its board of directors.

Dave Carothers, a partner at Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger, steps up as chairman of the board. Richard Pattenaude, president emeritus at Ashford University, becomes vice chair for the next two years, leading up to the nonprofit’s centennial celebration.

“My journey to where I am today was not free of challenges,” said Carothers, “and I am grateful for organizations such as United Way for their investment in providing resources for underserved children and families. Serving on the board of one of San Diego’s most respected charities is my honor, especially being among peers collaborating for local solutions and with the shared vision of a community encouraging opportunity for all.”

As chair, Carothers will serve on the executive committee, lead the 27-member volunteer board of directors and provide general oversight of board policy implementation. He brings more than 30 years of legal practice to the courtroom. He has tried more than 75 cases to verdict in jurisdictions throughout California. His clients include educational institutions, national retail chains, religious organizations and more.

Carothers was appointed to the Fair Employment and Housing Commission by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in November 2008 and has served on the boards of the Neighborhood House Association, the San Diego Police Review Board and the Inner City Games Foundation. He also served in the Navy from 1975 to 1979 and was awarded the Navy/Marine Corp Expeditionary Medal for services related to Iran.

As vice chair, Pattenaude will serve on the executive committee and will perform the duties of chair in Carothers’ absence. He will also chair the campaign cabinet, leading a team of executive volunteers to develop and deepen relationships with United Way’s top corporate partners and work to develop relationships with future San Diego company partners.

“When I came to San Diego from Maine, I reached out to learn about the local United Way. It was a delightful surprise to learn that the primary focus was on education for kids,” said Pattenaude. “As an educator, I believe deeply in that purpose as it leads to success in school, career and life. It is an honor to be elected to a leadership role for this dynamic organization that is so essential to our community.”

Pattenaude has a long tenure in higher education, most recently as president of Ashford University from 2012-2015, where he oversaw the school’s range of associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs available online. His previous roles include president of the University of Southern Maine and chancellor of the University of Maine System. He is also an Army veteran who served one year in Vietnam.

“These are engaged, invested members of our board who will bring their passions and expertise to the leadership level,” said President and CEO Laurie Coskey. “I know they will shepherd our mission to elevate the possibilities for San Diego’s youngest community members and the next generation. We are grateful to have captured the energies of these extraordinary community leaders.”

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