In this interview, Valley of the Sun United Way president and CEO Merl Waschler discusses his experience and learnings from serving as the backbone support for the initiative Thriving Together.

Merl Waschler leads Valley of the Sun United Way as President and Chief Executive Officer. He guides the strategic direction of the largest nonprofit investor in health and human services programs in Maricopa County. Under his leadership, United Way leverages the expertise and passion of 90,000 individual donors, more than 700 business supporters, volunteers, partners and staff.

Valley of the Sun United Way is the backbone organization for Thriving Together, the collective impact partnership established to improve academic and non-academic youth outcomes and prepare students for college and career success. Thriving Together brings together partners in the education, business, faith-based and non-profit sectors and the broader community to set birth-to-career goals and create a civic infrastructure to achieve those goals.