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United Way leader retiring

Spokane County United Way President Victor Forni is taking early retirement, the campaign’s board chairman said Friday.

Forni officially had been “on leave” as recently as Friday morning, but Chairman John Tombari said later in the day the staff was being told Forni was retiring and a formal announcement had been scheduled for next week.

“Mr. Forni has elected to take early retirement to pursue other interests,” Tombari said. “We’re going to miss Vic. Is the timing the greatest? No. But we’ve got a great staff.”

United Way is in the middle of its annual campaign, which has a record fundraising goal of $5.1 million.

Tombari declined to discuss the shift from Forni being on leave to retiring, saying “we can’t comment on anything related to personnel matters.”

Forni said Friday he is considering two different prospects in human service organizations that he has worked with as a volunteer, and he also wants time to help care for an aging family member. He has worked for United Way for 22 years, being named interim president in 1997 and hired to the permanent position in 1998. He worked for Catholic Charities before coming to United Way.

He took a sabbatical over a six-month period in 2004 and 2005 because he was, in his own words, burned out.

“I’m not necessarily burned out now, but these opportunities that I’m looking at are a little different,” Forni said.

Although United Way is in the middle of its annual fundraising drive, Forni said the organization has a campaign director in charge of that work. He was in charge of the permanent staff that oversees operations from day to day and year to year.

Janice Marich, the vice president of communications and strategic planning, has been named interim president until the board can conduct a search for a permanent replacement.