By Scott Meeker
Globe Staff Writer
JOPLIN, Mo. —
An open house will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. today to welcome Bev Crespino-Graham as the new executive director of the United Way of Southwest Missouri & Southeast Kansas.
But for Crespino-Graham, it’s more of a welcome home celebration.
“I was born in Pittsburg and was there until about fourth grade,” she said. “We moved here (to Joplin) and I went to Kelsey Norman, South, graduated from Parkwood and got my undergraduate degree from Southern. I have lots of family on both sides of the state line, so this is coming home for me.”
Most of her background is in working and management for nonprofits. Crespino-Graham said she has done everything from working as a live-in director for a juvenile home to running independent living programs for adults with disabilities.
She spent about six years with the United Way of Greater Topeka as the organization’s chief operating officer. Most recently, she served as analytics practice leader for Children’s Mercy Hospitals in Kansas City, working on strategic outcomes for human resources and health and wellness programs.
As the new director for the local United Way, she’ll be heading an organization that now serves a greatly expanded area. The United Way of Southwest Missouri and the United Way of Crawford County (Kan.) merged in the winter of 2011.
“(The merger) was a really positive thing, in that we can share our back-end office expenses and make sure that more dollars go to our programs,” she said.