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Retiring United Way leader Ken Wilhelm receives Bend Chamber’s Lifetime Achievement Award

(Update: Adding video)

2022 Business Excellence Awards announced

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Bend Chamber announced Thursday that retiring long-time United Way of Central Oregon Executive Director Ken Wilhelm is receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient of the 2022 Business Excellence Awards, sponsored by US Bank and The Bulletin.

The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates the accomplishments of an individual who has had a substantial impact on our local industries and community. The recipient displays a profound level of leadership that has helped steer Bend to economic success while investing back into our community with their time and resources.

Wilhelm has provided executive leadership for United Way of Central Oregon since 1988. He has had direct responsibility for all business affairs of the organization including strategic planning, fiscal accountability, resource development, community engagement, community impact, staffing, and day-to-day operations.

He has been a pillar in the non-profit landscape in Central Oregon, connecting non-profits with needed resources and financial support. Most recently, he oversaw the organization’s expansion from the Greater Bend area to Tri-County, supporting all of Central Oregon. He’s led the effort to develop a collaborative initiative to address childhood trauma and build resilience: TRACEs.

“Ken has been a bedrock leader in our community for well over 30 years,” said Rebecca Berry, Bend Chamber Board Chair. “As the leader of United Way, he has built a culture of giving that has supported the important work of nonprofits throughout the region and improving the lives of so many in our community.”

In addition, Wilhelm built successful fundraising models for United Way of Central Oregon, including leadership and planned giving programs, and the corporate cornerstone program. During his time as executive director, he’s led United Way as it raised approximately $30 million in community fundraising. From the 2-1-1 program to Tax Aid, VITA and Thrive have all benefited from Ken’s guidance and mentoring.

Wilhlem recently announced his retirement, and the Bend Chamber welcomes you to join us for heavy appetizers, drinks and celebration on Thursday, March 3, at the Riverhouse Convention Center. We will officially recognize and celebrate Wilhlem for his accomplishments in our community and wish him well in his next journey. Tickets can be purchased at .

All 2022 Business Excellence Awards Recipients

Innovation Award 

  • Small Organization: Synergy Health and Wellness
  • Large Organization: OSU-Cascades Innovation Co-Lab

Inspiring Workplace Award

  • Small Organization: Volunteers in Medicine
  • Large Organization: Stahancyk, Kent & Hook

Community Stewardship Award

  • Small Organization: Latino Community Association
  • Large Organization: Mosaic Medical

Emerging Leader Award

  • Co-Recipient: Tyler Fix
  • Co-Recipient: Brittania Leja

Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Ken Wilhelm, United Way of Central Oregon Executive Director

Information about each of the awardees can be found here:

The Bend Chamber of Commerce strives to create an environment where businesses, their employees and our community excel together through collaboration, advocacy, resources and leadership to meet Bend’s business challenges.

Article Topic Follows: Bend

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