President and CEO
“United Way is one of the most important and largest nonprofit organizations in the world, the noble work that has been done over the last century has been amazing, and I couldn’t be more honored and humbled to have been chosen to lead our local organization and represent the County of Kern at a state, nation and worldwide level. The opportunity ahead for United Way of Kern County is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly and continue to transform. A big part of my job is to bring funding and effective programs for our communities, but also to invest in my team and develop community leaders that will passionately own the brand and believe in the vision and mission of Living United.” – Mari Perez-Dowling
Mari first joined our United Way of Kern County family on October 17, 2017 as Director of Marketing and Development. She was then promoted to Interim President & CEO in April of 2018, and as of November 20, 2018 she became the permanent President and CEO of the organization.
Mari is a bilingual professional who has specialized in community education and program development within multicultural communities. Her experience also includes public and community relations, strategic planning, event planning, community engagement, volunteer engagement and media communications. She’s a creative thinker with a positive attitude, recognized for her strong leadership, and her abilities to engage different community-based organizations towards common projects promoting collaboration.
Mari’s relevant qualifications include her education background with a B.A. in Spanish Language & Literature, Teaching Credential in Single Subject/ BCLAD – Foreign Language – Spanish, M.A. in Multicultural Studies; Environmental Journalism Fellowship and News Production Fellowship. Her responsibilities include leading the organization in all its efforts to fundraise and execute programs that benefit the families and individuals of our Kern County communities.
Don joined United Way of Kern County in 1986. As Director of IT his responsibilities include installing, programming and maintaining our internal network of servers and computers. He is also responsible for programming and maintaining our campaign and financial databases insuring data integrity, provides leadership with internal processes and reporting of pledge and payment information.
Education Manager/Emergency Food & Shelter Administrator
Rachel joined United Way of Kern County in 2010. She manages all the early childhood literacy programs. She coordinates efforts among partners, stakeholders, and volunteers with an emphasis on building parents’ capacity to play the role of their child’s first teacher, making books available in the home, encouraging use of the library, and developing a love of reading. She also administers the Emergency Food and Shelter Program for the local board that distributes monies to various agencies to alleviate hunger and homelessness in Kern County.
Bere is the VITA Coordinator for the Kern VITA program in coordination with the Site Coordinators. She conducts VITA site quality review; tax return quality review processes; coordinates site coordinator training with IRS SPEC office; maintains grant funding records; develops community relationships and partnerships for volunteer recruitment, volunteer training and outreach; and she analyzes project data and conducts formative and summative program evaluations.
(661) 834-1820 Main Office
Mary has been with United Way since June of 2007. She is responsible for carrying out all financial and accounting programs and procedures; safeguarding United Way’s financial resources; ensuring maintenance of adequate systems of internal accounting controls; ensuring adherence to United Way’s financial policies; producing internal and external financial reports; and providing assistance to other departments with respect to various financial issues.
(661) 834-2952 Fax
5405 Stockdale Hwy., Suite 200
Bakersfield, CA 93309
United Way Worldwide
Members of the:
Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce
Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce