United Way for Southeastern Michigan Announces Washtenaw Woman of the Year

Michigan Medicine Director of Community Health Services Alfreda Rooks to be honored

ANN ARBOR, MI — December 5, 2023 – Michigan Medicine Director of Community Health Services Alfreda Rooks, has been selected by United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s Women United group as the 2024 Washtenaw Woman of the Year. Mrs. Rooks will be honored at the organization’ annual Power of the Purse event on March 20, 2024, taking place at the Morris Lawrence Building on the campus of Washtenaw Community College.

“Alfreda exemplifies what the Power of the Purse initiative is about: women taking action to address community issues,” said Pam Smith, United Way for Southeastern Michigan senior advisor, and member of the Power of the Purse committee. “Alfreda’s caring spirit and generous commitment has changed our community for the better. Her passion for people also extends into the University of Michigan community. She has been the workplace campaign co-chair for three years, as well as being an active volunteer for United Way and other community nonprofits. Her caring sprit and generous commitment have changed our community for the better and we are proud to acknowledge her with this award.”

Rooks was chosen by the Power of the Purse committee for her commitment to the community and her accomplishments in business innovation, the local food system, and community philanthropy and volunteerism.

“I am honored to receive this recognition from United Way,” says Rooks. “I believe that because of what I have been given, it is expected that I will give back. That is what comes with the seat that I sit in, where I am at in the generations of the family. It’s not just about giving back to my family, but it is giving back to make whatever little corner of the world I have a little bit better.”

“When I think about being in and giving back to community, it’s not so much of a give back, it’s a mutually beneficial exchange. Everybody I come into contact with I learn from and even though I may give them something, I’m getting back more than I give.”

Rooks is a Healthcare Administration Professional with more than 20 years of experience in Healthcare Program Leadership. She has a passion for community service and problem-solving, which is evident in her work as the Director of Community Health Services at the University of Michigan/Michigan Medicine. She leads efforts to improve health outcomes and equity of care through programs and services addressing the social determinants of health.

Women United is a United Way national network of more than 55,000 members in 137 U.S. communities, and the most successful philanthropic effort of its kind. Locally the UWWC (United Way of Washtenaw County) Women’s Leadership Initiative has granted more than $250,000 through the Power of the Purse event, benefiting programs promoting women’s success and self-sufficiency.

Woman of the Year was established in 2009 as an initiative of United Way of Washtenaw County. The tradition continues following the recent merger with United Way for Southeastern Michigan. Previous recipients include Kathy Sample, Jimena Loveluck, Eileen Spring, Molly Dobson, Dr. Lori Pierce, Cecilia Fileti, Cynthia Wilbanks, Verna McDaniel, Beth Fitzsimmons, Martha Darling, Pat Warner, Denise Rabidoux and Lucy Ann Lance. The 2024 Power of the Purse Event will be chaired by Lynette Findley.

For more information on Power of the Purse and Women United, visit our website at Women United – United Way for Southeastern Michigan (unitedwaysem.org).

Media Contact:
Jerome Espy for United Way
(248) 417-9567 (mobile)

About United Way for Southeastern Michigan 
United Way for Southeastern Michigan, a member of the United Way Worldwide network and an independently governed 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, works to help households become stable and ensure children have the support they need to thrive. For more than one hundred years, United Way has been a leader in creating positive, measurable, and sustainable change in communities throughout southeast Michigan. United Way works in partnership with donors, agencies, corporate and municipal partners to help families meet their basic needs of housing, food, health care and family finances, and ensure children start school ready to learn and graduate ready for life. To give, advocate, volunteer or learn more, visit UnitedWaySEM.org.