President and CEO, Augie Napoli reflects on the loss of a dear friend to United Way
Billie A. Osborne-Fears dedicated her life to working on behalf of early childhood care and education, and social services for families and youth.
Billie was a transformational leader who touched the lives of thousands of families. She was instrumental in the creation of the Early Childhood Initiative and provided leadership in increasing the community's capacity to provide quality childcare homes and centers. Billie was a proactive force in advocating for change in policies at the local, state, and federal levels to benefit, not only the children of Cuyahoga County, but all children and their families. She did all this with passion, finesse and a professionalism that never wavered.
United Way of Greater Cleveland and United Way Services of Geauga County staff had the pleasure of working with Billie on many community projects. These included early childhood education and out-of-school time programming, collaborating on a 2-1-1 HelpLink database project for Say Yes to Education, and the establishment of PRE4CLE and MyCom. As a member of United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Council on Agency Executives her expertise and wisdom stood out among non-profit executives throughout the community.
To know Billie was to love Billie in awe and admiration for her being a beautiful soulful woman, inside and outside, for her exceptional leadership skills, her high spirit and energy for monumental early childhood development programming.
In honoring Billie’s life and legacy, WE ALL must continue to carry the banner for child and youth advocacy. The legacy of her work will live on through the children she touched.
August A. Napoli
President and CEO
United Way of Greater Cleveland