Donor Profile: Susan Clopton and the Science of Fixing Things

Susan Clopton is good at fixing things. Her approach is to analyze until she finds the best “pathway to improvement.” It was a skill she first honed as a child playing chess. She scrutinized the checkered board and pieces, the interplay, and options before making a move.

She carried her skill into adulthood as a consultant working on Massachusetts school integration issues in the seventies. Other schools took note of her work, and she ended up doing integration work in Greenville, SC. It was in Greenville that Susan was exposed to United Way. There, United Way supported a lot of programs linked to the schools. “I quickly saw the value United Way brought to the efforts,” says Clopton.

Back home, Susan and her husband John started giving to United Way of Hampshire County and Susan was recruited to help with a United Way program, Success by Six. In 2007, the United Way board asked Susan to be interim executive director. Her tenure at the helm of United Way was productive as she re-organized United Way for incoming executive director John Ebbets.

As she found out more about United Way, Susan and her husband John decided to step up to become Tocqueville donors. “United Way is all about finding the right pathway to improvement,” says Clopton. “They look at things holistically. There is no way for us to piece together all that is needed. Social issues can be too complex. United Way bring in the experts and we rely on that expertise to make sure our donation is on the right pathway to improvement.”