Chicago, IL, July 26, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- United Way of Metro Chicago today announced that it has named Sean Garrett as President & CEO. He succeeds Wendy DuBoe, who announced in March that she was stepping down after six years in the role. Sean will assume leadership in October.

“While I will greatly miss the Charlotte community, I am proud of our collective efforts to galvanize the community to address our most pressing issue: economic mobility. I am particularly proud of our work through Unite Charlotte and United Neighborhoods to take head on issues of racial equity and neighborhood revitalization,” said Garrett. “Joining United Way of Metro Chicago allows me the opportunity to apply the lessons learned in Charlotte on a much larger scale, while returning with my family to the city where I started my career.”

As President & CEO, Sean will provide strategic leadership to one of the leading members of the United Way system - overseeing a staff of 80, and annual budget of over $55 million. In 2017, United Way of Metro Chicago partnered with more than 825 corporations and 175 agencies, enlisted the support of 5,000 volunteers, and engaged over 70,000 donors to achieve the organization’s objectives.

“Throughout the search process, we were impressed with Sean’s authentic leadership style, strong relationships, and the partnerships he has created with corporations, foundations and donors.  He and his team developed strong ties in Charlotte by providing funding for initiatives and programs designed to improve economic mobility and meet the diverse needs of the communities they served,” said United Way of Metro Chicago Board Chairman and KPMG Chicago office Managing Partner, Pat Canning.

Sean has spent his entire career with United Way, most recently serving as Executive Director, United Way of Central Carolinas. Prior to that, he served in a number of positions at United Way Worldwide, eventually being named Vice President, Development. Before United Way Worldwide, Sean worked for United Way of Metro Chicago as Director, Major Gifts. He began his career as a Community Fellow at United Way of Dane County.

At United Way of Central Carolinas, Sean led a modernization of the organization’s operational model and oversaw a transformation of its community impact strategy that works to boost economic mobility across the region, while also helping provide a safety net for people and families in need.

Under his leadership, in the last year, the organization launched United Neighborhoods to drive neighborhood revitalization, Tutor Charlotte to provide reading mentors for children in grades K-3, and Unite Charlotte, to provide early funding for organizations and programs designed to improve economic mobility through social justice initiatives that specifically address racial equity, poverty, civil rights and/or access and inclusion. Unite Charlotte has since become one of the organization’s core strategic priorities.

“Sean understands that economic and social mobility create greater opportunity for all,” said United Way Worldwide President and CEO, Brian Gallagher. “Sean and I have worked together for years to find new ways to help individuals and families lead better lives and build stronger communities. United Way of Metro Chicago is getting one of our very best.”

As President and CEO, Sean will utilize those experiences to lead the work of United Way of Metro Chicago’s Neighborhood Network Initiative. Working with a leading community organization, United Way of Metro Chicago helps neighborhoods solve their most pressing problems through community-focused collaboration. Community stakeholders−residents, schools, nonprofits, government officials, churches, hospitals, businesses−lead the work by identifying their greatest challenges that the community partners will work toward solving. United Way is currently working with ten neighborhood communities across Chicago. They include: Brighton Park, West Chicago, Austin, Evanston, Little Village, Auburn Gresham, Blue Island/Robbins, Bronzeville, Cicero, and South Chicago. 

Canning added, “United Way is one of the most respected and impactful social services organizations in Chicago, and I have seen firsthand the impact of the investment that the Neighborhood Initiative can have on Chicago’s youth and families. I believe that Sean has the direct experience and alignment with our vision to improve lives at greater scale in these neighborhoods.”

United Way of Metro Chicago is part of a network of nearly 1,300 community-based United Ways in 45 countries and territories. United Way Worldwide is the largest nonprofit in the world, raising $5 billion annually in support of families and individuals in need.

Sean was honored by the Charlotte Business Journal with inclusion in its inaugural class of Most Admired CEOs in 2018, and is a member of the 2016 class of Charlotte's 40 Under 40. He and his wife, Emily, a banker with J.P. Morgan Capital Corp., have two young children.

Koya Leadership Partners, led by Alison Ranney, managing partner and head of the Chicago office, was retained and managed the search for the new President & CEO.


About United Way of Metro Chicago

United Way of Metro Chicago fights for the health, education, financial stability and safety of every person in every neighborhood across the region. We are unleashing the potential of greater Chicago on both a regional and neighborhood level by focusing on the building blocks for thriving people and communities: Access to quality health care, a good education, financial stability and ensuring people are safe. United Way’s Neighborhood Network Initiative supports and coordinates investment and programming in 10 city and suburban communities to address community challenges and improve the lives of residents. Join the fight at

Kiara Goodwin
United Way of Metro Chicago