United Way’s board of directors to launch search for new leader
Today, United Way of Northeast Florida announced President and CEO Michelle Braun will retire from the organization at the end of April. Braun has served in the role since 2014.
“We are deeply grateful to Michelle for her tireless efforts and for leading the exceptional United Way team who, together, have worked to make Northeast Florida a better place to live and work for all,” said Jim Stepnoski, chairman of the board, United Way of Northeast Florida.
Since her tenure as president and CEO began, Braun has been instrumental in the success of numerous United Way initiatives. During her tenure, United Way invested more than $100 million in local nonprofits and partnerships to meet comprehensive basic needs and improve health, education and financial stability in Duval, Baker, Clay, Nassau and northern St. Johns counties.
In partnership with other community organizations, Braun also helped United Way lead a collaborative effort to form the First Coast Relief Fund, which provided millions of dollars in grants to hundreds of thousands of families in Northeast Florida and more than 85 nonprofit agencies following hurricanes Matthew and Irma as well as to assist with immediate needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, Braun helped modernize United Way’s business model and, under her leadership, United Way received a $20 million gift – the largest single donation in the organization’s 98-year history – from renowned philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott. Braun also helped secure a $1 million lead gift from Miller Electric Company and its CEO Henry Brown to support United Way’s leadership on race equity and social justice.
United Way has formed a search committee and will immediately launch the search for the organization’s next president and CEO. Throughout this search and transition, United Way and its community partners will continue their important work addressing immediate challenges of individuals and families in Northeast Florida while also making long-term investments that tackle the root causes of these issues.
“Our mission, as it has been since United Way of Northeast Florida’s inception in 1924, is to help solve our community’s toughest challenges, and that mission will continue unabated as we search for the next leader to guide the organization into the future,” said Mike Herman, vice chairman of United Way’s board. “Our close, collaborative relationships with community partners, volunteers and donors will endure and only help us grow even stronger to make more positive change possible for those struggling in our community. Michelle has graciously agreed to stay with United Way until the end of April to work with the board and her successor to ensure a smooth transition. As we embark on our search for the next leader, the needs of our community and our dedicated team will remain paramount.”
“I’m so proud of United Way of Northeast Florida and what we have accomplished through our incredible staff, our board of directors, community partners, volunteers and generous donors, who together have made this tremendous United Way what it is,” Braun said. “After more than seven years leading this amazing organization, I look forward to life’s next chapter. As the search committee works to choose United Way’s next forward-thinking leader, I am committed to helping ensure the transition is successful and smooth and assisting in any way I can. It is critical United Way continues delivering on our ambitious goals to help every person in Northeast Florida have hope and reach their full potential.”
For more information on the work of United Way of Northeast Florida and its partners, visit unitedwaynefl.org. To request a media interview with United Way board leadership or Braun, contact Sarah Henderson, United Way’s director of marketing and communications, at 904-300-8366 or firstname.lastname@example.org.