Sheena Wright Becomes First African-American Female President & CEO of United Way of NYC

October 8, 2012  |  

There’s a new sister in charge. Sheena Wright has been named the new president and CEO of United Way of NYC, effective mid-November.

With this appointment, Wright is making history. She will be the first woman—and thus first African-American woman — in the organization’s 75-year history to lead United Way of NYC, an organization that fights poverty across the city. It focuses on improving education, bolstering income stability and building healthier communities.

Prior to this, Wright served as president and CEO of Abyssinian Development Corporation (ADC), a Harlem-based community development organization, starting in 2002. She’s also a former board member of United Way of NYC. A lawyer by training, Wright will succeed Gordon J. Campbell, who led the organization from 2007 until September 1 of this year.

“In what will be our 75th anniversary year, Sheena’s hiring as our first female president is historic,” said United Way of NYC board chair Bob Kueppers in a press release. “Sheena is someone who is deeply committed to our city’s neediest residents, and has demonstrated tremendous leadership and success in delivering on that commitment.”

“I grew up in the South Bronx with a teen mother who raised my sister and me by herself,” said Wright in a press statement. “The strength and fortitude of my mother combined with the help of community programs allowed me to accomplish everything I have today.”

Wright hopes to have the same success at United Way as she did at ADC. During her tenure, ADC built 785 units of residential housing in 78 buildings and nearly a half million square feet of community, commercial and retail space, including the first new high school building in Harlem in 50 years, creating over 1,000 jobs in the process.

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