For the first time in its 125 years of existence, the President of the United Way is an African American woman. In 2009, United Way America merged with United Way International to create United Way Worldwide – becoming the world’s largest charity, with more than 1,800 local organizations in 41 countries and territories. On September 25, 2012 the newly formed United Way Worldwide made history by announcing the appointment of Stacey D. Stewart as President of United Way U.S.A. – the American iteration of the multinational United Way Program, which currently consists of a network of more than 1,200 members throughout the country.
With a reinvigorated commitment to strengthen the organization’s U.S. network, Stewart was the ideal candidate for this new role. Prior to this appointment Stewart served as Executive Vice President of Community Impact Leadership and Learning at United Way Worldwide. Before joining United Way, Stewart scaled Fannie Mae’s corporate ladder, ascending from President and Chief Executive Officer for the Fannie Mae Foundation to Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Vice President for the Office of Community and Charitable Giving.
In her current role as President of United Way USA, Stewart concedes that her goals for the organization are rather ambitious. However her track record of professional success along with the recent advances already achieved during her short tenure as President serve as a glimmer of light for United Way’s future under her direction and leadership. Much of her focus will be on community development and empowerment, with particular emphasis on education, poverty and health care. These three pillars represent what Steward considers “the building blocks for a good quality of life.” She intends to “deeply penetrate communities of color so that people see the United Way as an organization that’s relevant to them, that is trusted by them and that is working on behalf of communities and those neighborhoods as they work broadly across the county.”