A Change in Leadership

A Change in Leadership

“Together, we will invest in, and unlock, new approaches that garner the attention and resources we need to achieve our vision and mission.” – Bob Giannino  

A product of Somerville Public Schools, the first in his family to attend college, and a graduate of Harvard College, Bob Giannino knows well the critical importance of  education and equity in opportunity as the foundation for a better life.  

This passion led Giannino to serve apresident and CEO of uAspire, an organization that ensures young people have the financial resources and information necessary to provide an affordable path to college.  During his 15 years at uAspire, Giannino led its growth from an organization impacting 1,000 students in Boston to nearly 500,000 students annually across the country. 

In February, 2020, the Board of Directors of  United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley unanimously approved the appointment of Giannino to serve as the organization’s next President and Chief Executive Officer. Giannino succeeded President and CEO Michael K. Durkin, who retired in July, 2020 after serving 43 years with United Way. 

Giannino has been widely praised for his ability to bring a track record of results, new perspectives, and access to new networks and partnerships to the organization.  Under his leadership, uAspire raised more than $100 million in philanthropic commitments from major and institutional donors.  He is known for his ability to innovate and try new approaches, along with a track record of growth and sustainability. 

“Throughout the search process, Bob was consistently praised by colleagues and other stakeholders for his exceptional leadership capabilities, visionary, yet ‘sleeves up’ approach, and as a champion for diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Penni McLean-Conner, Chief Customer Officer at Eversource and Chair of the Board of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.    

Giannino assumed his new role on August 1, 2020 in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis. He has continued to lead United Way’s community response to the COVID19 crisis as well as the organization’s efforts to mobilize donor and volunteers around its key focus areas of early childhood development, permanent supportive housing for homelessness individuals, families and youth and closing income disparities. 

“United Way plays a critical and essential role in ensuring our region meets the enormous challenges created by COVID19,” Giannino said.  “During my conversations with corporate and community leaders, it has become clear that United Way’s expertise around the issues facing cities and towns as well as the human services network across our region, is invaluable to addressing the devastating impact COVID19 is having on vulnerable populations. Together, we will overcome this public health and economic crisis and empower all of our communities to rebuild more equitable and more resilient than ever.” 

A Legacy of Service.

Michael K. Durkin, President and CEO of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, retired in July, 2020 after 12 years of steadfast and inspirational leadership in our region and 43 years of serving United Ways around the country.  

From the first day he volunteered at the Haley House as a student at Boston College, to the winter in Denver when the homeless crisis was so acute he opened up the offices of the United Way as a temporary homeless shelter, Mike has always stayed steadfastly focused on helping people in their time of need.   

Since joining our United Way in 2008, Mike has positively impacted the lives of millions of vulnerable individuals, children and families – raising more than $550 million for our region and mobilizing the time and talent of thousands of volunteers.  

As we think about Mike and his career, his last few months demonstrate the kind of leader he has been – staying engaged and focused in his final weeks before retirement on helping people most in need, and raising more than $9M to help those most impacted by the COVID19 crisis.

From all of us here at United Way – thanks for everything, Mike, you’ll be missed!