Bob Giannino Steps in to Lead United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley as Next President and CEO

August 3, 2020

BOSTON — Bob Giannino officially begins serving in his new role today as the new President and Chief Executive Officer at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, leading the organizations’ community response to the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on vulnerable individuals and families in the region.  As its new leader, Giannino will leverage United Way’s unique role at the intersection of local corporate, nonprofit and government sectors to drive a comprehensive emergency response to the crisis and help communities to emerge stronger and more prepared for the future.

Giannino, the former Chief Executive Officer of uAspire, was unanimously selected by the United Way Board of Directors in February, 2020 and 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.

“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 during the past few months, 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.”

Since the onset of the crisis earlier this spring, United Way has raised $8.5 million from hundreds of corporate and foundation partners and thousands of individual donors.  United Way has quickly distributed more than $6.5 million to over 170 organizations in the community from its COVID-19 Family Support Fund, with the balance committed to a set of targeted initiatives and to cities where United Way has partnered to address the needs of local residents.  United Way’s COVID-19 Family Support Fund has provided:

  • $1.6M to food pantries, shelters, and other meal distribution programs, specifically for the expanded purchase of food. This money has provided food and supplies like diapers to tens of thousands of people.
  • $1.1M specifically to organizations supporting vulnerable tenants – decreasing the likelihood that these 1,300 households will face eviction when the moratorium lifts this fall.
  • $3.8M in targeted assistance to families who lost wages during the shutdown, particularly immigrant families and others not able to access unemployment insurance or stimulus funding.

In his new role as President and CEO, Giannino will 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, college and career readiness among youth, closing income disparities, and creating more permanent supportive housing for homelessness individuals, families and youth.

About Bob Giannino

A product of Somerville Public Schools, the first in his family to attend college, and a graduate of Harvard College, Giannino knows well the critical importance of financial opportunity and educational success as the foundation for a better life. His success in building deep partnerships led to the growth of uAspire from an organization impacting 1,000 students in Boston to nearly 500,000 students annually in Massachusetts, California, New York and in 25 states where uAspire trains practitioners. Under Bob’s leadership, the organization 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.

In 2015, Giannino participated in the highly-selective fellowship program of the Barr Foundation.  Fellows are selected based on their exemplary leadership, organizational impact and track record of partnership and collaboration. Through its fellowship program, the Barr Foundation seeks to develop leaders and organizations who partner with and build the capacity of underserved constituencies and communities.  Giannino has also served as a faculty member of the Institute for Nonprofit Practice for five years.

Giannino’s appointment was the result of a professionally managed search process that cast a wide net with consideration of over 180 potential candidates. In-depth feedback from external and internal stakeholders — including hundreds of staff members, key donors and dozens of community and agency partners — informed the criteria for the search for the organization’s new leader. These stakeholders identified seven key areas on which the selection of President and CEO should be based, including skills and experience; strategic leadership and implementation; diversity, equity and inclusion; visibility and influence; evolution and change management; team building; and digital enablement.

The Search Committee was co-chaired by Tim Connelly, retired partner of Brown Brothers Harriman and Jan Cooper, retired director at Deloitte and included a variety of community and business representatives, including Jeff Bray of Rapid 7, Jacques Carter of Harvard Medical School, Penni Conner of Eversource, Rita German of John Hancock, Dan Griggs of TD Bank, Patti Kraft of The Kraft Group, Steve Krichmar of Krichmar & Associates LLC, John Mang, Debbie Rambo, retired CEO of Catholic Charities Boston, Jane Steinmetz of EY, Jon Swan of Boston Consulting Group and  James Westra of Advent International.

Prior to joining uAspire, Giannino served in several senior level management positions at Jumpstart for Young Children, including as Vice President of Business Development & Government Relations and three years as Executive Director of Jumpstart Boston.

Bob serves on numerous Boards including the governing boards of, Y2Y Network, the National Gay Flag Football League, and Root Cause and the Advisory Boards for SCS Noonan Scholars and Excel Academy Charter Schools.

His leadership has been recognized by New Profit, Freedom House, Year Up, Social Capital Inc, the Boston Business Journal, the Harvard Club of Boston, and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. He resides in East Boston with his husband Cameron.