United Way Announces Lisa Rowan-Gillis as Chief Development Officer

February 2, 2016

Lisa Rowan Gillis for webBOSTON – United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley today announced that Lisa Rowan-Gillis, a skilled nonprofit executive who understands the needs and challenges facing families and children in the region, will join the organization as Chief Development Officer beginning February 8.  In this role, Rowan-Gillis will lead the fundraising and development efforts for United Way and its efforts to engage individual donors and local corporations in meaningful philanthropic and volunteer partnerships to help ensure families and children have the economic and educational opportunities to thrive.

Rowan-Gillis previously led development and marketing efforts for the Home for Little Wanderers, where she led a successful $23 million capital campaign and managed major gifts and agency support from individuals, corporations and foundations.  Most recently she has been in a leadership role at Boston College as Executive Director of Advancement Communications and Marketing.

“Lisa has deep knowledge of the nonprofit sector and extensive experience raising funds for the community from diverse sources of individual, corporate and foundation giving,” said Michael K. Durkin, President and Chief Executive Officer at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.  “Her skills will help United Way accelerate our efforts to broaden and deepen engagement among our donors and corporate partners to create change that lasts.”

“It’s an honor and a privilege to accept this role in United Way, and I look forward to continuing its tradition of excellence,” said Rowan-Gillis. “For more than 125 years, United Way has been providing solutions to some of America’s most challenging social problems. As a former social worker, I am thrilled to join an organization that makes such an incredible impact on our most vulnerable children and families.”

United Way funds support over 180 community-based organizations in the region that are focused on helping  low-income families secure jobs and safe, stable housing and ensuring young children enter school ready to succeed and young people stay on track in school to graduate.  Last year, United Way funding of these community partners helped over 9,400 families avoid homelessness and secure housing.  Over 14,000 young children received high quality early childhood education to better prepare them for kindergarten and over 24,000 youth received the academic supports to ensure educational success.

In her role as Chief Development Officer, Rowan-Gillis will also lead efforts to engage donors and corporate partners in United Way’s key initiatives, including:

  • A network of Financial Stability Centers in Boston, Quincy, Lawrence, Chelsea and Lynn that provide financial coaching and a range of housing and employment services to low-income individuals. In 2015, these centers helped 202 people find jobs. In addition, clients saw a median increase of $469 in their monthly net income, a median increase of $3,588 in their net worth and a median increase of 31 points in credit scores.
  • A nationally-recognized Summer Learning Collaborative, which provides literacy activities to prevent learning loss during the summer months to more than 3,000 children grades K-3 throughout the region.  Evaluations show 85% of participating children avoid summer learning loss and 69% maintain or increase their reading skills.
  • BoSTEM, a new partnership between United Way, Citizen Schools, Boston After School & Beyond and Boston Public Schools to close the STEM achievement gap among middle school students by 2020.
  • The Commonwealth’s first-in-the-nation Pay for Success initiative, in partnership with the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance, Corporation for Supportive Housing and Santander, to cut chronic individual homelessness in half.