United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley Appoints Bob Giannino as Next President and CEO

February 28, 2020

Selected for His Ability to Deliver New Perspectives and Drive New Partnerships, Giannino Will Lead Organization’s Work to Create Positive, Lasting Change for People in Need

The Board of Directors of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley has unanimously approved the appointment of Bob Giannino, Chief Executive Officer of uAspire, to serve as the organization’s next President and Chief Executive Officer. Following a robust search process, Giannino was selected for his ability to bring a track record of results, new perspectives, and access to new networks and partnerships to the organization. Giannino will begin serving in the role this summer when current CEO Michael K. Durkin retires in July after 43 years with United Way.

“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.  “We know Bob will lead us in convening the right partners and resources as we work to tackle our communities’ greatest challenges: income inequality, intergenerational poverty and homelessness, the skills gap, and the need to lay a solid foundation for young people to go on and lead successful lives.”

”As an expert on college access and affordability for youth from underserved communities, Bob has spent his career committed to ensuring our young people have access to resources to pursue opportunities in higher education,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh.  “At United Way, Bob will continue to be a champion in the community for those most in need and will fuel efforts to create upward economic mobility for individuals, children and families in our region.”

New Perspectives and Partnerships

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 partnership with the Board of Directors and the talented staff, I am looking forward to amplifying the impact that United Way, its donors, and partners are having, and wish to have, on the communities, people and issues we care about,” said Giannino.  “Together, we will invest in, and unlock, new approaches that garner the attention and resources we need to achieve our vision and mission.”

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.

“Bob has been a critical member of our faculty team committed to developing the next generation of nonprofit leaders that will affect real, sustainable progress in the communities they serve,” said Yolanda Coentro, President and Chief Executive Officer at the Institute for Nonprofit Practice. “His energy, optimism and inclusive nature is contagious, and his commitment to bringing out the best in organizations and communities will serve United Way and its constituencies well.”

Robust Search Process

Giannino’s appointment is 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 Rapid7, 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 Idealist.org, Y2Y Network, the National Gay Flag Football League, and Root Cause and the Advisory Boards for SCS Noonan Scholars, ScholarJet, 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.