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United Way Executive Director Is Leaving For CEO Position In Chicago

United Way of Central Carolinas

The executive director of the United Way of Central Carolinas announced Thursday that he will be resigning to accept a similar leadership position in Chicago.

Sean Garrett will become the chief executive of United Way of Metro Chicago but will remain in Charlotte through late September. He has been with the Central Carolinas branch since March 2015 and was the organization’s fifth leader in its 86-year history.

The organization said in a press statement Thursday that Garrett modernized the United Way operational model, and transformed the “community impact strategy” and funding process during his time in leadership. The new impact strategy aims at boosting economic mobility in the region through “focusing on improving education, health and financial stability.”

Board Chair Wes Beckner thanked Garrett for his work as the organization’s executive director.

“He has worked tirelessly to connect donors, volunteers and partners to the impact work needed in our community,” Beckner said. He also said Garrett established a strong leadership team to take over in his absence.

“I am confident the organization is in good hands and will continue its transformational work,” he said.

Garrett oversaw the launch of three major initiatives last year, including United Neighborhoods to revitalize local communities, Unite Charlotte to increase social capital and Tutor Charlotte that provides reading mentors to kids in early elementary school.

United Way also announced its investment of $24.5 million into the community, to go to the organization’s impact strategy and direct funding to certain Charlotte neighborhoods.  

Garrett said leaving Charlotte was a “difficult decision,” but will allow his family to return to Chicago where his wife’s career is based. He said he will apply what he learned in Queen City to his work in the Windy City.

“Charlotte welcomed me with open arms and afforded me the opportunity to work on our community’s most pressing issues,” Garrett said. “It has been the privilege of my career to be part of our community’s efforts to drive opportunity for all.”

The organization said the process to identify a new leader is already underway.