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Photo: United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.
Photo: United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.

United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey appoints Managing Director of Leadership Equity

Kelly Woodland, a fierce advocate for leaders of color, will lead efforts in advancing the nonprofit’s commitment toward racial equity.

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In an effort to stay true to its commitment toward addressing a lack of diversity among nonprofit leaders, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) has appointed Kelly Woodland as its new Managing Director of Leadership Equity.

The position was established as a direct result of UWGPSNJ-funded research into racial disparities among leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors in Greater Philadelphia.

Woodland’s primary focus in this newly-created role will be to advance racial equity in the region’s nonprofit sector, which will ultimately lead to designing and launching a centralized leadership hub to improve equity in the nonprofit sectors, as well as grantmaking institutions. 

“At United Way, it is important that we not only study existing systemic inequities, but that we take it one step further to correct them,” said Bill Golderer, CEO & President of UWGPSNJ.

Throughout his professional career, Woodland has been a fierce advocate for leaders of color. In 2011, he co-founded the Philadelphia African American Leadership Forum (PAALF) to promote organizational sustainability among African American-led nonprofit agencies in Philadelphia. 

The PAALF commissioned the first-ever comprehensive research study of African American led nonprofit agencies in Philadelphia, which was released in 2016 and funded by the UWGPSNJ. 

The establishment of the new Managing Director of Leadership Equity role is a follow-up to that study, and serves as an advancement to that research. 

“Kelly was instrumental in the research conducted in 2016 and 2022, and there is no one more qualified than he is to put a plan of action together to create real change—both within our organization and throughout the Philadelphia region,” added Golderer. 

Kelly Woodland will serve in the newly-created role of Managing Director of Leadership Equity for UWGPSNJ. Photo Courtesy of UWGPSNJ.
Kelly Woodland will serve in the newly-created role of Managing Director of Leadership Equity for UWGPSNJ. Photo Courtesy of UWGPSNJ. 

As Managing Director of Leadership Equity, Woodland will be responsible for developing and leading strategies to advance racial equity across the region’s philanthropic sector; focus on the design and implementation of a centralized hub to offer best-in-class knowledge and resources, research and data, and collaborative strategies to promote leadership advancement, equitable grant making and inclusive decision making.

He will also identify and create opportunities for Black nonprofit leaders to support their overall advancement and growth.

Woodland noted that it is critical that United Way does all it can to mitigate the damage of the years and years of systemic racism.

“Fundamentally, racial equity in the nonprofit sector is simply good business. It’s not enough to say we are working to serve marginalized communities if we don’t involve these folks in the creation and delivery of solutions and strategies,” said Woodland. 

“I am looking forward to creating new partnerships designed specifically to support organizations led by people of color, identifying future leaders with potential across our footprint, and elevating grassroots organizations with authentic community roots and reach,” he continued. 

Among his career achievement include creating the Franklin Institute’s first STEM program targeting youth of color when he was project manager for the museum; spearheading the Point Breeze community’s first neighborhood strategic plan — aimed at increasing affordable housing development and broad revitalization efforts — as leader of the Eighteenth Street Development Corporation; creating a neighborhood based Youth Development Initiative (YDI) that focused on creating a centralized data collection system in communities and improving quality youth development. 

In his most recent role as Executive Director for After School All Stars Philadelphia and Camden, Woodland led the chapter’s expansion into Camden, New Jersey and increased the number of program sites from three to 13. He also coordinated and managed a math and science based pre-college program for more than 250 Black and Latino high school students from Philadelphia and Camden through PRIME, Inc. 

“His nonprofit executive and grant making experience, as well as his many years of voluntary leadership in this space, make him uniquely positioned to advance our efforts in racial equity,” noted Golderer. 

Woodland will officially join UWGPSNJ beginning Monday, July 18.

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