Chief Impact Officer of Metro United Way tapped to lead organization into the next chapter


Louisville, Ky. (July 12, 2021) – Metro United Way (MUW) is pleased to announce that Adria Johnson will be the organization’s new President and CEO and will step into the role on August 1 following an extensive national search.

The search committee, comprised of members of the Board of Directors and regional community, unanimously confirmed the selection. The committee was co-led by Ashley Duncan, MUW’s Board Vice Chair and Vice President/Director of Inclusion at Republic Bank, and Kent Blake, MUW’s immediate past Board Chair and Chief Financial Officer at LG&E KU.

 “On behalf of the board, I want to congratulate and welcome Adria to this key leadership position within our community,” said Duncan. “Throughout the search process, we were impressed with her authentic and collaborative leadership style, and of course her relevant experience.”

Blake added, “Louisville needs a strong, visionary leader at MUW with a passion for the community. Adria has helped lead MUW through the transition from a historical pass-through fundraising organization to a transformational change organization and we couldn’t be happier that she will continue this work as CEO.”

Johnson is a native Louisvillian and held the position of Chief Impact Officer at MUW for almost three years. In that role she worked with key stakeholders across all seven counties that MUW serves and led the impact team which is the largest department at MUW. She had strategic and operational responsibility for developing and implementing programming and investment approaches for MUW’s collective impact efforts. Before that, she was Commissioner at the Department for Community Based Services for Kentucky State Government where she led a workforce of 4,600 staff and oversaw an operating budget of $1 billion. Johnson also has experience at the city government level where she served as the Assistant Director at the Department of Housing and Family Services for Louisville Metro Government.

She brings more than 27 years of experience in the public and private sectors and is an accomplished champion of social change with a longstanding dedication to community impact and equity. Johnson’s strong fiscal experience was gained in various roles held in the private sector for the first half of her career at Humana, LG&E, and Brown & Williamson.

“This is a pivotal moment in the 104-year history of MUW as well as in our local communities and it was vital that we find a leader with bold and strategic vision,” said Elaine Gravatte, MUW Board Chair and President and CEO at DDW The Color House. “It says a lot about the internal talent at our local United Way that after a national search, Adria was the best of the best. She is exactly who we want.”

As President and CEO, Johnson will provide strategic leadership to one of the leading organizations within the United Way Worldwide network – overseeing a staff of 70 and working with a dedicated board of 39 community leaders, 116 nonprofit partners, 865 corporations, 40,000 individual donors, and 6,600 volunteers across three counties in Southern Indiana and four counties in Kentucky. She is the first Black CEO at MUW and will be well-positioned to lead MUW and accelerate positive, sustainable change in our community.

“I am so honored to take on the mantle of leading MUW in creating a stronger, more equitable future for all,” said Johnson. “If we’ve learned anything the past 16 months weathering dual pandemics, we know there is a lot of work to do locally to unite our community and region and improve the lives of those that call Greater Louisville home. I’m humbled I was selected to lead one of the most respected and impactful community change organizations not only in our community, but in the entire country. When I told my dad the news he responded with, ‘go make Louisville better’ and that’s what I intend to do.”

Leaders across the country were recommended, recruited, or expressed interest for this position. This robust national search included an impressive array of CEOs as well as senior leaders of nonprofits, foundations and corporations. The MUW volunteer search committee partnered with Koya Partners, the executive search firm with an exclusive focus on recruiting senior leaders to mission-driven roles. Theresa Reno-Weber, who announced in February that she planned to step down, will continue as President and CEO until July 31.



For more than 100 years, Metro United Way has united and empowered communities by investing in the full potential of individuals and families to ensure positive, sustainable change. We use data-driven insights to identify our community’s greatest needs and address systemic challenges with a focus on advancing equity and sharing opportunities for all. Together, we fight to improve the disparities that persist in early care and education, economic mobility, home ownership, racial equity, and public policy in Jefferson, Bullitt, Oldham and Shelby counties in Kentucky and Clark, Floyd and Harrison counties in Indiana. We invite you to join us and be a part of transforming Greater Louisville. To live better, we must LIVE UNITED.

Watch Adria Johnson react to being named next President and CEO


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