Speak United

Louisville, Kentucky named one of six Culture of Health Prize winners

September 27, 2016

Joe Tolan

President & CEO
Metro United Way



Founded in 1917, Metro United Way (MUW) is proud to serve a city that is now recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) for its culture of health. And, we are very proud to play a key role in several initiatives that helped our community win this distinguished prize.

CradletoCareer_Screenshot.pngEducation is MUW's top priority, but we know that quality education leads to better income and a healthier life. RWJF defines health in the broadest possible terms, also recognizing that many things, including better education, lead to better health. MUW leads two major collective impact initiatives to improve the quality of education for our city's children. At the request of Mayor Greg Fisher, we have served since 2014 as convener for the Ready for K Alliance, the early care and education pillar of Louisville's new Cradle to Career pipeline. In this role, we are bringing together key stakeholders in academia, government, business, and philanthropy to increase kindergarten readiness across the city so that our kids get a stronger start on lifelong learning and success in life.

In addition, since 2010, as part of an effort to increase high school graduation rates and college attendance, MUW has partnered with Metro Government and Jefferson County Public Schools to build a high-quality out-of-school time (OST) system in which widely varied programs operate within a set of shared standards and outcomes. Quality OST programs - whether they focus directly on health or not - have been shown to help youth resist unhealthy behaviors and thereby stay in school, remain on grade level and graduate.

These kinds of aligned efforts don't happen overnight. They originate in one of the six criteria for RWJF's Culture of Health Prize: Harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members. Like other United Ways, connecting people is at the heart of how MUW works to solve community problems; we bring together the people and organizations with the passion, expertise and resources needed to create lasting change. We're proud of all that we've been able to achieve in our long history of service, and we are excited about our community's future.


Joe is the President and CEO of Metro United Way. A native of New York City, Joe pursued a career in social work and earned his masters degree in Social Work from Loyola University. He’s been with Metro United Way since the mid-80’s where he served in several positions, including Chief Operating Officer, prior to assuming his current role as president and CEO.

Joe has served on numerous boards and community task forces throughout Louisville. Currently, he serves on the boards of The Housing Partnership, The WLKY Bell Awards Foundation, the West Louisville Economic Advisory Board and more. Joe is married to Terry and is the proud father of three daughters.

Joe can be reached at joe.tolan@metrounitedway.org.