First woman to lead United Way recognized for community service expertise
By Jennifer Riegert
United Way of Greater Cincinnati
Following a nationwide search, United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s executive board of directors has named Moira Weir, a seasoned non-profit professional with extensive service to the community, as the organization’s next president and CEO. Weir currently leads Hamilton County Job and Family Services (JFS) — an organization that helps hundreds of thousands of Hamilton County families and children each year. She will assume her new role on March 23.
“Moira’s commitment to community, diversity and servant leadership, paired with her ability to make a measurable impact, uniquely qualify her to lead United Way as we evolve our role and enhance our impact in the community,” said Barbara Turner, vice chair and chair elect of the United Way board, president and chief operating officer of Ohio National Financial Services and a member of the search committee.
“This transition is an opportunity for me to continue my work around financial sustainability for families, but on a broader, more regional scale,” said Weir. “I look forward to leading an organization with more than 100 years of service to the community. I am passionate about this work and eager to start. You will soon see me out in the region listening, learning and engaging stakeholders, donors and community partners as we develop a pathway forward.”
A highly diverse search committee comprised of leaders from the community, social service agencies and business recommended Weir following an extensive national search.
Weir, who started as a frontline Children’s Services worker at Job and Family Services 27 years ago, rose through the ranks to ultimately lead the organization for the past 12 years. As director of the agency, she is responsible for a multitude of programs, including food, cash and medical assistance, publicly funded childcare, child and adult protection, child support and employment assistance. Job and Family Services has more than 900 employees and a $2.1 billion dollar annual budget.
Weir has been an advocate for innovation and change management at JFS. During her tenure as director, the agency has received awards for 12 different innovative programs from the National Association of Counties.
“Moira is the right person at the right time to lead United Way,” said Ozie Davis, president of Ozie Davis & Associates. “She is an authentic, compassionate, and enlightened leader engaged with the community and the people United Way serves. I trust that Moira’s experiences will take United Way to new heights as we address the plague of poverty and redefine best practice strategies for social service delivery.”
“The board has made an excellent choice. Moira is highly respected in the community, and I look forward to working with her on United Way’s 2020 Community Fundraising Campaign,” said David Taylor, chairman, president and CEO at Procter & Gamble.
Pastor Ennis Tate, New Beginnings Church of the Living God and president of the Faith and Community Alliance, noted, “The mark of a true leader is reflected in that person’s ability to leverage resources, manage partnerships, and create a shared vision. For the past 12 years, Moira Weir has led JFS to new levels in serving families throughout Hamilton County. She is a team builder and very capable of marshaling United Way staff and agency partners to help families live their best lives.”
Weir will succeed Ross Meyer, who has led the organization as interim CEO for the last year. “Ross deserves the thanks of the entire community for his leadership of United Way. He effectively kept the organization moving forward, led a highly successful fundraising campaign and continued to make a profound difference in the lives of the more than 330,000 people United Way touches,” said Steve Shifman, president and CEO of Michelman and chairman of the board of United Way of Greater Cincinnati.
Weir is joining United Way as the organization takes bold, new steps to address poverty. More than 100,000 families in United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s 10-county, three-state service area are living in poverty. That includes one in three children. United Way recently changed the way it invests in partner organizations to focus even more on children and families in poverty, as well as launched a first-of-its-kind collaboration with partners across the region to create stronger, faster change for these families.
Hamilton County Administrator Jeff Aluotto praised Weir for her 27-year service to Hamilton County, noting that after leading Hamilton County Job and Family Services, she leaves on a high note. She’s also made her mark externally by implementing several new initiatives, including kinships stipends and additional kinship support, Project Lift (an anti-poverty program), a new community engagement and outreach effort, and expansion of the emergency funding program to help impoverished county residents.
Aluotto will be advising the Board of County Commissioners in the coming days on naming an interim director before Weir’s departure from HCJFS in early March.