Chief Operating Officer: United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey


The United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) is committed to ending intergenerational poverty in our region and expanding opportunity for all. As the organization recently celebrated its 100th anniversary of serving Greater Philadelphia, it is focused on new approaches to harnessing the collective power of our region to help individuals and families break the cycle of poverty, and engaging and investing in the communities it serves. It deploys five primary tools toward this end:

  • Motivate individual, corporate, and institutional philanthropy;
  • Inspire, organize, equip, and deploy committed volunteers to drive this mission and vision;
  • Invest in evidence-based programming to increase opportunity and employment, financial empowerment for families, and resource high quality early education;
  • Measure progress and improve the nonprofit sector in the areas of data/evaluation, leadership, and organizational effectiveness; and
  • Convene local and national leaders to build and execute groundbreaking strategies for the region.

Shifting away from the traditional “community chest” model of grant allocator to thousands of charities in our region, the Regional Board focused the mission to address poverty meaningfully and measurably. While United Way organizations across the country have struggled to maintain relevance and often are experiencing alarming decline within their traditional business model, UWGPSNJ unlocked an initiative-based impact model that has attracted dramatic new investment.

As a result, UWGPSNJ is experiencing a reputational renaissance. These initiatives are large, complex, and collaborative across our nine-county footprint, and most rely on the participation of leaders representing community organizations, philanthropy, the private sector and municipal government.


Reporting to the CEO, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) will collaborate with the CEO to translate the strategic vision of the UWGPSNJ into operational success, with responsibility for continuous planning, forecasting, assessment and adjustment of organizational performance. The COO will be a member of, and work across, the Senior Leadership Team (the “SLT”, comprising the COO along with the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Development Officer, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer,

Chief Impact Officer, General Counsel/Chief People Officer) to drive efficient and measurable implementation of UWGPSNJ’s strategic priorities.

UWGPSNJ has 41 full-time staff. Direct report to the COO:

  • Managing Director, Business Operations

In support of the CEO, the COO also will have a dotted line oversight responsibility for the Executive

Director of The Promise PHL, a public-private initiative between UWGPSNJ and the City of Philadelphia dedicated to confronting poverty by investing in scalable solutions to increase income and remove barriers to employment.

This is a full-time hybrid [combination of remote and in office] position in a flexible work environment. The office is located in center city Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


The COO will support the execution of the CEO’s vision through the following responsibilities:

Organizational strategic and operational planning: Working in partnership with the CEO, and in consultation with the SLT, create a financial and operational five-year plan and implement new processes and approaches to achieve it.

  • Creating and managing process for consultation with key stakeholders.
  • Defining UWGPSNJ aspirational objectives and impact model with focus on current transformation to initiative-based model.
  • Ensure the development and vetting of underlying financial projections and definition of required operating model

Operations Planning: Translate UWGPSNJ’s long-term strategic plan into annual, harmonized operational plans, including:

  • Owning the organization-level development of annual budgets, KPIs, targets, and systems for performance measurement and review.
  • Supporting the SLT to define their own departmental budgets, KPIs, targets, and systems for review,
  • ensuring consistent alignment with strategic vision.

Financial Operations Management (FOM): Serve as the organizational liaison ensuring alignment between Finance, Impact, and Development to lead day-to-day assessment and adjustment of UWGPSNJ organizational health, including:

  • Building systems to enable visibility into the current state of the organization as a whole and its
  • underlying initiatives, as well as forward-looking forecasting based on contemporary finance, impact, and development data.
  • Ensuring that business decisions (e.g., launch, scaling, sunsetting of new initiatives) are
  • informed by tangible operational and financial data.
  • Benchmarking performance against industry standards, including identifying appropriate
  • ratios, targets, etc.
  • Developing a cadence for the SLT and other key stakeholders to review, understand, and improve organizational performance.

Organizational Process Improvement and Efficiency: Build a lean, cost-effective organization with the support and collaboration of the entire SLT, including:

  • Identifying opportunities for improving workflows and operational efficiency.
  • Implementing process enhancements to reduce waste, costs, and bottlenecks.
  • Promoting a culture of continuous improvement within the organization.

Business Operations: Oversee business operations support, including technology and facilities.


As a prerequisite, the successful candidate must be driven by the mission of UWGPSNJ and demonstrate a passion for breaking new ground to lead social change. UWGPSNJ is seeking a candidate that has proven experience in assessing, scaling up, and sunsetting organizational initiatives while driving a culture of performance that meets the highest standards of excellence.

The successful candidate will have management experience with a for-profit organization and deep experience working with the CFO function in overseeing the financial management and forecasting for an enterprise. Additional requirements are:

  • Results-proven Track Record – history of successful P&L management with the ability to balance the delivery of programs against the realities of a budget, exceeding goals and executing a bottom-line orientation.
  • Business Acumen – evidence of sound decision-making practices through a combination of analysis, experience, and good judgment.
  • High Executive Functionality – excellent problem solving and project management skills, and creative resourcefulness.
  • Strategic Vision and Agility – ability to think strategically, anticipate future consequences and trends, and incorporate them into the organizational plan.
  • Capacity Building – ability to effectively build organization and staff capacity, developing a top-notch team and develop and implement the processes that ensure the organization runs optimally.
  • Leadership and Organization – exceptional capacity for managing and leading people; a team builder who has experience in scaling up organizations; ability to connect with staff both on an individual level and in large groups; committed to developing and empowering leaders and cultivating entrepreneurship; capacity to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the team to identify professional development needs while ensuring accountability.
  • Action Oriented – enjoys working hard and tackling challenges; able to act and react as necessary, even if limited information is available; not afraid to take charge of a situation; can overcome resistance to leadership and take unpopular stands when necessary.
  • General Management— broad experience with the full range of business functions and systems, including strategic development and planning, budgeting, business analysis, finance, information
  • systems, human resources, and marketing.
  • Undergraduate degree required; MBA or similar advanced degree highly desired.
  • Minimum ten (10) years of progressively more senior experience in an organization, for-profit preferred.
  • Excellent public speaking and presentation skills; comfortable engaging with the Board as a group or individually; capable of being the face and voice of the CEO and UWGPSNJ internally and externally.
  • Experience framing Start/Stop/Continue decisions with respect to deployed capital, new products or services, and other new initiatives.


This is full-time exempt position with compensation at $185,000 – $215,000 depending on experience, and is bonus eligible.

Benefits include a 403(b) plan, 11 Holidays, Paid Time Off, Sick Time, and a full complement of Health and Welfare benefits

All offers of employment are subject to and contingent upon satisfactory completion of background checks as determined by UWGPSNJ.


UWGPSNJ has retained Dunleavy & Associates as its partner for this search. To be considered for the position, interested candidates must submit a resume or CV and a cover letter that addresses each of the following elements:

  • A statement describing why you are interested in the COO position at UWGPSNJ.
  • A description of any professional and/or personal experiences that are not otherwise obvious from your resume but that inform and support your qualifications for this position.
  • Confirmation that the published salary range meets your requirements.

Please submit your materials via this LINK or directly to Patty Cook at

EEO/AAP Statement

The United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.