United Way of New York City Announces Grace C. Bonilla, Esq. as the New President and CEO

Monday, May 23, 2022

United Way of New York City Announces Grace C. Bonilla, Esq. as the New President and CEO

New York, NY— May 23, 2022— United Way of New York City (UWNYC) is pleased to announce that Grace C. Bonilla, Esq. has been named the new President and CEO of the organization.

During her extensive career, Bonilla served in several senior positions in New York City government.   She was most recently the Founding Executive Director of the NYC COVID-19 Racial Inclusion and Equity Taskforce, stepping into that role after leading the New York City Human Resources Administration, as the Administrator of the largest social services agency in the country. There, she led a team that developed programs designed to combat poverty and income inequality. This built on her earlier success as a Deputy Commissioner overseeing the Human Resources Administration’s Office of Community Affairs and Immigrant Services, working in that capacity to broaden access to food and benefits for low-income non-English-speaking New Yorkers.

Bonilla has also played key roles in the City’s philanthropic community, most recently as the Senior Vice President for Latin America for Covenant House International, where she provided strategic counsel for program affiliates focused on helping children who were victims of hunger, homelessness, and human trafficking from four Latin American regions.  Earlier in her career, Bonilla also served as President and CEO of The Committee for Hispanic Children & Families, Inc. leading a staff dedicated to providing educational and early childhood resources for New York City’s Hispanic communities.

Bonilla was born and raised in New York City and is a graduate of both St. John’s University and Brooklyn Law School. Her life and work are rooted in the heart of this city.

“Leading United Way of New York City would be the honor of a lifetime under any circumstance, but at this particular time in the history of our city, it is a true call to action that I am excited to take on,” said Bonilla.  “As the first Latina and only the second woman to hold the position, it is my intention to carry with me my lived experience as a lifelong New Yorker, public servant, mom, and daughter of immigrants.  My driving force will be the hopes and dreams of fellow New Yorkers who, like my family, picked this city as their best chance to thrive and fulfill their highest potential. I firmly believe that United Way of New York City can continue its legacy of being a change agent during this unprecedented time.”

Donald F. Donahue, currently co-chair of UWNYC and retired President and CEO of The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, noted that, “United Way of New York City plays a unique role as a backbone organization convening cross-sector partnerships among government agencies, businesses, foundations, and nonprofit organizations to support efforts to meet the needs of the communities we serve. Grace’s extensive experience and knowledge make her the perfect person to move UWNYC forward to even stronger success as a trusted partner.”

“It was essential for us to select a leader with engrained knowledge of New York City’s culture and dynamic,” said Michael Schmidtberger, UWNYC co-chair and Chair of the Executive Committee at Sidley Austin LLP.   “Grace was not just born and raised here in New York. She has devoted her life to serving the underprivileged communities of this city. She understands the problems that New York’s neighborhoods face, and she’s poised to work with our partners to find equitable solutions.”

Bonilla will step into the role that had been held by former President and CEO Sheena Wright, who was recently appointed to the role of Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives for the City of New York within Mayor Eric Adams’s administration. Wright led UWNYC for nearly a decade.

Schmidtberger and Donahue also expressed their strong thanks to Eric McDonnell, who served as UWNYC’s Interim CEO since Wright’s departure. “It has been an honor to help guide and prepare the United Way of New York City staff for new leadership under Grace Bonilla,” said McDonnell. “Transitions are never simple, especially when navigating the aftermath of a global pandemic, so it has been a wonderful journey of learning together and building a strong, viable, and healthy transition plan. The staff is ready for Grace’s leadership, and the road ahead is promising.”

Ms. Bonilla will formally assume her role as President and CEO of United Way of New York City at the end of July.

About United Way of New York City
For 85 years, United Way of New York City (UWNYC) has been fighting for the self-sufficiency of every low-income New Yorker by taking on the toughest challenges and creating new solutions to old problems. We win by helping families shift from barely surviving to thriving. We unite by mobilizing the best ideas, relevant data, internal and external experts, and resources. UWNYC maximizes impact by coordinating and aligning organizations, companies, local government, and New Yorkers to help families eliminate tough choices and live better while making ends meet. To learn more, visit United Way of New York City’s website.

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