Suncoast United Way leader Suzanne McCormick to become president of the organization's U.S. operations

Suzanne McCormick, the CEO of United Way Suncoast that handles most of Tampa Bay’s United Way needs. (DIRK SHADD   |   Times, 2015)
Suzanne McCormick, the CEO of United Way Suncoast that handles most of Tampa Bay’s United Way needs. (DIRK SHADD | Times, 2015)
Published June 20, 2019

United Way Suncoast leader Suzanne McCormick is getting a big promotion. On July 31, she will become U.S. president of United Way Worldwide.

McCormick, 52, is looking forward to working with almost 1,200 local and state United Ways around the country. One of her top priorities will be leading the organization through its ongoing digital transformation.

In the past, the United Way relied heavily on workplace giving programs and its near monopoly status with corporate America. The organization was a conduit of sorts, soliciting donations which were then doled out to various social programs. It has struggled in recent years as workplace programs waned and more charities used Google, Facebook, GoFundMe and other platforms to solicit money directly from donors.

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McCormick said the United Way will likely get smaller but will remain an important player. Unlike charities that support individual causes, the United Way has a more holistic view that looks out for the whole social services ecosystem in a community.

"Having people give directly to where they want to give is a great thing, but if someone isn't looking out for where needs aren't being met, we aren't going to make communities better places to live," she said. "I think that is the real value that the United Way can bring."

She takes over from Mary Sellers, who has been U.S. president since 2017. McCormick's salary information was not released. Sellers made $248,725, according to the United Way's 2017 Internal Revenue filings.

United Way Worldwide president and CEO Brian Gallagher said McCormick has already "been instrumental in building the modern United Way on our digital platforms."

"Suzanne has deep understanding of our network," he said in a news release announcing the promotion. "I am certain that her leadership will help our network advance the modern United Way strategy,"

McCormick became president and CEO of United Way Suncoast in 2014, after running the United Way in Portland, Maine. When she arrived, the turf included Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota and DeSoto counties. During her tenure, United Way Suncoast merged with the United Way in Manatee County.

McCormick grew up in Wilmington, N.C., and graduated from Duke University with a degree in political science. She initially pondered law school but instead joined the Peace Corps, traveling to Thailand to teach English.

She is married and has two children, including a daughter who will be a junior at Sickles High School. McCormick promised not to make her uproot before graduation. Instead, McCormick will commute between Tampa and United Way headquarters in Alexandria, Va.

Contact Graham Brink at Follow @GrahamBrink.