UW of Greater Cincinnati Rebuilding CEO Quit Citing Hostile Work Environment

United Way of Greater Cincinnati (UWGC) raised a projected $50.315 million at the conclusion of its 2018 campaign on Nov. 14. The total is less than the $52 million UWGC had projected late last month when it warned its 140 partner agencies about a potential shortfall. The 2018 total is about $6.2 million, almost 11 percent, less than the $56.5 million raised in 2017.

A spokesperson for UWGC confirmed there will be a 15 to 20 percent reduction in the allocation of funds to partner agencies and a 15 to 20 percent reduction in the organization’s budget.

Ross Meyer

Greater Cincinnati did not announce a fundraising goal for 2018 but late last month the organization warned local nonprofits that this year’s campaign was likely to fall short. At the time, it was projected to raise about $52 million. That was just the start of a tumultuous few days at the affiliate.

Michael Johnson

Days after alerting its partner agencies about the potential shortfall, CEO Michael Johnson, who was hired in July, took a leave from of the organization. In a letter to the board that was eventually made public, he claimed that he had been the victim of “subtle threats” and a “hostile work environment.” He subsequently resigned and then board chair Julia Poston announced that she would be stepping down from the board.

Julia Poston

Ross Meyer, vice president of community impact, was appointed interim CEO until a permanent hire is made. “This has understandably brought to the forefront important issues in our community,” Meyer wrote in a blog post after the resignations. “Several leaders from the black community came to our offices on Tuesday to share a deep desire for change. I listened and promised to continue to listen and act on what we learn together. Let me be absolutely clear: There are undisputable racial inequities in our community,” he wrote.

Johnson announced that he will return to his previous post as CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County in Madison, Wisc., effective Dec. 15. The nonprofit made the homecoming announcement on its website.

United Way of Greater Cincinnati typically is among the top 10 affiliates in the country when it comes to fundraising. UWGC raised $56.5 million last year, which was among the largest yearover- year declines in 20 years for the organization. Fundraising had eclipsed $60 million in each of the two previous years, 2016 and 2015.

Several other United Way affiliates around the country announced their campaign results within the past week. United Way of Greater St. Louis, which last year ranked third among affiliates in the U.S., announced it had raised $76 million for the 2018 campaign. United Way of Greater Lafayette reached its goal of $5.3 million for this year’s campaign, coming in at $5,301,712. United Way of the Coastal Empire in Savannah, Ga., announced it had raised $8,285,608, surpassing its goal of $8.1 million.