United Way Bay Area

United Way Bay Area’s staff is a dynamic group of leaders deeply committed to cutting Bay Area poverty.

Anne Wilson

Chief Executive Officer

Anne joined United Way Bay Area in 1980, and was named the first female CEO in 2000.

Under her leadership, United Way has transformed from a community fundraiser into a leader in the fight against poverty. Anne directs United Way’s efforts to achieve its goals of fighting poverty in the Bay Area.

“Sometimes the challenges that we face in this economy are daunting, but I take strength from the amazing staff, volunteers and community partners who come together every day at United Way. We are all working together because we know our community can do better.”

Anne has a Master’s of Social Welfare degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University. She has two children and lives in San Rafael, California, with her husband, and two Maltese dogs.

She serves on the Advisory Board of the U.C. Berkeley School of Social Welfare, on the Board of Trustees of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, and as Co-Chair of the Rise Together Steering Council.  

Joan Catherine Braun

Chief Financial and Administrative Officer

With three decades of experience in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations throughout the Bay Area, Joan has broad and deep experience in building and leading administrative functions to support high-performing organizations. Among the recognitions of which Joan is most proud is the Convio Innovator Award won by her Fair Trade USA team in 2010 for its groundbreaking work with software.

As Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, Joan is responsible for finance, human resources and information technology. She came to the organization from Fair Trade USA, where she served as CFO and as the American member of the Fair Trade International Finance Committee. Prior engagements include Acting Vice President of Finance and Administration at Mills College, CFO at PolicyLink, and CFAO, Treasurer, and Secretary at the Foundation of National Progress, publisher of Mother Jones Magazine.

“The issue of poverty has been a constant theme in my work life because of my personal experience. As the oldest child of a single mother who did not finish high school, I would never have gone to college if it hadn’t been for a high-quality public education, the aid-blind admissions policy of Wesleyan University, and Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. I want others to have the supports that made my life what it is today.”

Civic engagement is an important mainstay in Joan’s personal life. She currently serves on both the Investment and Audit Committees of the Girl Scouts of Northern California. Prior to that, she served three terms on the Alameda County Measure B Citizens’ Watchdog Committee and spent a decade as a founding member of the Doyle Street Cohousing Community.

Eric McDonnell

Chief Operating Officer

Eric McDonnell is a committed and passionate advocate for children, families and communities. As Executive Vice President, Eric provides strategic, transformational and operational leadership to achieve our goals. He sets priorities and delivers on the organization’s mission. Eric drives United Way Bay Area’s efforts to ensure that every child has the opportunity to reach his or her academic potential, and families achieve economic self-sufficiency, while making Bay Area neighborhoods safer, stronger places to live.

“I grew up in poverty, living in public housing, facing the everyday challenges of making ends meet. Like a debilitating illness, poverty can rob an individual, a family, and a community of material, mental and emotional hope. So, United Way’s campaign to end poverty is important to me personally, because I know the struggle. Professionally, I am blessed to be in a position to give back and help break the cycle of poverty that exists in our community.”

Prior to joining United Way Bay Area, Eric served as executive director of the Audrey L. Smith Developmental Center in San Francisco, a childcare and social services provider for more than 250 families. His decade of work at the center lent itself to the issues he now oversees for United Way Bay Area. Eric holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in public administration from the University of San Francisco.

Randy Hyde

Senior Vice President of Marketing & Strategic Communications

Randy Hyde Senior Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Communications Randy leads United Way Bay Area’s marketing and communications team and is responsible for the look, tone, and messaging of the organization. He has over 15 years of nonprofit experience in both development and marketing roles and has worked on large-scale, high profile campaigns such as the San Francisco Symphony’s $125 million endowment campaign, SFMOMA’s $555M new building campaign, and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s $10M capital campaign. A lover of writing and books, he also led the development and marketing efforts for 826 Valencia. He holds a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Antioch University and undergraduate degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.

Ginny Nichols

Senior Director, Corporate Governance/Executive Assistant to the CEO

Ginny has more than 30 years of administrative and management experience encompassing finance, human resources, operations, manufacturing and production. She joined United Way Bay Area in May 2002. As Director of Special Projects and Assistant to the CEO, she directs Executive Office operations and the CEO’s calendar; manages Board of Directors communications, agenda building and record keeping; and stewards compliance with United Way of America’s membership reporting requirements. She also leads special projects on behalf of the CEO and in this capacity serves on many cross-functional teams.

“United Way’s efforts to cut poverty in half in the Bay Area are important to me – because together, we CAN! There are so many committed, caring people in the Bay Area; working together we can accomplish this transformational work. It is especially important for the future of our kids.”

Prior to United Way, Ginny was associate publisher-operations for Dance Magazine. Before that, she worked at the Denver Public Library as assistant to the city librarian and later as financial analyst. Her earlier career includes 15 years in Denver’s daily newspapers, primarily as a human resources generalist. During that time, she enthusiastically served as the coordinator of several United Way campaigns.

Message from Anne Wilson

Anne Wilson
Chief Executive Officer
United Way Bay Area

"It is a great time to challenge the status quo and encourage social innovation. It is even more important to rise above our differences and come together, not pull apart. To fight poverty, we must work together, bring all ideas to the table and truly LIVE UNITED."