United Way of Greater Cleveland appoints Kenneth Surratt Vice President of Community Investment & Chief Investment Officer


August A. (“Augie”) Napoli, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Cleveland, announced today the appointment of Kenneth L. (“Ken”) Surratt as vice president of Community Investment and Chief Investment Officer, effective Oct. 18, 2021.

“Ken is an incredibly accomplished, forward-thinking and highly-respected strategist, and the right leader at the right time to carry forward United Way of Greater Cleveland’s important Community Investment vision and work,” Napoli said. “By partnering closely with his team of dedicated and talented CI professionals, Ken will continue to advance the progress we have already made to confront poverty at its core through short- and long-term solutions designed to upend its generational grasp on so many within our community. Ken’s more than 25 years of experience working across government, nonprofit and for-profit organizations to create and execute strategies, programs, and partnerships has proven invaluable in driving meaningful, lasting results across the organizations and communities he has served, and I’m confident he will have an equally impressive impact here at United Way.”

In his new role, Surratt will oversee all the organization’s Economic Mobility, Housing Stability and Health Pathways programs under the Community Hub for Basic Needs and the Impact Institute, United Way’s 211, and special projects, allocations, and grants management. The Community Hub for Basic Needs addresses the here-and-now needs of Greater Clevelanders, including food and shelter. The Impact Institute focuses on the root causes that drive and keep families and individuals in poverty, such as racism and child abuse, creating solutions for tomorrow.

In response to his appointment, Surratt said, “This is an incredible opportunity, and I’m deeply honored to accept this important role and work with such an accomplished and devoted team during one of the most challenging and exciting times United Way and our city have faced. My team and I look forward to advancing the critical work United Way began more than a century ago to provide aid to those living in the deepest poverty across Greater Cleveland and help relieve the stranglehold poverty places on their lives and livelihoods.” 

Before joining United Way, Surratt served as the outreach manager in the Community Development department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, where he managed the development and execution of the department’s regional outreach and engagement strategy across the Bank’s four-state district. He also held a leadership role in a Federal Reserve systemwide effort to include racial equity in community development work and support of economic inclusion efforts. 

Prior to the Cleveland Fed, Surratt worked in a variety of leadership roles, including:

  • Cuyahoga County’s deputy director of Housing and Community Development, where he led the effort to create the county’s first housing plan, which resulted in a $30 million program focused on creating and maintaining affordable housing. In this role, he also served on the Board of the County Land Bank and the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission.
  • CFO of Breakthrough Schools, a high-performing network of charter schools in Cleveland.
  • Assistant director of Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), which supports school and program evaluations.

Surratt was named a 2021 class fellow for Leadership Ohio, one of the state’s most prestigious and longest running statewide leadership programs.

Born and raised in Cleveland, he received a Bachelor of Science in Commerce from The University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce and a Master of Business Administration from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

In addition to Surratt’s appointment, Napoli also announced the following promotions and an additional new hire within the Community Investment team, with all reporting to Surratt:

  • Danielle Crawford, director of Evaluation and Learning, oversees United Way’s Center for Excellence in Social Services, which provides educational programming and promotes best practices to area nonprofits, and the organization’s Request for Ideas biennial grant-making process and selection of funded agency partners. which focuses on three community strategies: Economic Mobility, Housing Stability, and Health Pathways. Crawford joined United Way in 2019 as a program manager.
  • Jennifer Kons, director of Health Initiatives, is responsible for oversight of investment strategies and programs designed to help address health inequities to ensure a better quality of life for Greater Clevelanders, including Accountable Health Communities (a partnership with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid) and Collaborative Investments + Health (also known as CAPGI or Collaborative Approach to Public Goods Investments). Kons joined United Way in 2017 as a program manager.
  • Renée Timberlake, director of Economic Mobility, is responsible for oversight of education and job-training investment strategies and programs, including Cleveland Scholar House (in partnership with CHN Housing Partners), Family Spaces and Workforce Connect. Timberlake joined United Way this month. 
  • Julie Wisneski, director of Housing Stability, is responsible for oversight of housing investment strategies and stability programs including Right to Counsel and Free Eviction Help (in partnership with The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland) and the Siemer Institute Family Stability Initiative. Wisneski joined United Way in 2020 as a program manager.


About United Way of Greater Cleveland

Founded in 1913, United Way of Greater Cleveland is a local, independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting poverty across the Greater Cleveland area. The largest private-sector investor of health and human services, United Way invests in efforts that address poverty using a two-pronged approach. The first prong focuses on the daily issues affecting those living in poverty, the Community Hub for Basic Needs. The second drives research and innovation through the Impact Institute, a think tank with an action plan, focused on identifying long-term solutions to break the cycle of poverty. For more information, visit unitedwaycleveland.org and twitter.com/UnitedWayCLE

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