6.5.19 – United Way of Greater Lorain County announced that Ryan Aroney will be promoted to president and CEO to succeed the retiring Bill Harper.
Aroney is the current marketing and engagement director for the agency and will take over his new role on Dec. 1.
Aroney joined United Way in April 2011 as a development associate and was promoted to marketing and engagement director in Feb. 2014.
Aroney successfully led marketing efforts as United Way changed its business model from isolated program funding to a Collective Impact agency focused on collaboration.
Aroney has also spearheaded efforts to strengthen community engagement through targeted donor opportunities and meaningful volunteer projects.
“I appreciate the trust that our staff and board have shown in me and I promise to work hard, listen to the community, and always keep in mind the best interests of those we serve,” said Aroney.
“There isn’t a person on Earth who cares more about United Way of Greater Lorain County than I do. I’ve given my heart and soul to United Way for the past eight years because of how deeply I care about the mission and how closely connected my personal life is to our work.
“I grew up in poverty right here in Lorain County. This is not just a job for me, it is personal. I know first-hand that there are people out there working hard to get out of a hole that they did not create. And I want to ensure they have an easier and more systematic path to digging out than I did.”
Aroney, 35, graduated from Oberlin High School and earned an Associate of Arts degree from Lorain County Community College and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Cleveland State University. Aroney is currently enrolled in the Parker MBA Program through Lake Erie College.
Harper is set to retire Nov. 27 after nine years leading the local United Way. Aroney will remain in his current role through the end of November while training with Harper.
“I feel so fortunate to have worked with Bill for eight years as he’s been a trusted friend and mentor who has helped me grow personally and professionally. And I’m grateful to have another five months to work alongside him during transition,” said Aroney. “I’m truly honored to take over for Bill and I’m excited for the opportunity to build on his legacy.”
The national search for Harper’s replacement was led by United Way of Greater Lorain County’s board of directors and timed to ensure a smooth transition.
“Our board believes that we have a strong organization and culture, and a change in direction was not desperately needed. Ryan demonstrated to us during the competitive selection process that he had a firm grasp of our collaborative model and he articulated his vision for our organization and fund development moving forward,” said Keith Brown, chair of United Way of Greater Lorain County’s Board of Directors and director of HR and organizational development at Lorain County Community College.
“We are elated with our selection and firmly believe that Ryan will maintain the momentum that was gained under Bill’s leadership,” said Brown. “We truly believe the United Way of Greater Lorain County is in very capable hands.”
Prior to joining United Way, Aroney gained professional experience in media relations, athletic administration and as a freelance journalist.
Aroney is a graduate of Leadership Lorain County’s class of 2014 and is a member of the Rotary Club of Oberlin, where he held past leadership positions on the board of directors.
Aroney has earned numerous individual honors throughout his career and was selected in 2015 by United Way Worldwide to present at the National Community Leaders Conference on his work leading local fitness collaboration United We Sweat.
Other recognition includes acceptance into the exclusive United Way Worldwide LEAD (Leaders Engaged in Accelerated Development) Program in 2018, CSU Young Alumni Council’s 5 Under 35 in 2017, Rotary International 40 Under 40 in 2016 and HandsOn Northeast Ohio’s Lorain County Volunteer of the Year in 2015 and 2016.