SPRINGFIELD — United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) announced that its board of directors has appointed Jim Ayres the organization’s next president and CEO, effective June 12. Ayres, who currently serves as the CEO of the United Way Hampshire County, will succeed Dora Robinson, UWPV’s most recent president and CEO and current president emeritus.
“After a comprehensive search, the board is thrilled to have found a strong leader with a proven track record to lead this organization that is such an integral part of the Pioneer Valley,” said Ben Markens, United Way Pioneer Valley board chair. “The board of directors was impressed with Jim’s extensive nonprofit experience, leadership skills, and collaborative approach to problem solving. As we approach our 95th anniversary, it’s only fitting that we’ve found a leader with both enthusiasm for the United Way mission and the skills to position us to provide essential services to the community for many years to come.”
Ayres comes to UWPV from United Way of Hampshire County (UWHC), where he has served as CEO and executive director since 2011. During his tenure there, he expanded the donor base and increased both funding diversity and overall revenue at a time when many United Ways nationally had experienced shrinkage.
Prior to joining UWHC, he served for 12 years as the executive director of the Center for New Americans, an education and resource center for immigrants, refugees, and other limited-English speakers in Western Mass. With roots in the Springfield public schools, where he worked as a parent community and involvement coordinator, he has extensive experience working with school systems, local and state governments, community coalitions, workforce boards, and other nonprofit organizations to develop programming and policy. He is the incoming board president of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network and an adjunct professor of Nonprofit Administration and Philanthropy at Bay Path University. He holds master’s degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst.
“I am excited for the opportunity to partner with the United Way Pioneer Valley’s steadfast board of directors, dedicated staff, and vital community partners to extend the organization’s impact in the communities we serve,” said Ayres. “It’s an honor to be entrusted with the organization’s leadership as we continue to fight for the health, education, and financial stability of people across the Pioneer Valley.”
Robinson added that Ayres “is an exceptional leader and very well-respected United Way professional who has elevated the respect, trust, and engagement of stakeholders with United Ways across our region. I’m absolutely thrilled with the board’s decision to hire Jim.”
UWPV will celebrate Ayres’s arrival at the organization’s 95th-anniversary celebration on Wednesday, May 31 at the Barney Carriage House at Forest Park.