United Way selects Fannie Mae veteran as new leader

United Way of the National Capital Area appointed Fannie Mae veteran Rosie Allen-Herring to take the helm as president and chief executive amid an ongoing overhaul of the fundraiser’s image and vision.

Allen-Herring, who spent 21 years at mortgage giant Fannie Mae, created a new philanthropy program after the Fannie Mae Foundation closed in 2007. She succeeds Bill Hanbury, who announced his departure in January.

Allen-Herring is perhaps best known for her role managing the annual Help the Homeless Walkathon, which has raised more than $100 million for local charities. She also assembled business and government leaders to expand financial assistance programs for homeowners and home buyers.

She takes over as United Way shifts away from a model of seeking donations in the workplace that has been upended by the onslaught of online giving platforms.

United Way officials said Allen-Herring’s collaborative leadership style is well suited to the organization.

“We were looking for someone who could internalize and articulate a clear vision . . . and execute what has become a complex business model,” said Ted Davies, a member of the organization’s board of directors. “She knows the community and has had a big impact.”

Allen-Herring will begin in late July.

Vanessa Small covers philanthropy and nonprofits for Capital Business. She also spotlights newly appointed executives in the New at the Top column, which chronicles their journeys to the top. Small was raised in Orange County, Ca. and graduated from Howard University.
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