United Way of Greater Knoxville names new CEO

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The United Way of Greater Knoxville has tapped a United Way CEO in Southeast Tennessee to replace their own.

Matthew Ryerson the current president and CEO of United Way of the Ocoee Region, including Bradley and Polk counties, will take the same position here to replace retiring CEO Ben Landers.

Landers spent 26 years as leader of the United Way of Greater Knoxville.

“I want to congratulate the United Way of Greater Knoxville for selecting Matthew as president and CEO,” Suzanne McCormick, U.S. president for United Way Worldwide, said. “Matthew is one of the most talented executives in the United Way system, and he will be a catalyst for addressing community needs in Knoxville and moving United Way forward.”

Ryerson is known for expanding the donor base of the Ocoee Region and as a fundraiser.

Ryerson raised a record $9.2 million in 2017 and increased the donor base by 11%. He launched community initiatives to build a dental clinic and a neighborhood revitalization that brought in an additional $5 million in investment and donations.

Cynthia Gibson, United Way of Greater Knoxville board chair and co-chair of the search committee, said Ryerson impressed committee members with his accomplishments while in Cleveland, Tennessee, as well as his recognition nationally as a United Way leader.

Ryerson currently is a member of the United Way National Presidents Roundtable and has held several other United Way leadership positions.

“Matthew’s track record speaks for itself,” Gibson said. “He energized the Ocoee Region, and we know his vision and leadership will do the same for Greater Knoxville.”

Ryerson will start his new position Dec. 2.

“I am excited about the opportunity to lead the United Way of Greater Knoxville as we start the next 100 years of service to the Knoxville area,” Ryerson said. “I have already learned that the Knoxville area is a very giving and generous community. My goal is to help people, create lasting change, innovate and deliver tangible impact.”

Ryerson graduated from Bowling Green State University in Ohio with a degree in education. He earned his executive juris doctor degree from Concord Law School at Purdue University Global in Indianapolis.

He has 26 years of nonprofit experience, including eight years as president and CEO of the United Way of the Ocoee Region. He is on the adjunct faculty at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, in both the Child and Family Studies Graduate Program and Humanities and Legal Studies.

Ryerson and his wife Heather have been married for 15 years and have four children, Jackson, 13, Chloe, 11, Gabi Rae, 7, and Elsie Caroline, 5.

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