Local United Way Names New President and CEO

Dr. Dawnté Early has been named president and CEO of United Way California Capital Region. She will begin the position on Nov. 16, leading the local United Way chapter into its 100th anniversary year.

“I am excited to lead this amazing organization of passionate regional leaders committed to reducing poverty and investing in the education of our most vulnerable community members,” Early said. “As we near the 100th anniversary, I look forward to growing our partnerships to help the region emerge from the pandemic with an even sharper focus on increasing economic security and reducing disparities.”

Early joins United Way after serving as chief of research and evaluation for the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission, where she guided the commission’s statewide policy and evaluation initiatives on school mental health, suicide prevention and reducing justice involvement among those with mental health needs.  She previously led racial and gender policy reforms and evaluation of the Affordable Care Act at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. A resident and city councilmember of West Sacramento, she served on the city’s Aging Commission for seven years. She began her career as a public health researcher with the State of California after receiving her PhD in human development and master’s degree in child development, both from UC Davis. Early and her husband have two children, and she serves as a Girl Scout troop leader and basketball coach for the West Sacramento parks and recreation league.

“Dr. Early is a passionate, dedicated community leader and will bring a renewed, energized vision to United Way and the capital region,” said Oyango Snell, chair of the local United Way board of directors. “As an experienced researcher and statistician, Dr. Early has a unique ability to leverage data-driven research to address complex community issues and enhance outcomes.”

Stephanie McLemore Bray served as president and CEO of United Way California Capital Region for seven years until mid-April when she transitioned to her new role as chief engagement officer for Seattle Foundation. Amber Lovett, chief resource development and marketing officer at United Way California Capital Region, has been serving as interim president and CEO while the organization underwent a nationwide search.

“Dr. Early is a proven advocate who is committed to our square one approach of working to end poverty by tackling difficult issues that impact children and families,” said Carolyn Mullins, member of United Way California Capital Region’s board and chair of the search committee. “She has dedicated her life’s work to addressing issues that impact people from low-income and historically marginalized communities. We are proud to bring her on board.”

For nearly 100 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought local people together to make community change happen. With a mission to build stronger, healthier and more compassionate communities, the local United Way starts at square one: helping every family succeed so their community can too. Serving Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties, the local United Way is working to meet its 20-year commitment to significantly reduce poverty in the region by building capacity in undervalued communities, creating meaningful partnerships, seeking equity in education and making social justice investments in families. For more information or to make a donation, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org.