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United Way names Brooklyn Law grad Grace C. Bonilla as president, CEO

May 24, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Grace C. Bonilla, a graduate of Brooklyn Law School, who was the featured speaker at the Brooklyn Family Court’s Hispanic Heritage Celebration in 2019, has been named the new president and CEO of the  United Way. 

Bonilla served in several senior positions in New York City government.   She was most recently the founding executive director of the NYC COVID-19 Racial Inclusion and Equity Taskforce, stepping into that role after leading the New York City Human Resources Administration, the largest social services agency in the country. 

At HRA, she led a team that developed programs designed to combat poverty and income inequality. This built on her earlier success as a deputy commissioner overseeing the Human Resources Administration’s Office of Community Affairs and Immigrant Services, according to the United Way.

At the Brooklyn Family Court celebration, Bonilla, standing in front of judges, joked that it was the scariest oral argument that she has ever had to make.

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She explained that Hispanic Americans not only to help themselves and their children but will also send money and resources back to the family members they left behind, according to an Eagle article at the time. “I remember when I got my first job, my parents turned to me and asked how much I could give them to send my grandma,” she said.

Bonilla has also played key roles in the city’s philanthropic community, most recently as the senior vice president for Latin America for Covenant House International, where she provided strategic counsel for program affiliates focused on helping children who were victims of hunger, homelessness, and human trafficking from four Latin American regions.  

Earlier in her career, Bonilla also served as president and CEO of The Committee for Hispanic Children & Families, Inc. leading a staff dedicated to providing educational and early childhood resources for New York City’s Hispanic communities. 

“Leading United Way of New York City would be the honor of a lifetime under any circumstance, but at this particular time in the history of our city, it is a true call to action that I am excited to take on,” said Bonilla.  “As the first Latina and only the second woman to hold the position, it is my intention to carry with me my lived experience as a lifelong New Yorker, public servant, mom, and daughter of immigrants.” 

Bonilla will step into the role that had been held by former President and CEO Sheena Wright, who was recently appointed to the role of deputy mayor for strategic initiatives for the City of New York within Mayor Eric Adams’s administration.

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