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Dr. Mariama Grimes

Managing Director, Early Learning

“I believe we have a sacred obligation, as adults in this community, to provide to children the opportunity to grow up in healthy, supportive, loving environments. I believe children have the right to food, healthcare, education, clean air and water, safe neighborhoods. I believe in justice for all children.” 

Dr. Grimes serves as Managing Director of Early Learning of United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) but is best described as our Child Wellness Expert. Dr. Grimes leads the Early Learning pillar, providing access to high-quality early education and development services to children in our region. She utilizes extensive field research to inform and shape UWGPSNJ’s initiatives for the betterment of young children and their families.

Prior to joining our team, Dr. Grimes Most worked at the Public Education Foundation as Vice President of Family and Community Engagement and completed her doctoral residency as Director of Community Initiatives for Strategies for Children. Dr. Grimes was the Director of Charter School Sponsorship and served as Charter School Grant Reviewer for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. She has also served as Special Assistant to the Senior Advisor at New Schools Venture Fund and Senior Advisor to the Board President and the Manager of Community Engagement for St. HOPE Public Schools. Dr. Grimes’s vast knowledge and experience in the education sector is a fundamental component to UWGSNJ’s Early Learning body of work.

Dr. Grimes is a graduate of University of California in Los Angeles (B.A.), University of Southern California (M.P.A.) and Harvard University (Ed. L.D.). She is a Founding Member of Social Venture Partners (SVP) Philadelphia, serving on the Strategic Planning Task Force and member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Outside of work, Dr. Grimes can be found enjoying a good book or journaling – a hobby she has kept since the first grade, with the journals to prove it!

Awards & Certifications

  • 2005 The Sacramento Observer: 30 Under 30 for Community Service & Achievement