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Kelly Woodland

Managing Director, Leadership Equity

“I have always been committed to racial equity and creating access to opportunities for those who have traditionally been left out. It is this commitment to ensure that all individuals not only have their say but have an opportunity to make a difference in addressing the challenges that face our community.”

Kelly serves as Managing Director, Leadership Equity of United Way of Greater Philadelphia, and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) but is best described as our Nonprofit Expert, having worked in a variety of nonprofit organizations for over 35 years. Kelly is responsible for developing and leading strategies to advance racial equity across the region’s philanthropic sector. He will focus on the design and implementation of a centralized hub to offer best-in-class knowledge and resources, research and data, and collaborative strategies to promote leadership advancement, equitable grant making, and inclusive decision-making. 

Prior to joining UWGPSNJ, Kelly served as Executive Director for After School All Stars Philadelphia and Camden, a regional comprehensive after-school provider, for 5 years. During his tenure at ASAS P&C, Kelly led the chapter’s expansion into Camden, New Jersey; increased the number of program sites from three to 13; and solidified funding. For over 35 years, Kelly has been committed to creating access to opportunities for all people of color. While at PRIME, Inc, Kelly coordinated and managed a math and science-based pre-college program for over 250 Black and Latino high school students from Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey.  

Inspired by his experience at PRIME, Inc, Kelly transitioned to the Franklin Institute where he created the museum’s first STEM program targeting youth of color. In addition, Kelly equitably engaged several communities of color and Black and Latino professional organizations in developing and delivering STEM enrichment to Black and Brown students. One of the communities Kelly partnered with while at FI was South Philadelphia’s historic Point Breeze neighborhood. Impressed by its powerful cultural dynamic, Kelly then took the helm of the Eighteenth Street Development Corporation and led housing rehabilitation work while also spearheading the community’s first neighborhood strategic plan. That strategic plan was aimed at increasing affordable housing development and broad revitalization efforts.   

Kelly leveraged his rich and diverse experience in youth development and community revitalization to become a program officer at the William Penn Foundation where he created a neighborhood-based Youth Development Initiative (YDI) that focused on creating a centralized data collection system in communities and improving quality youth development. The YDI was implemented in four Philadelphia communities; Camden, New Jersey, and Chester, Pennsylvania.  

In 2011, Kelly co-founded the Philadelphia African American Leadership Forum (PAALF) to promote organizational sustainability among African American led nonprofit agencies in Philadelphia. The PAALF then commissioned the first ever comprehensive research study of African American led nonprofit agencies in Philadelphia, released in 2016. This groundbreaking research not only provoked regional and national discussions about equity, but inspired and informed grantmaking initiatives aimed at strengthening Black led nonprofit organizations in and around Philadelphia. In light of the George Floyd murder and COVID 19, Kelly once again, activated research of Black nonprofit leaders in Philadelphia as an update to the 2016 report. This latest research can be found here 

In 2020, Kelly co-founded the Black Nonprofit Chief Executives of Philadelphia. This group consists of over 90 Black nonprofit leaders and aims to promote and strengthen Black leadership and support the sustainability and impact of their organizations.   

Kelly earned a B.A. in Journalism from Temple University.

In his spare time, Kelly enjoys reading, spending time with his family, and participating in a variety of recreational and fitness activities.  

Thought Leadership

  • Co-founder, Black Nonprofit Chief Executives of Philadelphia (BNCEP) 2020 – Present

  • Penned Executive Summary in Reflecting Forward: Philadelphia – based Black Nonprofit Leaders’ Recommendations for Regional Funders 

  • Presenter, National Summer Learning Association Annual Conference, Washington, DC (2021): Title: Building, Diversifying, and Leading Your Board 

  • Philanthropy Network; Philadelphia, PA (2016) : Title: Philadelphia African American Leadership Forum Research Findings and Implications on Philanthropy   

  • Panelist, Philanthropy Network Fall Conference; Philadelphia, PA (2015): Title: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: The Journey and the Practice  

  • Co-founder, Philadelphia African American Leadership Forum (PAALF) 2013 – 2017 

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