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Paula Umaña

Managing Director, Community Resiliency

“I firmly believe that by unwaveringly prioritizing the well-being of every individual and ensuring equitable access to essential resources and services, we hold the power to unlock boundless opportunities for a more equitable future. This transformative journey requires that we unite with a collective commitment to listen, learn, strategize, and invest to create effective systems that secure the needs of our communities and propel their thriving. I am honored to contribute to advancing United Way's visionary mission and collaborate alongside exceptional partners, as we strive to eradicate poverty and extend pathways of opportunity for all.”

Paula serves as Managing Director of Community Resiliency of United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) but is best described as our Community Uniter. She is responsible for providing leadership, direction, and support for the strategies and partnerships that respond to urgent and fundamental needs of communities including access to resources to secure their basic needs. 

Before joining UWGPSNJ, Paula devoted her career to driving growth and opportunity using strategic and innovative frameworks to close the cycles of poverty and promote equity. By leveraging partnerships, resources, and data, her advising, leadership, advocacy, and work across sectors have created a positive impact and contributed to increased capacity and efficiency within a wide range of systems and organizations.  

Paula previously served as the Director of Institutional Engagement and Community Impact at Temple University’s Hope Center, where she led coalition-building efforts and established the foundation of the center’s technical assistance and training services transforming how hundreds of institutional leaders and ecosystem stakeholders across the country promote basic needs security to propel college student success. She also launched and led the Single Stop program at Community College of Philadelphia, a national anti-poverty model that connects students with financial supports and social services that was demonstrably successful at boosting students’ retention, according to rigorous evaluation. She steered the state programming for the Center for Progressive Leadership in Pennsylvania, launched the first Hispanic Capacity Building Institute in Philadelphia, and served on the leadership team at Transitional Work Corporation. 

Paula holds a master's degree in education from Temple University and is a native of Bogotá, Colombia where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.  

In her spare time, Paula enjoys reading non-fiction, painting, going for long walks, and exploring the city.  

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