United Way just got healthier with the appointment of Herman Gray

PHOTO - Gray  Herman 2One of the most recognizable non-profits in Detroit, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, just announced its newest president and CEO, Herman Gray, M.D.
“It is a tremendous honor. I am delighted and humbled by the opportunity to work with United Way,” said Gray. “We are an international organization that has done great work and I am proud to be trusted to lead United Way of Southeastern Michigan.”
Gray will replace Michael J. Brennan, who is stepping down from his post after more than 30 years of service to United Way, with the last 12 years as CEO and President of the office here in Southeastern Michigan.
“I’ve witnessed first-hand the significant influence United Way has had in the southeastern Michigan region and the value that it brings in convening the various private, non-profit and government agencies to rally around a cause, and I’m excited to lead this organization as it moves forward in strengthening our community,” said Gray.
The former Detroit Medical Center executive vice president of pediatric health services, has an extensive history in the medical field. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School and was a chief pediatric resident at Children’s Hospital in the late 1970s.
“I recognize that my health background can assist me in this new role, I think it is something that I can help enhance with our current mission – especially in servicing the area,” said Grey. “We can’t afford to have children going to school hungry – it is a setup for unproductivity to allow it to happen.”
With over 7 years spent in the role of president and CEO of DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, Grey is no stranger to the betterment of children in the city. During his tenure, the hospital transitioned to a for-profit operation, following Vanguard Health Systems Inc.’s 2011 acquisition of DMC.
Some have questions and criticism for the United Way’s decision for appointing Gray. Board members are assured that they made the correct choice. The incoming executive is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion in 2011.
“(We) felt Dr. Gray’s understanding of the community, his passion for helping children and families and his proven business acumen made him the ideal leader as we evolve into the next chapter of United Way’s role of creating positive community change in … education, financial security and basic needs,” said Beth Ardisana, United Way chairwoman.
Gray admits, his strongest characteristic relates to the subject of health, but he insists that he isn’t concerned so much with the challenges that lie ahead.
Instead, he is concerned with continuing the mission of United Way and is hoping to focus his energy on strengthening the efforts of the community as a whole.
“This is a big challenge we are attacking – dealing with child hunger,” he said.  “In practical matters, resources are always limited, but getting community leaders to work together is going to be the biggest task I personally tackle.

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