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New CEO named at Greater Twin Cities United Way

Twin Cities Pioneer Press logo Twin Cities Pioneer Press 5/16/2019 Zach Walker
a man wearing a suit and tie: John Wilgers (Courtesy of Greater Twin Cities United Way) © Provided by MediaNews Group d/b/a Digital First Media John Wilgers (Courtesy of Greater Twin Cities United Way)

John Wilgers will take over as president and CEO of the Greater Twin Cities United Way, the civic philanthropic organization announced Thursday.

A managing partner at the Minneapolis branch of accounting firm Ernst & Young for 35 years, Wilgers will officially begin his new duties Monday. He succeeds former president and CEO Sarah Caruso, who retired after nine years of service.

Wilgers’ main focus will be the advancement of the United Way’s mission to increase access to stable housing, healthy food, quality education and opportunities for wealth in the Twin Cities.

He will report to the 50-member board of directors on which he sat for six years, serving as chair in 2012.

“John has the tremendous ability to build strong, trust-based relationships focused on listening, learning and leading,” said Tim Welsh, chair of the Greater Twin Cities United Way board.

Before his appointment, Wilgers served the United Way for nine years as a board member, volunteer, fundraiser and donor. Now, he will focus on leading the organization through a time of transition.

The Greater Twin Cities United Way has been active in the metro area since its origin in 1915. Through partnerships with local companies and nonprofits, the organization combats poverty in the Twin Cities by supporting programs focused on housing, food, health, education and other human needs.

“The goal is to make the Twin Cities community a place where everyone can prosper regardless of race or class,” Wilgers said.

A new strategic plan set in place shortly before Wilgers’ appointment focuses on community impact and aims to adapt to the changing landscape of donors.

A native of Kansas, Wilgers has called Minnesota home for 14 years. He now lives in Minnetonka with his wife, Trudy, and is the father of three grown children.

Twice a month, Wilgers volunteers at the Community Bridge food shelf on Park Avenue in Minneapolis.

“It’s good to understand what life is like for the people we are helping,” Wilgers said. “It’s impactful to see the need and impactful to be a part of addressing the need and impactful to see the gratitude.”

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a man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Undated courtesy photo, circa May 2019, of John Wilger. On May 16, 2019, Greater Twin Cities United Way (United Way) announced that Wilgers will join the organization as President and CEO on May 20, 2019. (Courtesy of Greater Twin Cities United Way) © Provided by MediaNews Group d/b/a Digital First Media Undated courtesy photo, circa May 2019, of John Wilger. On May 16, 2019, Greater Twin Cities United Way (United Way) announced that Wilgers will join the organization as President and CEO on May 20, 2019. (Courtesy of Greater Twin Cities United Way)
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