Michael J. Brennan is president and CEO of United Way for Southeastern Michigan, an organization dedicated to improving lives and communities across Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties each day. Brennan was appointed to his current post in October 2003 when the organization was known as United Way Community Services, and he has guided the organization through a period of unprecedented change.
Under Brennan’s leadership, United Way Community Services and United Way of Oakland County agreed to join forces in April 2005 and formed United Way for Southeastern Michigan (UWSEM). The newly formed organization began a comprehensive community outreach and subject matter research, the results of which became the basis for the Agenda for Change. The Agenda for Change focuses on three impact areas: educational preparedness, financial stability and basic needs.
During his time with UWSEM, Brennan has:
Guided the organization through economic downturn in the Detroit region;
Obtained unprecedented investment from GM;
Demonstrated the community impact of donations from our contributors;
Increased to four stars UWSEM’s rating from Charity Navigator, the largest independent charity evaluator in the United States;
Provided recognized leadership to the international UWW system;
Received regional recognition as a visionary leader.
Brennan is a native of Southeast Michigan, and he came back to metropolitan Detroit from United Way of America (UWA), the national organization serving approximately 1,400 United Ways nationwide. As that organization’s executive vice president, he oversaw Community Impact, Public Policy, Research Services and Resource Development operations. Prior to his tenure at UWA, Brennan spent ten years, from 1992 to 2002, at Heart of West Michigan United Way in Grand Rapids, Michigan, including seven years as president. He was recruited to Grand Rapids from the Greater Kalamazoo (Michigan) United Way, where he managed fund raising efforts from 1988 to 1992.
Brennan began his United Way career in Detroit as a fundraiser in 1985, after graduating from Michigan State University. He has completed executive programs at the Harvard Business School and the Center for Creative Leadership.
Active in a number of regional causes over the years, Brennan currently sits on the boards of New Detroit Inc., St. John Health System, and Excellent Schools Detroit. He also chaired the Volunteer Recruitment Advisory Committee of the Super Bowl XL Host Committee.
Brennan is married to Joan Brennan, an educator and active community volunteer. They have three children, Sam, Pat and Meg.