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United Way of Will County names Kamala Martinez President & CEO

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The United Way of Will County has unanimously approved hiring Kamala Martinez as its next President & CEO.  

Martinez steps into the new role after three years as CEO of KidsMatter Foundation (Naperville), a community-wide organization with a prevention-focused health strategy to combat teenage destructive behaviors. She also has more than 25 years of private sector corporate experience, including serving as the Executive Director of the RR Donnelley Foundation from 2008-2017 as well as holding other positions within the Donnelley organization.

“I’ve had the privilege of being a part of some amazing organizations throughout my career. On May 17, a new chapter begins with United Way of Will County and I couldn’t be more excited! I look forward to strengthening United Way partnerships going forward for the benefit of the communities we serve.”

-Kamala Martinez

An active and engaged community leader, Martinez has served many nonprofit boards, including Vice President for the Executive Board of Directors at Naperville Cable Television 17, Indian Prairie Education Foundation Board of Directors, Hispanic Alliance for Career Achievement (HACE) Board of Trustees, and the Art Institute of Chicago’s Corporate Committee. She was the City of Naperville Chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission and served in several roles for Wheatland Township.

Martinez received a BA in Communications and Broadcasting from the University of Iowa. She and her family have been residents of Will County since 1996. She has been active in her church with the children’s ministry, served on the Finance Leadership Board and the PTA, and is an advocate for children’s causes and a proponent of empowering women and promoting diversity. 

Martinez replaces Mike Hennessy, who retired as President & CEO of United Way of Will County last year after 31 years of leadership. She will officially start with United Way on May 17, 2021.

“We are very proud of the great work United Way has done for generations on behalf of Will County, but we recognize that the world supports charitable giving now in significantly different ways. We needed a leader and experienced change agent who can help us function more effectively in that ‘new world’, redefine our agency and refocus our work so we can best serve our entire community. Kamala Martinez is that leader, and we are excited for the future of United Way.”

-United Way Board President Tom Hernandez

United Way of Will County’s Board of Directors retained KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) as its executive search partner in October 2020. A comprehensive search produced almost 90 highly qualified candidates with significant experience helping legacy agencies work more effectively in the more modern philanthropic world.

KEES is a nonprofit executive search firm that buildsdiverse teams and dynamic leaders in the nonprofit and public entity sectors. A woman owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. For more information, please visit

Will County, located southwest of Chicago, is Illinois’ fourth largest county (850 square miles) and home to a vibrant and diverse population that is one of the nation’s fastest growing counties. United Way of Will County partners and supports Will County’s 30+ communities and resources to empower people and create positive, sustainable change. For more information about United Way of Will County, please visit