United Way of the Ozarks announces next President/CEO

Mary Sue HobanAnnouncement

United Way of the Ozarks’ board of directors has announced the selection of Brandi VanAntwerp as the organization’s next president/CEO.  The nonprofit leader, well-known in Springfield and across Missouri, will join United Way of the Ozarks (UWO) on June 17, 2024. She will enter as president-elect and then become president/CEO on July 1, succeeding Greg Burris, who has served in the role since 2019 and retires June 30. VanAntwerp’s hiring follows the board’s national search, which commenced in January of this year.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome Brandi VanAntwerp  –  a high-caliber leader, community connector, innovator and nonprofit veteran – to help write the next chapter in United Way of the Ozarks’ growth,” announced board Chair David Agee, partner at Husch Blackwell. “We are delighted to have found such talent and heart locally and are gratified that so many excellent candidates from around the country stepped forward for this position.” Agee continued, “Greg Burris is an inspiring advocate for UWO and the board is thankful for his vision and the innovative, strategic work he’s accomplished as president/CEO. It’s truly an exciting time for our organization, donors and community partners to continue uniting and mobilizing Southwest Missouri.”

VanAntwerp looks forward to making an impact. “I am honored to be the newest president/CEO of United Way of the Ozarks, which has improved countless lives in our community since 1930,” she stated. “My personal mission and that of UWO align so well – to champion our community’s children and provide pathways out of poverty. I can’t wait to bring my personal and professional experience to this role and to work alongside the incredible board and staff.”

With more than 16 years of experience in nonprofit leadership, VanAntwerp is coming to UWO from FosterAdopt Connect in Springfield, where she has been executive director since 2021. In her time there, the youth-focused organization increased program offerings and revenue and also expanded facilities. VanAntwerp has a significant track record in fundraising and development, including turns at CoxHealth Foundation, Habitat for Humanity of Springfield MO, Nashville-based T. J. Martell Foundation and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

VanAntwerp resides in Springfield and is a strong advocate for community involvement. A graduate of Leadership Springfield, she has twice been recognized by Springfield Business Journal – named as one of Southwest Missouri’s Most Influential Women of 2023 and a member of the 2016 class of 40 Under 40. VanAntwerp is active in numerous organizations including Association of Fundraising Professionals Ozark Region Chapter, Southwest Missouri Grant Writers and multiple PTA groups supporting Springfield Public Schools. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Belmont University and an Associate of Arts degree from Cottey College.

Greg Burris, outgoing president/CEO, is enthusiastic about the board’s choice of leader. “I am thrilled with Brandi’s selection and look forward to seeing her take United Way of the Ozarks to the next level. She has the leadership capacity, drive and community spirit to be wildly successful as president/CEO. I know our community will support her.” On July 1, Burris will step out of his full-time leadership role and become UWO’s part-time executive director of Give 5, the UWO civic matchmaking program that introduces local retirees to meaningful community volunteer opportunities.

A unifying force in Southwest Missouri for nearly 100 years, nonprofit United Way of the Ozarks is renowned for its community campaign, workplace giving and Day of Caring, the largest one-day volunteer program in Southwest Missouri. In recent years, UWO has introduced new community engagement programs including a pilot mentorship program pairing local graduate students with community and career mentors, United for Greatness and Community Field Trips.