United Way of Central Carolinas (UWCC) announced today the addition of Kathryn Firmin-Sellers as the organization’s new Chief Impact Officer effective December 3. Firmin-Sellers fills the position that became open in September when Laura Clark was named UWCC’s new President and Chief Executive Officer.


In her new role, Firmin-Sellers will lead the organization’s community impact strategy, focused on improving economic mobility while also providing basic needs support across UWCC’s five-county region. Earlier this year, UWCC announced the investment of $24.5 million into the community, with $16.3 million going toward the organization’s community impact strategy and $8.2 million in donor directed funding.


“Kathryn brings a wealth of experience and expertise to our United Way team,” said Clark. “She is a trusted leader in our community, has deep relationships with our nonprofit partners and is a passionate advocate for those that need a voice. We are thrilled to have Kathryn leading our community impact strategy.”


Firmin-Sellers spent the past 11 years with Safe Alliance, which provides a continuum of crisis intervention, advocacy, shelter and counseling services for those impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault. Most recently, she served as the agency’s chief operating officer, where she led strategic planning and program evaluation efforts, in addition to leading and managing the organization’s domestic violence shelter.


During her time with Safe Alliance, Firmin-Sellers led a restructuring of the agency’s programs and services. That included the development of data-driven strategic goals and a process evaluation framework to monitor implementation. She most recently negotiated the funding and strategic partnerships needed to advance key Safe Alliance initiatives, including the expansion of housing options for domestic violence victims and the launch of a family violence prevention and intervention hotline.


“United Way’s efforts to provide for our community’s basic needs, even as it works to advance economic mobility and racial equity are profoundly important,” said Firmin-Sellers. “Both the United Neighborhoods and Unite Charlotte initiatives have the potential to transform our community. I am honored to play a role in helping advance that work.”


UWCC launched two major community initiatives under Clark’s leadership — United Neighborhoods to drive neighborhood transformation and revitalization and Unite Charlotte to improve racial equity and increase social capital.


Prior to her work at Safe Alliance, Firmin-Sellers was a senior relationship manager for UWCC from 2005-2007, leading the relationship between United Way and its community partners and volunteers in the Mooresville/ Lake Norman area.


Firmin-Sellers also previously served in roles with the Lake Norman Community Development Council and the Davidson Partnership for Children and Families after beginning her career as an associate professor at Indiana University.


She currently serves on the board of directors for the Institute for Social Capital and has been engaged with a variety of other nonprofit boards, including the Children’s Alliance and the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence.


Firmin-Sellers earned a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Carleton College and a Master’s degree and doctorate in political science from Duke University.