United Way of the Plains president & CEO announces retirement

WICHITA, Kan., Friday, Feb. 28, 2020 — United Way of the Plains President & CEO Patrick J. Hanrahan announced he is retiring effective June 30, 2020, after 47 years as a United Way executive, including 35 years as president of United Way of the Plains.

“I walked into the United Way office in Iowa City, Iowa as their new executive director on April 2, 1973. I was 23 years old,” said Hanrahan. He spent two years in Iowa City and ten as the United Way executive director in Brazoria County, Texas. He took over as president of United Way of the Plains in 1985 at the age of 35. “Last November I turned 70 and in April I will complete 35 years here in Wichita. Half of my life has been dedicated to the people of south central Kansas and that has been my honor. If I could do it all over again I would do so and gladly.”

Hanrahan’s career highlights:

  • Sought and won approval from the Kansas Corporation Commission to establish a statewide 2-1-1 telephone information and referral system which annually works with 60,000 individuals in need
  • Established Venture Grants, which provided startup funding for Boys and Girls Club, Communities in Schools (now The Pando Initiative), KANSEL, Harbor House for Domestic Violence Victims and Project Access.
  • Named Fund Raising Executive of the Year by the Wichita Chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives
  • Developed the Give Items of Value (GIV) program that annually provides approximately one million dollars of in-kind products to local nonprofits
  • Led coordinated statewide United Way response to the Greensburg tornado of 2007
  • Completed 3 terms as president of United Ways of Kansas.
  • Managed the capital fundraising for and purchase of United Way of the Plains’ building at 245 N. Water
  • Established the “Be There” Initiative to address chronic absenteeism in local schools
  • Established the “collective impact” model of funding to search and solve the root causes of social need


  • Raised over one half billion dollars to help people in need in the three communities he served
  • Chaired United Way of America’s first National Committee on Disaster Preparedness
  • Served as a member of United Way of America’s National Professional Advisory Council
  • Was awarded (along with Dr. Paul Uhlig) United Way of America’s prestigious Mary M. Gates Volunteer/Professional Achievement Award in 2000 for the development of Project Access

United Way of the Plains Board Chair Ginger Farney, EY Wichita office managing partner, said, “In a world of disruption, we understand the significance of change and have been fortunate to have had Pat’s leadership at the United Way of the Plains since 1985. He has been an influential leader in our community and his passion for this organization will be missed. As we begin searching for the leader in the next chapter of the United Way of the Plains, we wish Pat and his wife Renée the best as they adapt to their own changes in their new chapter of life.”

Hanrahan stated he and his wife Renée are planning a “his and her retirement” on the same day.


MEDIA CONTACT: Delane Butler, Vice President of Marketing, (316) 267‑1321, ext. 4105, dbutler@unitedwayplains.org


Published On: February 28, 2020


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