CEO of Dayton United Way resigns

Just days after the launch of the 2012-13 campaign, officials of the United Way of the Greater Dayton Area announced Tuesday they have accepted the resignation of President and Chief Executive Allen H. Elijah, effective immediately.

The United Way executive board met to discuss the matter Friday, the official launch day of the campaign, then met with Elijah on Monday. The organization issued a news release announcing the resignation Tuesday afternoon.

Board Chairwoman Pamela Morris said the board was willing to accept flat campaign revenues hovering around $10 million for the last three years under Elijah’s watch, given the down local economy. But “we feel that it’s critically important now to grow the campaign as the economic conditions are improving and the needs in the community are really at an all-time high.”

Morris said the board considered and dismissed the possibility that Elijah’s departure would hurt the campaign. “We do not feel it will erode public confidence,” she said.

The board named J. Thomas Maultsby as interim president and CEO. Maultsby, a leadership training expert, serves on the board of directors at CareSource, where Morris is president and CEO.

She said the timing of the decision at the launch of the campaign was “happenstance.” She also said the decision was not related to Elijah’s personal bankruptcy last year amid a divorce.

Elijah did not respond to a phone message seeking comment. A former Jefferson Twp. trustee and United Way chief operating officer, Elijah was named to head the organization in August 2008 to replace Marc Levy.

A Detroit native, the 6-foot-8-inch Elijah came to Dayton to attend the University of Dayton, where he was a two-year starter on the Dayton Flyers basketball team. He graduated from UD’s School of Business Management, and has since worked for Computer Sciences Corp., Fifth Third Bank, Monsanto Research Corp., and the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce. He also managed Wright-Dunbar redevelopment.

Montgomery County Commissioner Deborah Lieberman, a United Way board member, credited Elijah with what she called a needed shift in mission. The United Way used a new formula to distribute funds to service agencies this summer, causing controversy when the Dayton Area Chapter of the American Red Cross sustained a 76 percent funding cut.

She said Elijah was a good partner with the county government, but, “what we do know is the campaign was flat and we can’t afford that next year. Hopefully, there will be a lot of energy and excitement behind this campaign under new leadership.”

Lieberman said she was not privy to the executive committee’s decision-making process, but that the resignation came as a surprise.

Commissioner Judy Dodge said Elijah saved money for the United Way by selling its headquarters building and leasing new office space.

“I think Allen was good for the United Way during some struggling times,” she said.

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