Matthew Ryerson, an experienced United Way executive who raised a record funding amount in his previous Southeast Tennessee position, has joined our community president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Knoxville.

Ryerson was previous president and CEO of United Way of the Ocoee Region covering Bradley and Polk counties. Ryerson, who was selected after a four-month search, succeeds Ben Landers, who retired after 26 years as leader of the United Way of Greater Knoxville. Ryerson has been hailed by United Way Worldwide’s U.S. President, Suzanne McCormick, as one of the greatest talents in the United Way system today.

During his time in Cleveland, Matt lead the process to create an adult dental clinic starting with the initial assessment of need. Additionally, he launched a neighborhood revitalization initiative impacting one of Tennessee’s highest concentrations of income disparity. 

Matt was also responsible for the development of a nonprofit incubator, with office space, training and development, mentoring, executive coaching and growth plans for new nonprofits.

“Matthew’s track record speaks for itself,” Gibson said. “He energized the Ocoee Region, and we know his vision and leadership will do the same for Greater Knoxville. The Knoxville position drew excellent candidates, and the committee has full confidence in its decision to select Matthew to lead the organization.”

Ryerson began his new position in Knoxville on Dec. 2.

“I am excited to walk alongside of the Chamber in my new roll at United Way. The strength of our respective organizations mirrors the strength of our community and we look forward to doing more together in the years to come.”  Ryerson said.  “So often the Chamber and United Way collaborate to improve the financial stability of our community and I see that continuing here in our future.”

In his first week as CEO, Ryerson has attended numerous events and has begun to assist 2019 Campaign Chair Andy Shafer in the current annual giving campaign.

Ryerson graduated from Bowling Green State University in Ohio with a degree in education. He earned his executive juris doctor (EJD) degree from Concord Law School at Purdue University Global in Indianapolis.

He has 26 years of nonprofit experience, including eight years as president and CEO of the United Way of the Ocoee Region. He is on the adjunct faculty at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, in both the Child and Family Studies Graduate Program and Humanities and Legal Studies.

Ryerson currently is a member of the United Way National Presidents Roundtable and has held several other United Way leadership positions.

Ryerson and his wife Heather have been married for 15 years and have four children, Jackson, 13, Chloe, 11, Gabi Rae, 7, and Elsie Caroline, 5. A dedicated runner, Ryerson has run in eight marathons, including Boston and New York City, and dozens of half-marathons, including the half-marathon held during the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.