WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- United Way of Westchester and Putnam (UWWP) announced Alana Sweeny has been named new president and chief executive officer, effective June 2.
Sweeny joins the organization following Naomi Adler’s departure after six years of service.
Sweeny, a Mahopac resident, has dedicated her career to working directly with children, individuals and families facing challenges such as poverty or special needs, and supporting their cause through policy, partnerships and funding. As an early childhood educator, special educator and school administrator, Sweeny has worked with young children and their families for more than 30 years. She has also developed model local programs and influenced state and national policy initiatives related to youth, families, and education.
“Ms. Sweeny’s extensive background in fundraising, human services, and government, as well as her strong focus on children’s issues, make her the perfect fit to lead the United Way of Westchester and Putnam,” said Gregory D. Bassuk, chair of the UWWP board of directors and chief operating officer of IndexIQ. “Ms. Sweeny will be a passionate advocate for critical programs such as United Way’s 2-1-1 and will help us make tremendous strides in our education, income, and health initiatives.”
Sweeny served as executive director of the Police Athletic League in New York City from 2011-14, providing 40,000 inner-city children with education, sports, recreational activities and workforce development in high poverty and crime areas.
As commissioner of the New York State Council on Children and Families, she coordinated the state’s 13 education, health and human services agencies joint priorities as they affected children and families. Additionally, Sweeny has chaired numerous task forces, including Out of Wedlock Pregnancy and Poverty and the Alliance for Family Literacy. She co-chaired, with the state education commissioner, the task force on School-Community Collaboration.
“I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to serve my community in this capacity,” Sweeny said. “I’m honored to join an organization as longstanding and highly regarded as the United Way of Westchester and Putnam, and look forward to making a difference in the lives of those in our local community and beyond.”
Sweeny’s involvement with UWWP spans decades, serving as both board chair for the United Way of Putnam and vice chair of the board of United Way of Westchester and Putnam in the early 1990s. She was Gov. George Pataki’s point person in working towards the development of United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline, and worked closely with the United Way of New York State on early childhood, health and poverty issues.
An active community member, Sweeny is a volunteer for the Greater New York Chapter of the American Red Cross and is vice president of the board of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Putnam County. She was recently selected by the New York State Senate as a 2014 “Woman of Distinction,” an honor she previously received in 1999.
She is married to Judge John Sweeny, associate justice of the state Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department, and is the mother of three adult sons.