Paula Wright, President of the Board of Directors of Ronald McDonald House Charities of New England (RMHCNE), announced the appointment of Gretchen E. Manning as the organization’s new Chief Executive Officer.
Manning, who has held executive cabinet-level positions in government and higher education is an accomplished leader with a demonstrated track record in strategic planning, resource development, program implementation and emergency management. Most recently, she served as Deputy Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges (MACC). She has also served as a relief volunteer for RMHCNE for the past three years and brings a unique perspective to the position in addition to her experience and background.
“Gretchen is a respected community leader and throughout her career she has shown strategic vision helping each organization she has worked with rise to the next level,” said Wright. “Her leadership skills coupled with her passion for our mission, make her uniquely well-suited for the role of Chief Executive Officer of RMHCNE. We are fortunate to have someone with Gretchen’s vision and breadth of background lead Ronald McDonald House Charities of New England forward.”
Under Manning’s leadership MACC sought and received more than $40-million in federal grants to expand workforce development programs and launched a comprehensive $1-million coordinated public awareness and marketing campaign for the Massachusetts community college system – the first of its kind for the community colleges in the state. She also led the MACC community college COVID-19 crisis management response for the segment at the onset of the pandemic. Manning has extensive experience in fundraising, government relations and community partnerships. At Bunker Hill Community College where she was the chief advancement officer and chief policy advisor, she led all fundraising operations including donor engagement, corporate philanthropy, and restricted endowments. In this role she also effectively advocated with the Massachusetts State Legislature, providing in-person and written testimony to several House and Senate Committees.
“RMHCNE helps keep families close while they access critically needed pediatric healthcare at the best hospitals in the country right here in New England. We envision a world where all children have access to life-saving healthcare and where families are fully supported and actively involved in their children’s care,” said Manning. “Our wrap-around programs and services such as Meals with Love, family engagement activities, sibling programs, and our overall holistic hospitality approach all focus on helping the entire family feel supported during their stay. I feel privileged to be working alongside the local healthcare experts, our team at RMHCNE, our volunteers and our dedicated Board of Directors to fulfill our critical mission. My heart is truly bursting with gratitude.”
From that lens, Manning has already created a new fund to expand and enhance services for families. The new CEO’s Families First Fund will support excellence in family-centered care programs. “Research shows that medical recovery outcomes are greatly improved when parents are more rested and active in their child’s treatment. By staying at one of our Ronald McDonald Houses or visiting one of our hospital family rooms, parents are comforted, nurtured, and supported while staying close to their child during medical care,” said Manning. She invites individuals and corporate partners to help RMHCNE comprehensively support families during her inaugural year at the helm by visiting the CEO’s Families First Fund at https://rmhcne.org/ways-to-give/ceos-families-first-fund/.
Manning holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Russell Sage College, a master’s degree in educational administration from the State University of New York at Albany, and a post-graduate professional certificate in Higher Education Crisis Leadership from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.