Tonya Adair

Chief Development, Diversity & Engagement Officer

Subject Matter Expert


Alma Maters

Grambling State University, Alverno College, Cardinal Stritch University


Tonya Adair is Chief Development, Diversity & Engagement Officer at United Way for Southeastern Michigan. She joined the organization in 2018 as Chief Impact Officer to provide executive oversight of the community impact strategies for United Way. In this role, Tonya was responsible for leading the impact teams to assure consistent focus on stable households and thriving children for communities served. Within two years, Tonya provided leadership in the successful development and implementation of several new initiatives and collaborative local and national partnerships, designed to drive transformational results for community impact objectives. Initiatives established under her leadership include Connect 313, Tech Funds for Detroit Charter School Students, Connecting Seniors Project, Choose Healthy Life Faith Based Partnership, Harlem Children’s Zone Audacious Project COVID Response, UWSEM Community Schools, Early Childhood Support Network, My Home Library Project, Virtual Family Literacy Fairs, and the Parent Community of Practice Pandemic Support Group.

Tonya is charged with leading several departments including People and Culture; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Corporate and Community Engagement; and Marketing. The office serves as a backbone support to the overall organization, providing collaborative supports and services to assure effective and efficient operations, functions and experiences for all staff and stakeholders engaged with United Way for Southeastern Michigan. Additionally, Tonya leads social innovation and transformational partnerships designed to produce equitable outcomes for children and families within the Southeastern Michigan community.

Tonya’s professional background, education and experience as a transformational leader in education positions her to serve well in this role. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Grambling State University and a master’s degree in education administration and leadership from Alverno College. Additionally, she also holds a human resource management certification from Cardinal Stritch University of Milwaukee and is pursuing a doctorate in philosophy in language and literacy.

Tonya has held several professional affiliations, received numerous professional recognitions, and served on multiple boards and committees over the years. Currently Tonya proudly serves on the boards of directors for City Year Detroit and The Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan and serves on the advisory council for The Greenlight Fund.

Over the years, Tonya has received several awards and honors, including the 2020 Salute to Diversity Award from Corp! Magazine, 2018 Induction to the Alverno College Vanguard Society, Top Ladies of Distinction Education Award, Wisconsin Women on the Move; Educational Administrator of the Year from the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee; Sarah Scott Outstanding Administrator Award from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Alliance of Black School Educators; and the Ladies of Great Distinction Award from the African American Ladies Empowered to Grow Opportunities.