Abby Verdillo Hamilton: 2022 Cabell Brand Hope Award Recipient

We are happy to announce that Abby Verdillo Hamilton, CEO of United Way Roanoke Valley, is the recipient of the 2022 Cabell Brand Hope Award!

Abby was born in the Philippines, and it is there that she developed her love for community service. In 2002 she began her career with the United Way of Roanoke Valley, where her leadership helped to make it one of the community’s cornerstone nonprofits. As she puts it, “Our role has always been about elevating the lives of people. We improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of people.” Abby was promoted to CEO in 2020, and is one of a handful of Asian United Way CEOs in the national United Way network.

Spirit of Collaboration

Abby has spent close to 15 years building and growing various collaborations. Her leadership style and inclination for engaging diverse audiences and collaborating with others have driven the development and growth of local and regional partnerships to improve outcomes in our community’s most pressing challenges. Among these are: Ready Regions West (formerly Smart Beginnings Greater Roanoke); Bank On Roanoke Valley; and Healthy Roanoke Valley.

It is this same collaborative spirit that led Abby to initiate bi-weekly virtual COVID Response Meetings that brought together as many as 150 people during the height of the pandemic. These efforts helped with the coordination among local governments, health departments, and nonprofits to meet the most immediate needs of families during the crisis. She also actively assisted in the sourcing and local distribution of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies to neighborhoods hardest hit by pandemic, and was among the first community volunteers at the local mass vaccination clinics.

Expert in the Field

Given her experience, Abby is often asked to serve on the core teams for state-funded pilots and learning cohorts to explore innovative strategies to address our community’s needs. She has worked with the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation to help inform the design and replication of Virginia’s mixed delivery preschool program, quality rating and improvement system, early childhood data sharing systems, and coordinated preschool enrollment. She is also part of the Ready Regions Strategic Leadership Cohort, a statewide regional network of thought leaders working to increase knowledge about the value of the early childhood system to Virginia’s workforce, economy, and prosperity.

Abby was selected by fellow United Way CEOs to represent network membership in the United Way Worldwide Operating Model and Culture Task Force, which works closely with the UWW Board of Directors and Executive leadership team. In May 2022, she received the Roanoke NAACP Citizen of the Year – Humanitarian of the Year Award in recognition of her many contributions to the Roanoke Valley and beyond.

Abby has a bachelor of science in agriculture from the University of the Philippines, masters in nonprofit management from Regis University in Colorado, and a certificate in leadership from the Hollins University – Batten Leadership Institute.