Connie Hodges

Retired, CEO & President United Way of Northeast Florida


Connie’s career with United Way began following completion of her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Kansas. During the last year in the program she completed a 10 month internship at the local United Way and knew immediately that she had found her life’s work. Connie then served in United Ways in both Kansas and Michigan before joining the United Way in Jacksonville in 1986. Connie spent 28 years with United Way of Northeast Florida and retired in 2014 after serving as CEO for 16 years.


Under Connie’s leadership, the organization evolved from primarily a fundraising organization to the community impact model. This model focused on research-based initiatives that keep students on track to graduation, prepare children to start kindergarten, assist families in achieving financial stability and help people lead healthy and more productive lives. In 2009 and 2014 United Way of Northeast Florida received the coveted Best Practices Common Good Award from United Way Worldwide recognizing the innovative Achievers for Life and the Real Sense Prosperity Initiative.


Connie has been active in community service activities throughout her career. She has served on the boards of Downtown Rotary, Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, Jacksonville Children’s Commission, Uptown Civitan, the Early Learning Coalition and United Way’s National Professional Council. She is currently a Trustee of the Baptist Health Foundation and Chair-Elect of OneJax, an interfaith organization.


Connie recognizes the importance of focusing on the many facets of youth engagement including the arts and especially music. She has long respected the work of Jacksonville Children’s Chorus and its stellar record of awarding scholarships that enable children who might not otherwise have a choral experience. Connie and her husband, Bill, have two sons who were loyal participants in their children’s church chorus and bell choir. When asked to participate in Jacksonville’s Dancing with the stars event, her first thought was excitement and then fear of not being up to such a rigorous activity. Although she took dance lessons in tap and ballet in her youth, she has had no experience in ballroom dancing. A little soul searching following a rough two-year battle with breast cancer in 2015 and 2016, Connie decided DWTS was an opportunity to celebrate her love of music and continuing journey to better health.


Professional partner: Samuel Penalba


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