Ali Center honors Metro United Way President/CEO Adria Johnson

Woman standing in front of Metro United Way sign wearing a blue shirt with "Live United" text smiling at camera



Muhammad Ali Center honors Metro United Way President and CEO Adria Johnson as Daughter of Greatness

Johnson has more than three decades of experience serving communities in Louisville and across the commonwealth

LOUISVILLE, KY (November 15, 2023) — The Muhammad Ali Center is honoring a leader in the Louisville community and a friend of the Center, Adria Johnson, as a Daughter of Greatness on Friday, November 17.

The special presentation takes place at the Ali Center beginning at 9 a.m.

The Center’s Daughters of Greatness program honors women who are changemakers in social philanthropy, activism and pursuits of justice. Women selected as Daughters of Greatness embody Muhammad Ali’s core values and inspire others to work toward a more just and compassionate world.

Johnson currently serves as President and CEO of Metro United Way. She became the first Black woman to lead Metro United Way in its 100+ year history in July 2021 and was recently announced as one of Louisville’s Most Admired CEOs by Louisville Business First. 

Johnson’s career of bringing services to local communities and lifting some of society’s most vulnerable populations spans more than three decades in both public and private sectors.

“This is one of those lifetime ‘full circle moments’ for me and I am humbled beyond words to be connected to the legacy of a great man who changed the world,” Johnson said. “The work of Metro United Way, alongside our partners, team members and supporters, is very much in alignment with the vision of the Muhammad Ali Center, and I hope to use this platform to inspire greatness in those we serve in the community.”

“Adria Johnson is a leader whose compassion, empathy, and commitment to Louisville mirror Muhammad Ali’s legacy of service to our community,” Erin Herbert, Senior Director of Education & Curation with the Muhammad Ali Center said. “We are honored to name her as our next Daughter of Greatness.”

Johnson has been instrumental in leading Metro United Way through its transition from a community chest model to one of transformative impact. The organization’s priorities today are to help kids thrive, ensure households are strong, and that our entire community is equitable. 

This work includes neighborhood revitalization support, preventive and developmental services for children before they enter kindergarten, comprehensive services for youth-serving organizations, volunteer engagement, employment opportunities and workforce development, public policy efforts, among others.

Johnson was previously the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services and held key roles in Louisville Metro Government before working in state government. She has leveraged from her robust career experience and lived experience to create a more equitable impact and investment model at Metro United Way.

This year’s final Daughters of Greatness event has the largest attendance in the program’s history, due to Johnson’s tremendous outreach and impact in the community through Metro United Way and beyond.

Additional information on the Center’s Daughters of Greatness program, including how to make nominations for the 2024 series, can be found at


Dustin Vogt

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