Meet Our President & CEO

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We are pleased to announce Helen Forbes Fields as our next President and CEO! A lifelong advocate for Cleveland, she has the experience, strategic thinking, and resilience to continue our organization’s momentum toward true racial and gender equity.

Forbes Fields previously served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of United Way of Greater Cleveland, a position she has held for over five years. She was responsible for United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Regional Initiatives, a portfolio that encompasses local and state government relations, management of Geauga office, Race Diversity Equity and Inclusion Initiative, board management, leadership on $4.5 million Accountable Health Community (“AHC”) Advisory Committee and reviewing all legal matters. 

Served as Vice President of Community Impact and General Counsel from October 2017 – June 2018 supervising the allocations process of United Way, managing the $4.5 million Accountable Health Communities grant, and reviewing all legal matters. In addition, she facilitated the creation of the United Way’s Equity Leadership Council which provides guidance and advice on United Way’s race, diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Forbes Fields came to United Way with over 31 years of experience practicing law with the Forbes, Fields & Associates law firm, where she was previously active in the firm’s public law and municipal finance practice.  Ms. Forbes Fields was involved in various public and privately placed issuance of revenue bonds and general obligation bonds for the State of Ohio and its political subdivisions, the Board of Education of the Cleveland City School District, Ohio, and other cities and counties in the United States.  She served as Law Director to the City of East Cleveland, Ohio in 1997 and 2005.   

Forbes Fields graduated cum laude in 1981, from Spelman College with a B.A. degree in Political Science and received her J.D. in 1984 from Howard University School of Law.  She also attended Loyola University Summer Law School, Rome, Italy, in 1983. 

Forbes Fields has been admitted to practice before the Ohio Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and the United States Court of Appeals in the Sixth Circuit.  She is a member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, where she has served on the Bar Admissions Committee.  

Forbes Fields has been profiled in several magazine publications for her community and civic interests, and received recognition by Fraser Net and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for her contributions to the community, Crain’s as a 2019 Notable Woman in Nonprofit. She was awarded the Cleveland Arts Prize Special Prize in 2020 and selected by Smart Women as a Progressive Woman honoree in 2021.  She is a graduate of Leadership Cleveland, Class of 1994. Currently, she serves as a trustee for the Cleveland Museum of Art, where she led the Museum’s Board effort in the implementation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan; County Executive Budish’s appointee to the Board of Trustees, of Cuyahoga Community College where she currently serves as Chairperson of the Board.  She also serves as Chair of the Board of Front International, and member of the Spelman College Museum of Art Advisory Committee. 

Forbes Fields is married to Darrell A. Fields and they have three grown children. 

Helen Forbes Fields can be contacted at