In his role, Matt Wallen is responsible for leading the strategic investment of United Way of the Midlands’ (UWM) financial and non-financial resources to create the greatest possible impact in helping improve outcomes for individuals and families. He is a strong advocate for prevention services that help strengthen families and he is passionate about addressing multi-generational poverty in our community.
Prior to joining UWM, Wallen served as chief of staff and director for the Division of Children and Family Services (CFS) at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). As chief of staff he worked directly with the CEO on guiding day-to-day operations, leading priority projects within the Department, and aligning division actions and communications in support of DHHS’ mission.
Governor Ricketts appointed Wallen to director of the Division of Children and Family Services, effective August 2017, and the 105th Nebraska Legislature confirmed him during the second session (January 2018). Under Wallen’s leadership, CFS focused on three primary objectives that led to year-over-year decreases in the number of children in out of home placements and a reduction in the total number of children entering the child welfare system.
Prior to joining DHHS, Wallen provided consulting services to federal and state elected officials and at Union Pacific Railroad in the marketing and sales department. He also previously served on the Congressional staff for the U.S. House of Representatives, as a subcommittee staff director responsible for formulating the legislative agenda and policy alternatives; as chief of staff for Congressman Steven C. LaTourette (OH-14); and as director of constituent services for U.S. Senator Ben Sasse. Wallen also previously served in the senior executive service as the director of the Office of Public Assistance, Governmental Affairs and Compliance at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Surface Transportation Board.
Wallen earned his BA from the State University of New York at Fredonia, his MA from George Washington University, and a graduate certificate from the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, VA.
He resides in Gretna with his wife Jill, and three children Evan, Molly and Benjamin.