Gallagher was born in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in Hobart, Indiana. In 1981, he graduated from Ball State University with a degree in social work and started with the United Way as a management trainee. In 1992, he received his MBA from Emory University, and in 2003 Ball State University awarded Gallagher an honorary Doctor of Humanities.
In 2002, Gallagher was appointed to be the President and CEO of the United Way of America, a position he held until 2009 when United Way of America and United Way International joined to form United Way Worldwide, where he acts as President and CEO. He received total compensation of more than $1.5 million in 2012.
- "United Way jobs interest business majors - The Daily Texan". www.dailytexanonline.com.
- "President and Chief Executive Officer, United Way Worldwide - United Way Worldwide". liveunited.org.
- "United Way Worldwide Form 990 2012" (PDF). 3cdn.net.
- "Brian Gallagher, president and CEO of United Way Worldwide, named Ball State trustee". bsu.edu.
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