Most Powerful & Influential Women
Alana Sweeny, a Mahopac resident, has dedicated her career to working directly with children, individuals and families facing challenges such as poverty or special needs, and supporting their cause through policy, partnerships and funding. As an early childhood educator, special educator and school administrator, Sweeny has worked with young children and their families for more than 40 years. She also developed model local programs and influenced state and national policy initiatives related to youth, families, and education.
Prior to joining United Way of Westchester and Putnam, Sweeny served as executive director of the Police Athletic League in New York City, providing 40,000 inner-city children with education, sports, recreational activities and workforce development in high poverty and crime areas. As Commissioner of the New York State Council on Children and Families, she coordinated the state’s 13 education, health and human services agency’s joint priorities as they affected children and families. Additionally, Sweeny has chaired numerous state task forces, including Out of Wedlock Pregnancy and Poverty and the Alliance for Family Literacy. She co-chaired, with the state education commissioner, the task force on School-Community Collaboration.
Sweeny’s involvement with United Way spans decades, serving as both board chair for the United Way of Putnam and vice chair of the Board of United Way of Westchester and Putnam in the early 1990s. She was Governor George Pataki’s point person in working towards the development of United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline, and worked closely with the United Way of New York State on early childhood, health and poverty issues.
She was selected by the NY State Senate as a 2014 “Woman of Distinction,” an honor she previously received in 1999. She is married to Judge John Sweeny, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, and is the mother of three adult sons.