Press Release: United Way of Forsyth County Supported Programs Provide Critical Help to At-Risk Youth

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – Approximately 265 Forsyth County troubled teens this year are getting a second chance to graduate high school after committing a juvenile offense, thanks to United Way of Forsyth County (UWFC) supported programs similar to a Dallas United Way program that will be featured on an Oprah Winfrey Network Docu-Series episode of “The Hero Effect,” airing on Dec. 10 at 10:30 a.m.
The UWFC supported “Work & Earn It “program is for teens who have committed offenses that could lead to incarceration.  At-risk teens are referred to the program by juvenile court counselors in order to pay restitution or perform community service.  The target population is youth ages 9 and 17 who are on probation or have been diverted from Juvenile Court. Local non-profits and governmental agencies collaborate by providing locations for the participants to perform their community service.  The youth not only compensate their victims, but also learn valuable vocational skills. 
 
The UWFC supported “Teen Court” program gives juvenile offenders the opportunity to perform community service and give back to their community. The program’s target population is youth between the ages nine and 15 who are first-time offenders or those who have been diverted from Juvenile Court.  The youth are required to serve on teen court, which also provides life skills lessons designed to help the teens make better choices and become accountable for their actions. Local attorneys and judges serve as judges and all proceedings are held in the Hall of Justice where actual court cases are heard.
 
A new inspirational docu-series, The Hero Effect, to air on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) on Dec. 10 at 10:30 a.m., features an episode highlighting a United Way-supported restaurant and culinary training facility in Dallas that provides a positive environment for teens recently released from juvenile detention.
“United Way of Forsyth County is dedicated to supporting at-risk youth throughout the County,” said Cindy Smith Gordineer, UWFC president and CEO. “By shining a spotlight on “Café Momentum,” The Hero Effect is underscoring the important work that is needed to help young people across our country gain the education, skills and confidence they need to succeed as adults.”
The Hero Effect brings to life the stories of ordinary individuals who are making extraordinary differences in their communities.  The ten-episode original series brings audiences real-life stories that build on United Way’s credo to fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community
 
Presented by United Way, produced by Dolphin Entertainment and hosted by Donald Driver, a former Wide Receiver for the Green Bay Packers and Emily Wilson, a philanthropist and actress, each episode of The Hero Effect concludes with a call to action, encouraging viewers to visit www.HeroEffect.com and connect with their local United Way or other community-based organizations to create positive change.
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Press Release: United Way of Forsyth County Names Aaron Singleton as Director of Communications.

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The United Way of Forsyth County is pleased to announce that Aaron Singleton has joined their team as Director of Communications.

Singleton most recently served as the Director of News and Media Relations for Winston Salem State University where he was responsible for promoting the university’s brand and developing the organization’s content strategy and public relations.

Prior to his role, at WSSU, Singleton served as the Director of Public Relations for Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, responsible for all internal and external communications.

Additionally, he currently serves on the board of The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas.

Singleton earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communications from Pennsylvania State University where he later served as a writer and editor in the Public Information Department.

Singleton has received eight International Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Awards for best news writing, public relations and marketing programs , four regional awards for best publications and a Telly Award (2005) for film/video.

In his current role Singleton will coordinate the organization’s overall communications strategy and broaden the awareness of the United Way of Forsyth County. He will report to the Vice President of Marketing and Engagement, Kim Thore.

United Way of Forsyth County believes quality of life relies on education, financial stability, health, and basic needs. All four are critical and interdependent to the collective success of our community. United Way of Forsyth County creates positive change in the community by aligning resources and strategic partners to achieve measurable, lasting results. We invest in improving student success and the high school graduation rate, increasing financial stability among lower-income individuals and families, broadening access to health care and prescription medications to the un- and under-insured, and providing critical assistance to those facing immediate crisis. Learn more about our work and rediscover the why behind the way at www.forsythunitedway.org.

 

Blog: Giving Tuesday -A Global Approach to Making a Difference in Our Community

What happens when you bring together a team of influencers and founding partners, to launch a global day of giving? #GivingTuesday and it is a international movement fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.

Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) (November 29, 2016) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

After two days for getting deals – Black Friday and Cyber Monday –#GivingTuesday is a day for giving back. In dozens of towns, cities, regions and states from Alaska to Maine, and Winston-Salem, NC to Dallas TX, people are embracing this day as an opportunity to raise money for local nonprofits, schools and arts organizations; run food and clothing drives; teach children about philanthropy; encourage acts of kindness; collaborate with their neighbors; and celebrate generosity.

In 2015, nonprofits raised more than $117 million online on #GivingTuesday to help make the world a better place in countless ways. Much more was generated offline and through donations of time and other resources. People participated in #GivingTuesday activities in 71 countries around the globe last year, and this year, participating countries include Australia, Brazil, Kenya, Slovenia, Tanzania, the UK and more.

#GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities; it provides a platform for them to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address local challenges. It also brings together the collective power of a unique blend of partners— nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses and corporations, as well as families and individuals—to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness.

One of the best ways to get involved is in your own community. You can find local volunteer opportunities here or you can support the United Way’s campaign by giving here.

 

Press Release: United Way of Forsyth County Names Kim Thore Vice President of Marketing and Engagement

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – Kim Thore was recently named vice president for marketing and community engagement at United Way of Forsyth County (UWFC).

Thore brings to UWFC 20 years of leadership experience in corporate and higher education marketing. In her role, Thore will ensure that marketing and branding efforts achieve maximum impact and favorably increase donor and community support. She will also lead innovative strategic thinking, planning and management of opportunities to enhance UWFC’s branding efforts and value proposition throughout Forsyth County.

Thore previously worked as a marketing strategist at Piedmont Advantage Credit Union, after serving in prior marketing leadership roles at Greensboro College and Wake Forest Universities.

Thore earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a member of professional women of Winston-Salem.

United Way of Forsyth County believes quality of life relies on education, financial stability, health, and basic needs. All four are critical and interdependent to the collective success of our community. United Way of Forsyth County creates positive change in the community by aligning resources and strategic partners to achieve measurable, lasting results. We invest in improving student success and the high school graduation rate, increasing financial stability among lower-income individuals and families, broadening access to health care and prescription medications to the un- and under-insured, and providing critical assistance to those facing immediate crisis. Learn more about our work and rediscover the why behind the way at www.forsythunitedway.org

 

Philanthropy Journal News Highlights Place Matters Initiative

Place Matters

By Sandra Cyr

Despite numerous initiatives in Forsyth County, North Carolina, poverty has increased by 70% over the last ten years in Winston-Salem. Out of the 100 largest metro areas in the country, Winston-Salem ranks 7th in the largest increase in the number of poor people living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty. Recognizing this growth in certain communities, United Way of Forsyth County (UWFC) asked themselves, ‘What does this mean, and what is our role in this?’

UWFC began the first conversations around what building stronger communities may look like in 2012, following a strategic planning process. Through developing relationships, adaptive learning, and an openness to the process, the Place Matters program evolved over the course of several years, and in July, 2016, the first of $2.8 million in funds were distributed to programs focused on strengthening the neighborhoods UWFC identified as focal locations.

Where to Start

UWFC began by looking at place-based work that was going on in Atlanta, Greenville, Cincinnati, and Louisville. By reviewing existing programs, combined with census and community data, they were able to better understand what Place Matters would be, and what they would do differently. They asked themselves, ‘what are the assets within each community, and how do you connect all of them and get them to work together?’

In 2013, UWFC started hosting networking nights in 13 different neighborhoods, inviting neighbors to come together and meet one another. From these monthly meetings, they identified influencers within each community, people who were engaged in the work, people who trusted the process. These individuals became the Resident Impact Council for their neighborhoods. All of the UWFC work for Place Matters is done through this council. Survey data compiled in the neighborhoods were presented to the council, and these residents used the data to set the priorities for the neighborhoods. The four guiding priorities they settled on were Unemployment and Underemployment; Multigenerational Support; Housing and Housing Stock; and Healthy Living.

Leading from Within

Every community has its own set of challenges, resources and needs. There isn’t one blanket solution that will transfer across communities, so it is imperative to the success of Place Matters that it is resident-led and addresses the priorities determined by the residents. The work is owned by the residents in these communities, and the United Way supports that work. “We can simply go in and say we are trying to build stronger communities,” says Alana James, UWFC’s Director of Community Based Collaborations. “But what that means to individuals who actually live and work in a neighborhood is going to be determined by them. I think that’s something, not coming in with the end in mind, but simply coming in to say we are all going to buy into this process and we are all going to do it together and we are going to understand what role we can play in support of that.”

While UWFC is not a direct service provider, they have become more involved in this program than in previous programs by being direct relationship developers.

Trust is not transferrable. In order for an organization to build trust within a community, they need to be present, to listen to the community members and build those relationships. Moving to different communities, or even working with new members in the original community, that process needs to happen over and over again. This is what United Way of Forsyth County discovered through developing the Place Matters program. Moving away from the more traditional role of a United Way, Place Matters works to build direct relationships within the neighborhoods they are working to serve. Trust is the lifeblood of this work.
UWFC works as a convener in strengthening existing relationships and bringing new relationships to the communities. Through the Resident Impact Council, community members are able to share their direct experience and help identify what some of the priorities are from the neighborhood. “We had the survey data, as well as the input from this group of individuals, as well as census data/population data,” says Alana. “We have the numbers, that’s half the story. Help us make sense of this. That’s something we really wanted to hear the stories from individuals to help us make sense of that data. Then when we crafted those priorities, we went to the communities and said, ‘can you help us achieve these goals?’”

“If we don’t hand over the control to people who are living in these communities, we will never really have a long-term effect,” adds Cindy Gordineer, President and CEO.

Fostering the Trust

Showing up with a sense of learning together around the work and being comfortable with not having all the answers has been a large part of the authentic trust building in Place Matters. According to Alana, “adaptive learning has been the way that we describe what we expect from any partner that we are investing in to help us partner around this work, as well as asking that they be patient with us as we go through a process of adaptive learning. We say, ‘can you give us some feedback?’ and they come back and see that we have acted on that feedback.

“The individuals who said we weren’t doing anything different or, ‘we’ve seen this before and it doesn’t really work here and here’s why I think so,’ helped us really make the decisions around what we were going to invest in. Now that we have invested in them, they are the eyes and ears, they are on the ground making sure that people are doing what they say they are, but also helping. Helping get the word out. Attending things. Providing valuable feedback and leading and guiding this work.”

Through Place Matters, UWFC has grown to understand that relationships are really what are going to change the face of things, not just more money. By bringing additional relationships to an area that has been underinvested, Place Matters has been able to build connections in the neighborhoods, between the neighborhoods, and with the rest of the community. “We aren’t always the ones who have the answer, but we might know someone who does. So not only making sure we are going in it and trying to be supportive, but also bringing in other people and welcoming them and saying this is still just a part of this larger community,” says Alana.

We don’t have all the answers

Showing up with all the answers does not build trust in any relationship. By being willing to make and admit mistakes, being willing to say, “I don’t know,” UWFC has fostered stronger relationships in the communities and with their partner agencies. “People are always afraid to say, ‘I don’t know,’ or, ‘this didn’t work,’ but when something doesn’t work or something can be better and people see that you acted on that and see that their feedback has actually been taken into account, that just further strengthens the relationship because you are seen as an equal partner in this work,” says Cindy. “Just as the people that we have best relationships with, we prescribe good intent to them. We assume that they weren’t trying to harm us when they made a mistake. These relationships build that in. So when we make a misstep, it isn’t seen as a misstep. Oh, you didn’t know this and now you know. The relationship builds in on both sides that forgiveness, and that expectation that you are doing this from the right reason.

“A big part of our role now is to make sure a lot of this very carefully builds trust, and protecting and nurturing it as best as we can and so that we don’t let one wrong step bring us back to the first step.”

Another important role UWFC sees for themselves is to continue to make sure that the voices of the residents are the loudest voices. In the past, this is not the way UWFC has worked, and it is not the way a lot of their partners have worked. By being vigilant in respecting the residents’ voices, they hope to avoid falling back into old patterns.

Place Matters has impacted everything UWFC does now. It has changed their understanding of the importance of relationships and about working more directly with people and building those stronger connections. They recognize that long-term wins take a long time. Stronger communities are not built overnight. It can take many generations to make this change. And they are ok with that. Some progress may be very slow.

Foundations need to allow their grantees the comfort of coming in and saying what’s not working well, and if everyone is saying everything is perfect, no one is going to learn anything. “For us,” says Cindy, “to change that dynamic, we have to model that dynamic. When we are wrong we have to say we are wrong. Our intent is good, and our goals are the right goals, but we don’t have a defined path that we know is going to get us to them in 20 years. If we weren’t willing to figure it out, then we would only be able to do things that we could accomplish in the next 6 months, because that is as far as we can see. In order for us to work longer term, we have to be willing to be wrong a lot because we cannot see further out, and that also allows us to model it for our partners.”

Alana James is the Director of Community Based Collaborations for the United Way of Forsyth County. Cindy Gordineer is the President and CEO for UWFC.

  • originally published in the Philanthropy Journal November 7, 2016

Editorial: Support United Way of Forsyth County- Winston Salem Journal

*Originally published September 14, 2016

 

The economy is turning around in a good way, albeit slowly. We continue to face tough choices about where to give dollars to help us all. And as we do so, there can be no better a recipient than United Way of Forsyth County, which, now, more than ever before, is concentrated on programs aimed at bettering us all, from raising graduation rates to improving neighborhoods.

Under United Way head Cindy Gordineer, the local agency is focusing on that concentration through a new range of initiatives and ways of working with the community. The agency, through its partner organizations, is continuing to meet basic needs such as food, shelter and housing. But through its new efforts, most notably the targeted neighborhood work of “Place Matters in eastern Winston-Salem,” the local United Way is striving to help create a culture where those basic needs won’t become as urgent, a culture where we all move forward together.

“There is a synergy,” this year’s campaign chairman, John Fox of First Tennessee Bank, recently told our editorial board.

United Way of Forsyth County has a set a campaign goal with a range of $16.3 to $16.5 million. It’s well worth support. There’s no other agency to which you can give that better spreads effective benevolence, especially in a time when financial support from the state and federal governments is not what it should be.

The local agency is a fine steward of the donations to which it is entrusted. It has become strategic, encouraging the organizations with which it works to combine their efforts when possible to avoid duplication and maximize results. The local agency is continuing its strong work of being pro-active rather than reactive. For example, the agency has played a leading role in the fight to raise graduation rates in the local school system to 90 percent by 2018, a goal that is finally within sight.

Gordineer and Fox are committed to creatively confronting challenges head-on. To continue that work, they’re appealing to a wide a range of donors — they call them “investors” — in our future.

The local United Way won’t abandon its commitment to basic needs, because, among other things, “You can’t learn if you’re hungry,” Fox noted.

Fox and Gordineer are confident that the agency can meet the campaign goal. We are changing, but some things remains the same. “We do have the advantage of history,” Fox said. “This has been a very generous community.”

We’ve markedly changed, from a county that depended on the benevolence of a few strong factory-owning families, one where a worker could make a good living with a high-school diploma, to one where company headquarters are mainly out of town and a community-college education is the bare minimum for success. The local United Way has rightly changed with those times. Its efforts have never been more needed.

Blog: United Way and Physical Health: The Why Behind The Way

United Way and Physical Health: The Why Behind The Way

November 2016

“The Why Behind The Way.” It’s United Way of Forsyth County’s 2016 Campaign slogan, but what does it really mean? We recently talked about this in a recent post.

Here, we answer why United Way is investing in numerous health programs across Forsyth County.

Winston-Salem and Forsyth County have made tremendous progress over the years. However, too many of our residents don’t have the same opportunities to live a stable and healthy life. Even with all the exceptional health care resources in Forsyth County, the rates of chronic disease here are too high .

At United Way of Forsyth County, we know that good health begins long before you need medical care. It begins where we live, learn, work, and play. So what can we do?

United Way supports integrated solutions that diagnose, treat, and control cancer, heart disease and diabetes so all members of our community have a chance to live a long and healthy life.

CREATING SOLUTIONS TOGETHER

United Way is partnering with groups from across Forsyth County, including local businesses, governments, hospitals, faith-based organizations, and residents, to maximize donor investments and give all our residents the fundamentals of a good life: education, financial stability and health.

In this year alone, United Way will invest about $12 Million in 71 programs across the community. Just in the areas of physical and mental health, we will invest about $3.3 million in 26 programs. These programs are working to improve health disparities in our community and address the “social determinants of health” that are often the root causes of chronic disease

At United Way, the money we raise goes right back into this community to help people now – it’s why your donations are so important each and every year. By joining with other United Way supporters, you are showing this community’s enduring commitment to provide each of our neighbors with the opportunity to live a stable and healthy life.

RISK FACTORS FOR CANCER, HEART DISEASE, AND DIABETES

Chronic diseases have a variety of “risk factors” that increase their likelihood of occurring in a person. Some of these risk factors are obviously outside of our control, such as our genetics. Other risk factors, known as “Social Determinants,” are caused by the environment in which we live. Often these factors are also outside or our control. Or, we may need some help to effectively address them. Here you can see how these social determinants are often at the root cause of our health and can impact other Contributing Risk Factors that may cause cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

chart2

Together – United – we are making Forsyth County a better place. And at the most fundamental level, your donations are changing peoples’ lives.

That’s the Why Behind the Way.

Donate to support United Way and help our neighbors live better and stronger lives. www.forsythunitedway.org

 

Press Release: “Hero Effect” Docu-Series on OWN Network Highlights United Way Initiatives

Winston Salem, NC- November 4, 2016 – A new inspirational docu-series, The Hero Effect is premiering on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) with an inaugural episode highlighting United Way’s work supporting military veterans. In anticipation of the episode, United Way of Forsyth County today announced it has helped more than 200 veterans in: accessing workforce training, obtaining meaningful employment, finding long-term housing, and achieving financial stability.

Presented by United Way and produced by Dolphin Entertainment, The Hero Effect is an uplifting docu-series that brings to life the stories of ordinary individuals who are making extraordinary differences in their communities. The ten-episode original series brings audiences real-life stories that build on United Way’s credo to fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community.

The first episode of The Hero Effect kicks-off on Saturday, November 12 at 10 am EST, and features Mission United™ – a community network connecting veterans with access to housing, employment and legal services, allowing them to successfully integrate into civilian life. The episode spotlights Mission United founder Stephen Moss, a former Army Company Commander in the Vietnam War who was inspired to take action after his daughter returned from deployment with injuries.

Hosted by Donald Driver, a former Wide Receiver for the Green Bay Packers and Emily Wilson, a philanthropist and actress, each episode concludes with a call to action, encouraging viewers to visit www.HeroEffect.com and connect with their local United Way or other community-based organizations to create positive change.

“United Way Forsyth County in partnership with The Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries, is committed to supporting veterans who are grappling with housing needs, by providing homeless prevention and rapid re-housing services” said President and CEO, Cindy Gordineer ” By sharing Stephen Moss’s story, The Hero Effect is shining the spotlight on the struggles veterans and their families face around the country and in our community.”

United Way of Forsyth County believes quality of life relies on education, financial stability, health, and basic needs. All four are critical and interdependent to the collective success of our community. United Way of Forsyth County creates positive change in the community by aligning resources and strategic partners to achieve measurable, lasting results. We invest in improving student success and the high school graduation rate, increasing financial stability among lower-income individuals and families, broadening access to health care and providing critical assistance to those facing immediate crisis. Learn more about our work and rediscover the why behind the way at www.forsythunitedway.org.

About Dolphin Entertainment

Founded in 1996, Dolphin is a world-class independent financier, distributor and producer of premium film, television and digital programming. Dolphin has produced and delivered original content to more than 300 million homes in 125 countries. Dolphin Entertainment is an Emmy-nominated leader in family, tween, teen and young-adult television programming. Dolphin Entertainment is known for creating hit properties such as Emmy-nominated Zoey 101 (Nickelodeon’s highest-rated series), Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, and What’s Up Warthogs (Family Channel’s Canadian Screen Award nominated). The Dolphin Entertainment-produced family sitcom Raising Expectations, starring Molly Ringwald and Jason Priestley, premiered on Mother’s Day 2016, on Family Channel Canada.

About OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey’s heart and creative instincts inform the brand – and the magnetism of the channel. Winfrey provides leadership in programming and attracts superstar talent to join her in primetime, building a global community of like-minded viewers and leading that community to connect on social media and beyond. OWN is a singular destination on cable. Depth with edge. Heart. Star power. Connection. And endless possibilities. OWN is a joint venture between Harpo, Inc. and Discovery Communications. The network debuted on January 1, 2011. The venture also includes the award-winning digital platform Oprah.com. For more information, please visit www.oprah.com/own and https://press.discovery.com/us/own/.

 

Press Release: The United Way of Forsyth County Partners with the NFL to Introduce the Character Playbook

November 3, 2016 – Winston-Salem, NC – The United Way of Forsyth County Partners with the NFL

The United Way of Forsyth County is collaborating with the National Football league (NFL) and the Carolina Panthers to introduce the Character Playbook to the Winston Salem/ Forsyth County School System. “Character Playbook- Building Healthy Relationships” is an innovative digital course that uses evidence-based strategies to educate students on how to cultivate and maintain relationships during their critical teenage years.

Character Playbook is comprised of six modules that cover key concepts around positive character development, social-emotional learning and building healthy relationships. Social/emotional development is a key aspect for the successful future of Forsyth County’s children.

Designed for learners in grades 7-9, the digital learning experience enables students to engage with true-to-life scenarios that include bystander intervention strategies and positive relationship examples. Most importantly, the course prepares students with safe, effective options for stepping up when a friend, family member, or fellow student needs help.

The program has been written into WS/FC School’s Life Management Skills curriculum which is required for all 9th graders in sixteen area high schools. All 9th grade teachers will be trained and will be able to use the course in context with other character development/healthy relationship conversations.

United Way President and CEO Cindy Gordineer notes, “We are very excited about this program. It aligns with important initiatives we already have on health, school success and career readiness. At United Way we’re proud to be a leader on the topic of character and healthy relationship education.”

United Way of Forsyth County believes quality of life relies on education, financial stability, health, and basic needs. All four are critical and interdependent to the collective success of our community. United Way of Forsyth County creates positive change in the community by aligning resources and strategic partners to achieve measurable, lasting results. We invest in improving student success and the high school graduation rate, increasing financial stability among lower-income individuals and families, broadening access to health care and providing critical assistance to those facing immediate crisis. Learn more about our work and rediscover the why behind the way at www.forsythunitedway.org.