Press Release: Reynolds American, Inc, BB&T, HanesBrands and Inmar Receive United Way Spirit of North Carolina Awards

Winston Salem, NC  – Reynolds American, Inc (Manufacturing 2501-5000 Employees), BB&T, (Financial/Banking Institution 2501-5000 Employees), HanesBrands (Retail 1501-2500 Employees and Inmar, Inc (Professional Services 501-1000 Employees) have each been awarded the annual Spirit of NC Award.


On a yearly basis, United Way of North Carolina recognizes organizations that have succeeded in raising funds to support their community and have dedicated themselves to being part of the long-term solution to build stronger communities.  Judges from across North Carolina reviewed more than 50 applications to select winners who were honored in Pinehurst at the Spirit of North Carolina Award Lunch on February 13.


Leading beyond the traditional fundraising campaign, these winners created opportunities to educate employees on community needs, led by those at the top of the organizational chart; motivated campaign participants to give by exposing them to real stories of need; and provided volunteer opportunities so that donors could offer their knowledge and their hands to serve their community.


“The Spirit of North Carolina Award recognizes the collaborative partnerships United Way of Forsyth County builds with its supporters,” said Cindy Gordineer, President and CEO of United Way of Forsyth County.  “We are honored to have Reynolds American, BB&T, HanesBrands and Inmar, Inc. as  key stakeholders for a shared future where everyone in our community thrives and reaches their full potential.”


Winners were determined by a panel of 24 judges from United Way organizations across the state. For more information about the Spirit of North Carolina Award and a complete list of winners, visit


Women’s Leadership Council Annual Celebration Recognizes Local Volunteers , Students and Educators

November 2, 2018 For Immediate Release
The United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council of Forsyth County held their annual celebration and awards banquet at the Millennium Center, November 1, 2018
Founded in 2007, to date they have recruited over 1,000 members and raised over $5.5 million to support United Way’s effort to increase the graduation rate in Forsyth County to 90%. Focusing their attention on middle schools, their goal is to prepare students to be successful and hit the ground running as they begin 9th grade.
This year’s celebration recognized Lucy Williams, Reynolds American as the Outstanding Volunteer. This award recognizes an outstanding individual who has given their time and talent as a leader and volunteer.  The 2018 Corporate Award, which recognized the largest number of new WLC members in the 2018 campaign year, was awarded to BB&T. The Outstanding Educator Award which recognizes an educator’s passion and dedication for educating successful youth ready to enter the world of today, was awarded to Jason Pender, Mineral Springs Middle School. The Outstanding Youth Award, which recognized a student for their growth and persistence to learn while overcoming challenges, was awarded to DaChaari Obey, Philo-Hill Magnet Academy. The 7th Annual Susan Cameron award, which honors a woman who empowers other women in the community, was awarded to Betty Lou Vontsolos, of Inmar, for her leadership and her passion for growing the impact WLC has on our community  .
United Way President and CEO, Cindy Gordineer notes, “This was a great opportunity not only to celebrate the contributions our WLC has made to the community, but to honor outstanding students, educators, volunteers, and corporations. The Women’s Leadership Council works to educate women about our community’s most pressing needs, engage women as philanthropic leaders,  and most importantly, empower women to be a part of positive change in our community”.
For more information about the Women’s Leadership Council please visit:

Press Release: United Way Forsyth County Recognizes Campaign Volunteers and Partner Agencies at Award Ceremony

WINSTON-SALEM, NC –  United Way Forsyth County Recognizes Campaign Volunteers and Partner Agencies  at Award Ceremony

On May 3, 2018, The United Way of Forsyth County hosted a thank you and award ceremony honoring partners, staff, volunteers and donors for their work during the 2017 campaign at the Center for Design Innovation.

Winners included:

Laura Harrell, Hall of Fame Award, Twin City Warehouse/Adele Knits- recognized for her thirty years of service as a campaign chair.

Wake Forest University, Personal Touch Award; Barbara Walker, the 2017 Campaign Chair, was also recognized for her hard work and organization of a successful campaign.

Campaign Chair of the Year Award: Dave Riser, Reynolds American Inc.; Riser was recognized for being instrumental in Reynolds American’s campaign which reached a goal of 2.2 million dollars.

Shining Star Award: Goodwill Industries of Northwest NC; Goodwill was recognized as a partner agency and true advocate for the United Way.

Advocates of the Year: Jennie Grant- Heaton, BB&T , Trisha Coleman, Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center; as leaders of our Young Leaders United and Women’s Leadership Council affinity groups.

Leader of the Year: Tony Smits John Deere-Hitachi, recognized for the company’s 65% participation rate and 31% increase campaign dollars raised.

Spirit of the Community Award: Quality Oil-recognizing their leadership as keen advocates and supporters of the United Way.

Special Guest Speakers included Andrea Kurtz, Senior Director, Housing Strategies who updated the attendees on the progress of the ten-year plan to end chronic homelessness. In 2006, the city of Winston-Salem, and Forsyth County adopted the Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness. United Way of Forsyth County was chosen for its expertise and capacity to leverage community resources, coordinate collaborative projects and improve the system for all people experiencing a housing crisis. Since 2006, Chronic Veteran Homelessness has been eradicated and the number of the chronic homeless has been reduced from over 200 in 2006 to 17 (as documented in the January, 2018 Point in Time Count). Kurtz noted, “We continue to work towards a day when individuals are referred to their talents and contributions and not their housing status.”

Denita Mitchell, Program Director and former Client of the YWCA Hawley House spoke about her own recovery from substance abuse and how she moved from being a client of the Hawley House program to a member of the leadership team.  “I am very thankful to the United Way for supporting a program that helped me make a difference in my life”.

United Way of Forsyth County President and CEO, Cindy Gordineer noted, “One thing every strong community needs is a strong United Way. We are very fortunate to have a large network of partners that work with us collaboratively to ensure our entire community has access to a good life, as well as  our community volunteers who advocate passionately for those most in need. Thank you joining us in celebrating what it means to Live United over the past 95 years”.


Pictured: l-r: Dave Riser, VP External Relations, Reynolds American, Cindy Gordineer, President and CEO, United Way Forsyth County,  Dr. John D. McConnell, CEO Emeritus , Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

United Way of Forsyth County brings the community and its resources together to solve problems that no one organization can address alone.


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Press Release: Five Companies Receive United Way Spirit of North Carolina Award

Five Companies Receive United Way Spirit of North Carolina Award : Reynolds American, Quality Oil, Hanes Brands, BBT and Texwipe recognized for commitment to community

Winston Salem,  NC – United Way Forsyth County announced today Reynolds American, Quality Oil, Hanes Brands, BBT and Texwipe have been awarded the Spirit of North Carolina Award . The Spirit of North Carolina Award recognizes business and other organizations that are leading their communities in embracing a united spirit of giving and volunteering that extends beyond the traditional United Way campaign season. The Award was presented by United Way of North Carolina at its Spirit of North Carolina Award Luncheon in Pinehurst on February 21.

 Winners have not only demonstrated excellence in their United Way campaign, but also a strong philanthropic culture and community engagement. All received high marks for overall organizational volunteer culture, including collaborative work with United Way as well as other organizations in the community; corporate and non-traditional or in-kind support they provide; employee engagement, participation, and recognition; use of special events to engage and educate employees; and the role their leadership plays in promoting a culture of philanthropy and community support.

 “The Spirit of North Carolina Award recognizes the collaborative partnerships United Way Forsyth County (UWFC) builds with its supporters,” said UWFC President and CEO Cindy Gordineer “We are honored to have these companies as a key partners in building a stronger community where every man, woman, and child has the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

 Winners were determined by a panel of 20 judges from United Way organizations across the state. For more information about the Spirit of North Carolina Award and a complete list of winners, visit


 About the Spirit of North Carolina Award

The Spirit of North Carolina Award offers United Ways in NC communities an opportunity to honor organizations whose United Way campaigns exemplify the “spirit” of their community. Winners meet specific standards of achievement and are selected by a team of United Way leaders from across the state. United Way of North Carolina leads the award nomination and judging process and presents the award annually. For more information, contact Maureen McKeon, director of marketing and communications, at 919-834-5200 or


Pictured l-r Dave B. Riser, Kelli Rush, Mamie Sutphin from Reynolds American


Press Release: RAIS Finance Pros Put in 80 Volunteer Hours Easing the Tax-Prep Burden for Forsyth County Residents

Tax season is taxing for most of us, but many lower-income and elderly people find it especially complex and costly. A helping hand can make a big difference.

Each year, as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, qualified volunteer tax preparers in Forsyth County, N.C., fan out across the community, preparing taxes for free for people making $54,000 a year or less. This year, group of six RAI Services (RAIS) employees — all finance professionals — joined the volunteer effort on behalf of the nonprofit Experiment in Self-Reliance after getting the necessary training and certification.

“It was truly a rewarding experience,” said Edna Bonilla, a senior manager in the finance department and one of the volunteers. “The clientele is very grateful for the patience, time and knowledge invested in assisting them with the preparation of their tax returns. I would gladly volunteer going forward and encourage others to participate in the VITA program.”

The other volunteers this year were Joshua Hulin, Liqing Carey, Bruce Nix, Jim Carros and Dianise Maldonado. All were recently honored for their work with community-service certificates from the Internal Revenue Service, and they received special thank-you letters from the Experiment in Self Reliance. “They did an exceptional job, collectively contributing 80 hours this past tax season, and the payback was huge,” said Jerry Romans, vice president of special projects and board chairman of the local agency.

The VITA program, which is also supported by the United Way of Forsyth County, focuses on the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This represents the largest anti-poverty program in the U.S., lifting 9 million people out of poverty by providing low-income working adults with a tax credit based on their income. On average, a qualified Forsyth County taxpayer receives $1,700 in EITC credit, and sometimes the credit can be more than the amount earned during the year. In addition to benefiting working families, the credit brings money directly into the community. Volunteer tax preparers are educated on tax credits and help people receive every tax credit for which they qualify. For the 2017 tax season, nearly 4,000 returns — generating about $4.9 million in refunds, of which $2.3 million were EITC — were done through VITA/EITC programs in Forsyth County.

“This free tax preparation service is very much in line with our philanthropic mission,” Romans said. “It has a major economic impact, but it is very volunteer intensive, and we would love for more of our employees to participate next year.”

Press Release: Reynolds American Employees Donated Nearly $1.3 Million to United Way of Forsyth County

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – Employees at Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) have contributed nearly $1.3 million to the United Way of Forsyth County campaign in 2016, the company announced recently.

Overall, RAI companies, affiliates, employees and private charitable foundations donated $13 million in value to nonprofit organizations in 2016.

“In addition to the highest-ever participation rates in our matching grants program, our employees continued to give back to the community by volunteering with numerous organizations in our communities, including United Way’s Days of Caring,” said Mamie Sutphin, RAI Services Company’s director of community engagement programs. “We were thrilled to receive United Way of North Carolina’s Spirit of NC Award for the third year in a row as we continue our long history of supporting organizations that bring the greatest impact to our community.”

“We are grateful to Reynolds American,” said Cindy Gordineer, United Way of Forsyth County president and CEO.  Our corporate partner campaigns are critically important to reaching our goals and enhancing our community. Such passionate and caring workplaces help Forsyth County create positive change . . . and great things happen when we Live United.”

The Reynolds American Foundation donated a total of $8.9 million last year, including funds donated to match grants made by employees. The Foundation’s largest contributions were to United Way of Forsyth County and surrounding area United Ways.

Press Release: Five local Organizations Named Recipients of Spirit of North Carolina Award

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – Five Forsyth County organizations, who were named recipients of the United Way of North Carolina’s prestigious Spirit of North Carolina Award, will be honored at the state-wide annual award Luncheon, noon, at the Sheraton Hotel & Koury Convention Center, 3121 West Gate City Boulevard in Greensboro, on February 17.

Nominated by United Way of Forsyth County (UWFC), the recipients are Aladdin Travel and Meeting Planners, City of Winston-Salem, B/E Aerospace, Reynolds American and HanesBrands Inc.

Each year, United Way of North Carolina recognizes companies and organizations that have demonstrated strong community support through local United Way involvement.  The Spirit of North Carolina Awards celebrate the partnership of people working together, united to develop and implement innovative solutions for long-term community challenges.

Businesses, professional and non-profit organizations, governmental entities, healthcare and educational institutions—large and small— who are champions for change are nominated for the award. They are community leaders that raise their voice to share the story of their community, volunteer their time and expertise, and invest their resources.

“We are proud to be partners with all of the Spirit Award winners. They demonstrate outstanding commitment for change by volunteering their time and talent, and giving generously to make a difference to our community,” said Cindy Gordineer, UWFC president and CEO.

Winners were determined by a panel of 18 judges from United Way organizations across the state. For more information about the Spirit of North Carolina Award and a complete list of winners, visit