Press Release: Forsyth County Ranks 36th in NC Health Rankings, Report Says

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – Forsyth County has been ranked 36 out of North Carolina’s 100 Counties in health outcomes, according to a United Way supported report on county health rankings released March 29.

The United Way, in partnership with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released the report, an analysis of length and quality of life, every year.  It compares every county in the United States in 58 different factors that researchers believe affect a person’s health. Thirty-five of those factors are used in the ranking of counties within each state.

“This report shows us that where we live matters to our health and not everyone has the chance to reach their full health potential,” said Cindy Gordineer, United Way of Forsyth County president and CEO. “The rankings call attention to the many factors including jobs, housing and education, that impact health. Education, financial stability, health, basic needs and thriving individuals and neighborhoods stand at the foundation for strengthening our community.”

The overall ranking of 36th is an improvement over 2016, when the county was ranked 43. For 2017, Forsyth County’s highest category ranking was 14 in clinical care, which measures the percent of population under age 65 with out health insurance, ratio of population to primary care physicians, the percentage of Medicare enrollees ages 65-75 that have HbA1c monitoring and the age of Medicare enrollees age 67-69 that receive mammography screenings.

Press Release: Café Momentum, an Episode of United Way’s Docu-Series “The Hero Effect” is Available for Public Streaming Commercial-Free

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – Café Momentum, the second installment of “The Hero Effect,” a 10-episode United Way docu–series is now available to the public for streaming commercial-free and in extended cut on

“The Hero Effect” brings to life the stories of ordinary individuals who are making extraordinary differences in their communities.  The 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.

Café Momentum, features the story of a United Way-supported restaurant and culinary training facility in Dallas that provides a positive environment for teens recently released from juvenile detention and originally aired Dec. 10 on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

The extended cut episode includes a visit to Bonton Farms, an agricultural intervention to restore lives, create jobs and ignite hope in the most forgotten and neglected neighborhoods for the most marginalized and vulnerable people. Created through GroundFloor, a social incubator housed by United Way of Metro Dallas, Café Momentum and Bonton Farms are making a big difference in the Dallas 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 and connect with their local United Way or other community-based organizations to create positive change.


Business is now Human-to-Human. How A Homeless Stranger Helped Transform Our Brand, and Me. By Lisa Bowman, CMO, United Way Worldwide

I walked into my position as Chief Marketing Officer of United Way Worldwide slightly more than a year ago with a challenge to transform the United Way brand to one that is accessible, relevant and meaningful to more people everywhere. I brought my years of experience from UPS to this new role, excited about the chance to work towards the health, education and financial stability of every person everywhere, and confident that my experience, drive and passion could propel the transformation.

What I found behind the scenes at United Way was more surprising than I had anticipated. I found a network of more than 12,000 United Way employees and nearly 3 million volunteers that are concerned about, and unafraid of, the world’s biggest problems. I found a team of motivated and impassioned people that do their very best every day to help make the world better.

When it came time to initiate a brand refresh last year, I was ready for the challenge. This was marketing for United Way – the intersection of my passion and my purpose.

I found an equally passionate partner in our new advertising agency, BVK. We researched our messages and the philanthropic landscape. We tested for brand awareness and polled internal and external audiences on our new brand credo, “United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability for every person in every community” so that we could develop the most impactful, meaningful and efficient Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign possible.

The PSA filmed in three locations. On set in Miami while the crew was setting up, I noticed a pile of trash blocking the scene where we would be shooting. I went to move the trash to make way for the crew and to my astonishment, I realized that underneath the bundle of papers, bags, and blankets was a person. A person with a name and a story.

Deon is his name. He was sleeping on the sidewalk bundled up and doing his best to keep warm until the January Miami sun came up. I was shocked to be confronted so bluntly with the problems that message testing, story boards, and viewer surveys could not, and did not, prepare me for. Here was a human being I almost mistook for garbage.

I told him I was from United Way, and asked if he’d heard of us. Squinting in the early morning sun, he replied, “Yes. I think I’ve heard of you. You’re the people that help all the other people.”  Through the next hour, I got to know Deon and learn some of his story. He lost his family in a car wreck, but he survived. He had medical bills beyond what his insurance covered that he could not afford. Through a series of circumstances, he lost his job and his home. His address was now the corner of Hopeless and Helpless.   Before we said our goodbyes, he let me hug him; one person to another. In doing so, Deon transformed me. At that moment, our PSA became personal.  It was no longer about B2C or B2B, but rather H2H; human to human.

Deon changed this brand transformation experience for me and ignited my commitment to its success and my professional promise to increase awareness of United Way and of our work around the world. Deon is featured in our PSA campaign, and his photo sits framed on my desk. Deon’s image is a reminder of the work all of us here at United Way do every day, everywhere in the 1,800 global communities that we serve.

Our PSA ask viewers to “join the fight.” We use strong, graphic imagery that shows the real problems that result when we don’t fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community.  Problems that people like Deon face. People like Deon just need an opportunity. They need a chance and someone to care. This is what drives me and all of us at United Way Worldwide.

I implore you to watch our PSA and share it. I ask you to join our fight. Whatever you have to give: your time, a donation; whether large or small, your compassion, your interest, your desire to make the world a better place–please consider joining our fight. We have one life. To live better, we must Live United.

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: Hundreds of Youth to Participate in Kick Butts Day Tobacco Prevention Celebration on March 15

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – Hundreds of youth and their families will enjoy food, music, vendors, prizes, a photo booth and more when they participate in the Kick Butts Day Event, 4-7 p.m., March 15, at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Education Building.

National Kick Butts Day is a day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and live healthy lives at more than 1,000 events planned by independent organizers across the United States and around the world.

Free and open to the public, local events are organized by the Forsyth County Youth Tobacco Prevention Collaborative (FCYTPC).  The collaborative is made up of representatives from United Way of Forsyth County, Insight Human Services, Novant Medical Center, Wake Forest Baptist Health, the Forsyth County Department of Public, YMCA and other youth-serving organizations.

Known as “No’bacco,” middle and high school students in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools, have formed clubs to raise awareness about tobacco products and usage on their campus and in their communities. The student-led, adult-guided clubs focus on real life solutions to youth tobacco usage including products like smokeless tobacco, hookah, and e-cigs/vapes. The projects are designed and implemented by students through funding provided by a local community grant from the FCYTPC.

“By getting involved in Kick Butts Day and other activities, kids and teens can promote healthy living, encourage peers to be tobacco-free and support effective solutions to reduce youth tobacco use,” said Alana James, United Way of Forsyth County director of community-based collaborations.

Terri Moy is the Youth Tobacco Prevention coordinator housed at Insight Human Services.  She says, “I look forward to Kick Butts Day every year. I can see firsthand the growth of these students, and their leadership abilities. This is an opportunity for them to showcase their clubs’ hard work and, of course, their school spirit.”

While each school’s club is independent, the student-leadership and adult sponsor of each school’s group meets on a regular basis to collaborate and exchange best practices with one another.  Other activities proposed by each club include on-campus mass media campaigns, educational lunch and learn activities, guest speakers and media literacy discussions following movie screenings.

Nationally, great strides have been made in the fight against youth tobacco use. However, every day, more than 3,000 youth under age 18 try smoking for the first time and 700 youth become new regular, daily smokers.

Blog: What is Place Matters?

What Is Place Matters?

Simply put, Place Matters is about doing with, and not for – and at United Way we think that makes all the difference.

The opportunity for a good life begins in our families, our schools, and our jobs. And it begins in our neighborhoods. Place, or where we live, matters. And it’s no different here in Winston-Salem & Forsyth County.

Because we believe our entire community is better off when all its neighborhoods are healthy and thriving, United Way launched Place Matters – a new, innovative strategy guided by local residents that invests in programs to help strengthen neighborhoods.

What makes Place Matters different?

  • It is resident-led and inspired. At United Way, we want residents – the people who know their neighborhoods the best – to make decisions on what’s needed. It seems obvious, but it doesn’t always happen.
  • It is asset-based – we are building upon the gifts, skills, and talents of residents to strengthen their neighborhoods.
  • Collaboration. At United Way, we are able to convene community stakeholders – residents, nonprofit organizations, the faith-based community, and business and education leaders –in an inclusive approach focused on sustainable change in the buildings block of a good life: Education, Financial Stability, and Health. By working together, we can all achieve greater results.

Engaging the Community

Through our key partnership with Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods, we are engaging residents to ensure investments align with the priorities of those who live in and experience their neighborhoods every day.

In Place Matters, a group of residents from 13 neighborhoods in northeast Winston-Salem have joined together to make the place they live stronger. This Resident Impact Council identifies guiding priorities for funding, recommends programs to receive funds, and then evaluates whether those programs are working successfully. The Resident Impact Council have even given their 13 neighborhoods a collective name: CiVIC = Community Voices Impacting the Community (see map).


The Resident Impact Council identified the following “Guiding Priorities” as issues they would like to see improved in their community through United Way’s Place Matters investments.

Unemployment and Underemployment

  • Job placement
  • Skill development
  • School successMultigenerational Support
  • Seniors
  • Teens and young adults
  • ChildrenHealthy Living
  • Access to fresh and healthy food
  • Increase physical activity levels
  • Preventative healthcareHousing Stock and Vacant Lot
  • Improve existing housing stock
  • Increase utilization and repurpose of vacant lotsInvesting in Change
  • In 2016/17, United Way of Forsyth County is investing about $2.7 Million in programs focused on those Guiding Priorities and strengthening the CiVIC neighborhoods. We know change will not happen overnight. United Way is committed to Place Matters, the CiVIC neighborhoods, and the people who live there for the long-term

Click here to learn more about programs funded through Place Matters !