United in Grief – United Way of Forsyth County’s Message to the Community

The tragic murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of a police officer is yet another reminder of the systematic inequities suffered by African Americans and evidence of the underlying inequities and racism that continue to exist in our community and our country.

It is heartbreaking and infuriating, but it’s also confirmation that continuing to make equity a focus of our work is vital to fulfilling our mission.

Racism and discrimination have no place in our society, and we mourn the murder of George Floyd alongside his family and our community. We join those who call for justice for Mr. Floyd and for reforms that will help prevent tragedies like these from happening again.

We acknowledge and condemn the unjust treatment of countless others, including those whose names we may never know. We acknowledge the ongoing incidents and trauma our black community members experience every day.

We’re proud of the way the citizens of Winston-Salem have peacefully expressed their outrage at the death of George Floyd and that members of the WSPD and Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department have supported and participated in the lawful expression of frustration and anger. Change can only happen if we work together and this week has proven that Winston-Salem has the potential to be a model for transformation.

George Floyd’s death cannot be in vain. It must be used as a rallying cry for systematic change and, in our work, as an indicator that we need to prioritize a continued focus on equity in all aspects and move with more urgency.
At United Way of Forsyth County, a strong part of our core values is equity. We seek to support a community that is diverse, inclusive, and equitable. One where citizens, whatever their gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation or identity, education or disability, feels valued and respected.

Catrina Thompson, Chief of Police – United Way of Forsyth County Board Chair
Cindy Gordineer, President and CEO, United Way of Forsyth County

5 Things You Can Do To Fight the Corona Crisis

When you feel the most helpless, you actually have the power to do the most good.

As we move into social distancing and self-quarantine, it’s natural to feel isolated. Staying away from other people, though necessary, doesn’t fulfill our need to take action, to do something in the face of this crisis. 

Fortunately, even in isolation, you can help the most vulnerable among us. Because we are never truly alone in our human community.

Here are five things you can do to fight in the face of COVID-19:

Donate to the Covid-19 Response Fund for Forsyth-county. Your gift supports community resources that serve struggling families in Forsyth County. Workers are losing wages and tips due to event cancellations and business closures. Kids who rely on free- and reduced-price breakfast and lunch at school risk going hungry. As food pantries and other community resources are inundated, donations to the  COVID-19 Fund help ensure these vital relief services stay open and accessible. 

HOW TO GIVE

  • Credit Card: visit covid19forsyth.org or text COVID19Forsyth to 71777
  • WSF donor-advised fundholders: request a grant transfer via myWSF to the COVID-19 Response Fund for Forsyth County
  • Corporations and foundations: to make a donation, contact Meridith Whitaker, Director of Philanthropic Services at The Winston-Salem Foundation, at (336) 604-5032 or mwhitaker@wsfoundation.org
  • Checks: to minimize processing delays, we prefer credit card donations at covid19forsyth.org. If this is not an option, please make check payable to the “COVID-19 Response Fund for Forsyth County,” c/o The Winston-Salem Foundation, 751 West Fourth St, Suite 200, Winston-Salem, NC 27101

 

Direct people to 211. NC- 211 is working on the front lines of the pandemic. Expert  211 specialists provide real-time information on social services and other resources to those in need. If you know someone who is struggling, or just looking for a source of reliable information, tell them to call 2-1-1 . Information can also be accessed on the web at www.nc211.org

 

Spare something for the food pantries. As stores run out of bulk food and toilet paper, food pantries are struggling to fill their shelves, even as more people are coming in for help. Consider donating what you can spare, especially non-perishable food and toiletry items. Insert information about how to find out about local food pantries, such as calling 211 to find out what our local food pantries need most and where to drop off donations. 

 

Call your friends and family. Loneliness is as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Even during isolation, modern technology allows us to stay connected. Checking in on friends and family is more than polite right now, it’s essential. And don’t forget elderly neighbors or others living alone.

 

Take care of your mental health. If you’re stuck at home, keep busy with hobbies, try out arts and crafts, pick up an old musical instrument, organize family game nights, and step outside for fresh air and exercise. You can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself.

 

Even in these uncertain times, no one is powerless to make a difference. Small acts, taken together across the country, can change the course of the pandemic, bolster those facing economic challenges, and protect the most vulnerable.

Ask Congress to Support Charitable Organizations Through the Coronavirus Pandemic

Charities are on the front-line of the response to the coronavirus and its economic fallout.

Right now, Congress is preparing a trillion dollar economic relief package.  We are calling on Congress to include $60 billion to help charities keep their doors open and to continue to provide help in communities. Join us.

There will be a surge of need as hundreds of thousands of individuals lose work and can’t pay their bills.  At the same time, we expect significant drops in giving and program revenue.

American charities will play a crucial role in recovery from this crisis and we need Congress to support our efforts.

E-mail now and ask Congress to support charitable organizations through the coronavirus pandemic. We need a few pieces of information to connect you with your lawmakers. Fill out the form here to be connected and send an e-mail. Personalized messages are especially effective. We encourage you to edit the message to add how nonprofits in your community are responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 in Forsyth County – A Note from United Way of Forsyth County

COVID-19 in Forsyth County

United Way prioritizes a Healthy Forsyth County for all residents, so we are very concerned about the impact of COVID-19 here in our community, the United States, and across the world.

Precautions we all take now may slow the spread of disease and save lives – and they may help to lessen the strain on our healthcare system. And now that COVID-19 is in Forsyth County, we must all be extra careful in how we gather and interact with each other.

To read our current update please click: United Way of Forsyth County_COVID-19_03.13.20

 

 

The Centers for Disease Control

North Carolina Division of Public Health

Forsyth County Health Department

Press Release: United Parcel Service and BB&T (now Truist) Receive United Way Spirit of North Carolina Awards

 

United Parcel Service and BB&T (now Truist) Receive United Way Spirit of North Carolina Awards

Pinehurst, NC – United Way of Forsyth County announced today that United Parcel Service and BB&T (now Truist) have been awarded the 2019 Spirit of North Carolina Award.  “The Spirit of North Carolina Award recognizes the collaborative partnerships that United Way of Forsyth County has with its supporters,” said Cindy Gordineer, President and CEO of United Way of Forsyth County.

Each year, United Way of North Carolina recognizes organizations who 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.  A panel of 25 judges representing United Way organizations across North Carolina reviewed more than 40 nominations to select this year’s winners, who were recognized at the Spirit of North Carolina Award Lunch held in Pinehurst, NC on February 19.

“This statewide recognition honors companies and their employees for outstanding service and investment in their local community. We are excited to have United Parcel Service and BB&T (now Truist) investing time and resources back into our community,” said Mark Uren, Vice President of Resource Development.

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 introducing them to real stories of need; and provided volunteer opportunities so that donors could offer their skills and their hands to serve their community.

“We are honored to have United Parcel Service and BB&T (now Truist) as key stakeholders for a shared future where every North Carolinian thrives and reaches their full potential,” said Kim Thore, Chief Marketing Officer.

For more information about the Spirit of North Carolina Award and a complete list of winners, visit unitedwaync.org/spirit-north-carolina-award-winners.

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 United Way of Forsyth County brings the community and its resources together to solve problems that no one organization can address alone. For more information, contact Kim Thore- kim.thore@uwforsyth.org; 336.721.9319

 

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 Anita Barker, Director of Education and Engagement, at 919-834-5200 or abarker@unitedwaync.org.

Press Release: Statement On Gun Violence In America

PRESS RELEASE

Statement On Gun Violence In America

 

Gilroy, California. El Paso, Texas. Dayton, Ohio. Over the course of two weeks, these communities have become yet another footnote in a history linked by the devastation of gun violence, not on the battlefield but in our neighborhoods and communities. If your life has not been personally touched by these incidents, don’t be complacent. We are ALL impacted and are slowly being forever changed as a nation if we don’t say ‘enough!’

Our entire nation is on edge but will we just move on or stand up as a people and change this course? Children fear going to school and have to endure active shooter drills in their classrooms. In Times Square, people started to flee and take shelter after a motorcycle backfired. Many are afraid to congregate at festivals, places of worship, shopping malls, and concerts – places that have become common targets. No one feels safe anywhere and the sad truth is — they shouldn’t.

Our nation is blessed with community-based human services organizations that understand what brain science tells us – that the toll violence takes on our children and families impacts everyone, whether a direct victim or not. These organizations are often those who see firsthand what trauma resulting from violence does to people through the work they do to support first responders, families of victims and those facing horrific lifetime injuries. We know from brain science research the impact of toxic stress that can result from prolonged exposure to violence or adversity. Prolonged toxic stress can bring about chemical changes in the brain, which can lead to long term stress-related diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, suicide, mental illness, addiction and even cancer. In other words, the crisis we face is a public health crisis that requires a comprehensive public health response.

We understand that there is no one cause for the immenseness of the challenge and the solutions are multiple. Some have suggested that this is purely a mental health issue, which flies in the face of fact. According to the American Psychological Association, people with serious mental illness commit only three percent of violent crimes.

That is why our organizations are calling for a range of immediate actions to ensure that mass shootings and gun violence do not become our new normal. These actions include:

  • We need common sense gun laws.
  • We need to demand more from our political leaders. Historically we know that it is times like these when our leaders should be calling our nation to its better self. We need to hold one another accountable to building, not eroding, the fabric of civil society that Americans have enjoyed and set as an example to the world. The divisive rhetoric that has become so commonplace is eroding our institutions and tearing our nation apart, not just nationally but in our neighborhoods. Words matter. When political leaders use demeaning and dehumanizing terms in reference to racial, ethnic and other groups of people, they are dividing us and making it okay for violent individuals to act out their hatred and anger in horrible ways.
  • We all need to love each other more. America’s strength has always been its diversity. Families today are more isolated and have fewer meaningful connections with, neighbors, coworkers, and members of their communities. We need to recognize everyone’s humanity in our daily lives, as we walk down the street, are standing in line, in our offices or shopping. We need to remember that love is at the heart of the American spirit and the values that have served as a beacon to so many around the world throughout our nation’s history.

As human services community-based organizations we do so much more than provide services – we build the foundational supports that enable individuals, families and communities to be resilient and to flourish. It’s time for our network to come together and raise our voices to call on our nation’s leaders to take a public health approach to gun violence – one that puts prevention, and the health and welfare of our nation’s people above special interests that seek to divide us.

There is no time to waste. We all share in humanity with one another. We are all someone’s child, someone’s relative, someone’s friend, someone’s neighbor. We need to understand that the solutions are not just for others to act on, we have to take personal responsibility to love one another more and to show care and compassion. We must no longer sit back but speak out, act, mobilize and do everything in our power to stop these senseless tragedies.

 

Press Release: Leadership Winston Salem Class of 2019 Graduates Are Honored 

For Immediate Release:  Leadership Winston Salem Class of 2019 Graduates Are Honored

On June 6, the 2019 Class of Leadership Winston Salem celebrated the completion of their program with a graduation ceremony at the Millennium Center.

United Way of Forsyth County’s Senior Director of Engagement , Amanda Rosemann, is a graduate of this year’s class.

Leadership Winston-Salem’s Flagship Program is designed to ignite community leaders with a mission of educating, connecting and energizing leaders to serve and improve the community. Likened to a “community MBA,” participants benefit through active engagement, attending one Program Day each month and working in Action Learning teams to address an actual dilemma faced by a local agency.

The program challenges participants to increase their personal and collective capacity to transform the community through civic engagement, servant leadership and building social capital. Components include:

  • Informative sessions with community leaders
  • Experiential group activities
  • Relationship building/networking opportunities
  • Opportunities for honoring all aspects of diversity
  • Action Learning Projects addressing community needs
  • Emphasis on servant leadership

United Way President and CEO Cindy Gordineer notes, ” As a graduate of LWS’s Insight Program, I know first hand how invaluable LWS is to our community’s growth. The ability to connect leaders with other community leaders and foster collaboration for community improvement, is essential to Winston Salem’s continued growth and development.”

Prior graduates include, United Way of Forsyth County associates, Noelle Stevenson,Campaign Operations Coordinator, Class of 2018 and Charmaine Angino,  Senior Director, Community Planning & Investment, Class of 2017.

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

Are Purpose and Community Having a Moment? By BRIAN GALLAGHER, MARCH 20 2019

Are we realizing that people need more than money to be happy?

Across society, we are witnessing a redefinition of individual success in a more holistic way. I see it firsthand in my travels and experience it in my conversations. This new definition includes financial security, but also personal safety, a sense of purpose and a connection to community.

Let me explain. We know personal safety is crucial to a sense of well-being. Feeling secure in your home and community is something we should never take for granted. But what about a sense of purpose and connection to community?

In recent times, people overlooked these themes. Many believed (and still do) that money predominantly drove happiness – and while financial success is important, it’s far from everything.

People need more. They need to know that their lives have meaning—that when they get up in the morning, the result at the end of the day will be a better self, a better family or a better community. The opportunity to advance and make progress brings satisfaction. Purpose is a current buzzword in business circles, and leaders are realizing that consumers favor companies that are responsible, caring and give back.

A shared sense of community goes hand-in-hand with creating purpose, and it has fallen by the wayside in recent decades. I’m not the first to point it out. Notable figures such as Robert Putnam and David Brooks have led the way with their work, such as describing the decline in membership in community organizations. For example, in a recent article Brooks highlighted how important libraries are to building social connections: “It could be that the neighborhood, not the individual, is the essential unit of social change.”

As a lifelong community advocate, I know they are on to something.

Each of us is only as healthy as the communities in which we live and work. We can have millions in the bank, but be individually and communally poor. People who take part in strengthening their communities are often happier. They feel that they are part of something larger, and that by putting something in, they are getting something greater in return.

One of those people is Don Trevarthen from Minnesota. Don worked for more than 25 years as a lawyer for Toro and is a long-time supporter of Greater Twin Cities United Way (GTCUW). He led Toro’s United Way Leadership Giving Campaign for four years, and pledges grew each year. Upon retirement, Don continued his community work by mentoring up-and-coming community leaders, teaching part-time at the University of Minnesota law school, and supporting various GTCUW projects.

“I believe that every member of our community deserves to live a good life and have the same opportunity to succeed,” said Don, a big advocate for people’s talent, intelligence and potential. “I am thankful for the good fortune in my career and in my life, and I want to help others have those same opportunities. As long as I’m able to do so, I will continue supporting organizations that help all people thrive.”

Don, who GTCUW said “has changed our Twin Cities community for the better,“ believes in the power of purpose and community to change lives. It’s also clear that he feels a sense of achievement from supporting his community. During my career, I’ve met an untold number of people like Don who have made amazing individual contributions to their communities’ socioeconomic health.

By redefining success to include personal safety, financial security, sense of purpose and community connections, as well as by embracing the power of digital technology, I believe our communities will be ripe for the kind of social progress fought for by Don and so many others.

Press Release: Partnership for Prosperity to Tackle Poverty in Winston-Salem

 

Office of the Mayor

March 15, 2019

Contact: Evan Raleigh, 336-397-7701; evanr@cityofws.org

Partnership for Prosperity to Tackle Poverty in Winston-Salem

         Mayor Allen Joines and N.C. Rep. Derwin L. Montgomery today announced formation of The Partnership for Prosperity, a new non-profit initiative that will work to implement the recommendations of the Poverty Thought Force.

        The partnership will work to create and implement an action plan for reducing the number of city residents affected by poverty. It will be guided by the recommendations of the Poverty Thought Force, formed by Joines and Montgomery in 2015 and tasked with finding local solutions that would be both impactful and feasible for reducing poverty. After studying the issue for 15 months, the thought force members came up with 56 recommendations and suggested that the community designate a person to work on this effort full-time.

        Accordingly, The Partnership for Prosperity will have an executive director and a community engagement associate, both of whom will work full-time, Joines said.

        “The issues that underlie the enduring persistence of poverty are complex and require a concerted effort to address,” Joines said. “By designating full-time staff, we hope to provide the comprehensive approach that will help us reduce poverty in our community.”

        Montgomery noted that in addition to implementing the recommendations of the Poverty Thought Force, the partnership will collaborate with the existing framework of agencies and programs that are working to reduce poverty. “There are numerous programs already working on this issue,” Montgomery said. “What the partnership can do is help us integrate these efforts so that they can have the maximum impact.” Montgomery said he is excited at the work the partnership will accomplish. “This is just the beginning.”

      John Railey, the former editorial page editor of the Winston-Salem Journal, will serve as the partnership’s executive director. Chanel Nestor, an adjunct lecturer of Rural Sociology and Sociology at N.C. A&T State University and a Winston-Salem native who grew up in the Happy Hill neighborhood, will serve as the community engagement associate.

        Railey said, “Chanel and I are thankful that the mayor and the Poverty Thought Force had the vision for this crucial initiative. We’re excited about starting it from the ground up: by listening to those living in poverty and aligning with them in the fight.”

        Support for the partnership is being provided by the city, BB&T, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina, the United Way of Forsyth County and Wake Forest University.

        As an initial step, the partnership will hold a series of “listening sessions” with those who are living in poverty. The meetings are open to the public and will solicit input on the Poverty Thought Force recommendations and which of them the partnership should focus on implementing.

        Listening sessions will be held:

·         Monday, April 1, 1 p.m., Financial Pathways of the Piedmont, 7820 North Point Blvd., Suite 100.

·         Thursday, April 4, 1 p.m., Cleveland Homes Community Center, 1135 E. 15th St.

·         Thursday, April 4, 6 p.m., Skyline Village, 1528 Bruce St.

·         Friday, April 5, 2:30 p.m., The Community Mosque of Winston-Salem, 1419 Waughtown St.

·         Monday, April 8, 2 p.m., (Meeting of The Homeless Caucus) Central Library auditorium, 660 W. Fifth St.

·         Wednesday, April 10, 1:30 p.m., Crisis Control Ministry, 200 10th St. E.

·         Thursday, April 11, 6 p.m., Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1075 Shalimar Drive.

·         Wednesday, April 24, 1:30 p.m., Lloyd Presbyterian Church, 748 N. Chestnut St.

·         Wednesday, April 24, 8 p.m., Open Arms Community of the United Methodist Church, 437 E. Sprague St.

·         Thursday, April 25, 2 p.m., Experiment in Self-Reliance, 3480 Dominion St. NE.

        Railey can be reached at John.railey@uwforsyth.org. Nestor can be reached atChanel.nestor@uwforsyth.org

Press Release: Weston Award for Nonprofits to Increase to $50,000

February 12, 2019- WINSTON-SALEM, NC : Weston Award for Nonprofits to Increase to $50,000

The Joel and Claudette Weston Award has honored and recognized leadership and excellence in nonprofit management at local organizations for more than 30 years.  Joel A. Weston, Jr. was a senior executive at the Hanes Companies and an active member of the Winston-Salem community.   He served as president of the United Way of Forsyth County Board from 1980-1982. Joel believed strongly that nonprofit organizations should be well run and efficient and he introduced many innovative programs designed to strengthen charitable organizations and the community.   He passed away unexpectedly in 1984.  The Weston Award Endowment was founded in 1985 at The Winston-Salem Foundation by family and friends of Joel A. Weston as a way to honor his vision and dedication to the community.   In 1985 the Weston Award for Nonprofit Excellence was established to recognize local human service agencies that are performing at peak efficiency.  Today, Joel’s widow, Claudette Weston, continues the family tradition of community involvement and philanthropy through her efforts on numerous boards and organizations and as a member of the Weston Award Committee.

 

What is The Weston Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management?

Every other year any nonprofit agency in Forsyth County can submit an application to win the Weston Award for Nonprofit Excellence.  An agency that wins the award must wait five years to apply again. The application is a rigorous evaluation of all aspects of nonprofit management: financial and personnel management, program development and effectiveness, long range planning, marketing, fund-raising, board development, etc.

All applications are reviewed by a 16 member Weston Award committee.  In addition, the committee hears an oral presentation by representatives of each applicant agency.  Site visits are included in the review process if necessary.   The winner is presented with the prestigious and much coveted bi-annual award, and beginning in 2019, a grant award to the organization of $50,000. 

What does the Weston Award Accomplish?

The Weston Award recognizes, affirms, encourages and financially supports the best- run charitable organization in Forsyth County as selected every other year by the Weston Award Committee.  The Award is a comprehensive evaluation of all aspects of nonprofit management.   In filling out the award application, nonprofit organizations can assess and receive feedback on how their agency measures up against best practices in human service agency management.  The award promotes efficiency, competence, fiscal integrity, innovation and program effectiveness.  Nonprofit management excellence in turn equates to a community that can better help its most vulnerable citizens, maximize philanthropy and enhance quality of life for all.

“Joel and I always believed in giving back to the community. The spirit of this award is to honor non-profits or social services organizations that enhance lives, but do so with the most efficiency,” said Claudette Weston.

 

“The Joel Weston Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management had a tremendous impact on me as a leader and on the agency that I represented.  I can’t say enough about the good that it has accomplished.” Richard Gottlieb, President emeritus, Senior Services

 

For more information: Noelle Stevenson at noelle.stevenson@uwforsyth.org

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