Press Release: Celebrating Improved Student Growth and Achievement- In 2018-19, 27 Schools Exceeded Expected Growth

Destiny Gore is a fifth-grader at Cook Literacy Model School. At a press conference celebrating improved student achievement and growth throughout the school district, Destiny talked about her own growth as a student and as a person.

Destiny also had the chance to meet the new superintendent Dr. Angela Pringle Hairston and several members of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education.

School system administrators, school volunteers, and community partners were also present.

The state has released the released the 2018-19 School Performance Grades (SPG), and, with Cook making notable improvements in student achievement, the press conference was held there.

Principal Paula Wilkins talked to everyone about the work that has gone into making those improvements in the past three years.

 

*The district recognizes and appreciates the efforts of community partners to help improve the graduation rate. The United Way of Forsyth County, the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and The Forsyth Promise each continue to support programs to help students graduate.

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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.

Press Release: $50,000 Weston Award for Nonprofits Awarded to Samaritan Ministries

For Immediate Release- WINSTON-SALEM, NC : $50,000 Weston Award for Nonprofits Awarded to Samaritan Ministries
On June 5, 2019 at the Weston Award Banquet, Samaritan Ministries was honored for their leadership and excellence in non profit management and awarded $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.
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. 

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. 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. 

United Way of Forsyth County President and CEO, Cindy Gordineer, notes, ” We were very fortunate to have Joel serve as our Board Chair and we are honored to be a part of the Weston Award as it supports his and Claudette’s vision and drive for excellence. “

 “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 on the Weston Award: Claudette Weston, cweston@westoninc.com

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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Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools has named its Teacher of the Year, Principal of the Year, Classified Employee of the Year and Assistant Principal of the Year.

MAY 24, 2019 – Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools has named its Teacher of the Year, Principal of the Year, Classified Employee of the Year and Assistant Principal of the Year. The winners were announced at a banquet May 23.

Called the “Core Awards”, the annual event highlights and celebrates employees that are exceptional educators and live the district’s Core Values.  The Core Values include equity, student-centered, accountability, integrity, high expectations, and collaboration. There were more than 150 nominees in all. Twelve finalists, 3 in each category, were showcased at the banquet.

Teacher of the Year:  Abi Woodson, 4th Grade Teacher at Speas Elementary is the new Teacher of the Year. Abi has been teaching for 15 years and has been at Speas since 2012. Carrie French of Moore Elementary and Nicole Wooten of Caleb’s Creek Elementary were also finalists.

Classified Employee of the Year:  Sandra Shropshire, Financial/Lead Secretary at East Forsyth High School was awarded Classified Employee of the Year.  Sandra has been at East Forsyth for 15 years. The other finalists were Margo Cochran of Northwest Middle and Angie Grace of Jefferson Elementary.

Assistant Principal of the Year:  Samantha Fitzgerald of Lewisville Elementary is the new Assistant Principal of the Year.  Samantha has been at Lewisville since 2016. She joined Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in 2013 as a teacher. Tamatha Fullerwinder of Moore Elementary and Kendra Scott of Ashley Academy were also finalists.

Principal of the Year:  Debra Gladstone was named Principal of the Year.  Debra is Principal at Mineral Springs Elementary and Middle Schools.  She has been with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools since 2000. Angie Choplin of Lewisville Elementary and Donald Wyatt of Sedge Garden Elementary were the other two finalists.

 

Progress to Zero Update

From: Andrea Kurtz , Senior Director, Housing Strategies, United Way of Forsyth County
In my call with our BFZ coach this week, Eddie asked me, what would help create the sense of urgency in our CoC that would propel us to meet our goal of ending Chronic Homelessness. So this week, I’m inviting the team to email me what they think will help create the urgency we need as a CoC to improve our system of care to help the 13 folks on our By Name List (BNL) and 17 folks on our not by-name list (nBNL) get housed (Note: the BNL are people who have consented to some service that connects them to our CoC, the nBNL are folks who outreach services have identified as homeless but have not consented to services connected to the CoC)and what changes do we need to make to ensure that people who are not chronically homeless don’t age into chronic status.
As we reflect on my question this week, think how far we have come. And we have come very far. In 2005, we estimated there were over 200 chronically homeless folks in our community. We were not sophisticated enough to even accurately count them all. Now, we know them all, by name. We have the tools to assess their vulnerabilities and goals. We have the systems to target supportive housing resources to the most vulnerable based on community determined priorities. We have data on programs’ success in placing people in permanent housing, on recidivism from these programs, on the flow of people in and out shelter, and many other markers of system function. You can see in our metrics that shifts have happened.
I believe we have the skills and the resources to make the final shift: from being a system that manages homeless people to being a system that helps people resolve their housing crisis; from being a system that defines people by their housing status, to being one that helps them build a better life based on their gifts, skills, and talents.
There will always be reasons that people lose their housing whether from natural disasters or accidents, fires, family break-up, sudden or chronic illness or significant life changes. I believe Winston-Salem, and specifically the staff and programs in our CoC have the talent and resources to help people manage through these crises without keeping them homeless so long that it becomes an indelible part of their identity. I also believe, we are close to the day that we are fully living into our vision of being a crisis response system, not a homeless management system.

Progress to Zero -Update 3

Today, April 19, 2019 marks the celebration of both the first night of Passover and Good Friday.     Not coincidentally these holidays often coincide.  Each holiday is a bittersweet reflection of deliverance from despair.  Each holiday also, an opportunity to build community, to support each other as we reflect on how we have over come adversity in our own lives.

No matter your faith tradition, the story arc from despair to joy, from enslavement to self-determination, from sinner to neighbor is a common thread.  For those of us whose careers have led us to serve the homeless, people struggling with addiction, mental illness, poverty we see the living embodiment of this struggle every day.

As we enter this weekend of reflection, I challenge you to think of the 650+ folks we have helped house this year alone.   As we continue to work towards a system where there are zero chronically homeless people this is the data we must use to rewrite the narrative that people can’t get housed.  It is not correct to say there are people who cannot be housed.   People are getting housed and being successful staying housed.  We are housing people with addiction, mental illness, zero income, with lengthy criminal histories we are even housing people who are schizophrenic or sex offenders.

This week we have 12 names on our by-name list. 17 names are on our not-by- name list.  This list was once over 200 people.

As you celebrate this weekend, or simply enjoy the company of your loved ones, take time to reflect on the power you felt in your life when someone believed in you, believed that you could overcome adversity.  Think about the power of being in community, in relationship with others.  And on Monday, let us each come to work and believe that together we are a mighty force and together we can help our last 29 chronically homeless folks find housing.

 

  • Andrea Kurtz

Progress to Zero – Update 1

As many of you know, in 2005 our community committed to ending chronic homelessness.  This milestone is only a part of the larger vision our Continuum of Care (COC) has for homeless services to become a housing crisis response system that helps people facing a housing crisis stabilize their housing.   The proof point of ending chronic homelessness is only a stepping stone on this path.  One step we are imminently close to taking! When we made the commitment as a community to end chronic homelessness, there were over 200 folks in our community who were chronically homeless.    Today we have only 12!

 

We have come a long way as a community of practice serving people experiencing homelessness.  The changes we have made over the last 14 years to our system have been monumental…including the development of rapid re-housing, coordinated assessment, governance re-design,  improved partnerships with HAWS, the VA, DSS, WFUBMC, better data collection and improved use of data in decision making.  We have also strengthened our culture of partnership and collaboration including shelter/medical care partnerships at both Bethesda Center and Samaritan Ministries, the HAWS collaborative between Bethesda Center and HAWS, the sophisticated partnership between Cities with Dwellings and local faith communities to manage our winter over-flow and to support the development of supportive community as people transition into permanent housing.

 

This week, 8 of us attended the Built for Zero convening in Atlanta where we received training, guidance and support for innovative ways to better support you as we continue our progress towards Zero.  As we have over the past several years since joining BFZ, we will continue to share this knowledge through Action Camps, the operating cabinet, and other work groups and partnerships across our CoC.  A key concept of this work is continuous improvement.  A key concept of continuous improvement is to “test” or try something on a small scale before bringing a change to full scale, as a way to learn what works or doesn’t work to improve our ability to end homelessness. Through the methodology of Continuous Quality Improvement we have made changes to how we support people getting their disability verification, documenting their length of time homelessness, orientations, improved housing search and placement and many other areas of our system.

 

In January at our CoC retreat, we committed to ending chronic homelessness by June 30! When we hit this milestone, it will be because of  hard work,  dedication, and  compassion for serving our homeless neighbors.

I am committing in these last three months to this goal to sending out a weekly update celebrating the work we are doing as a CoC to end homelessness— all homelessness.

 

 

Andrea S. Kurtz

 

Press Release: John Whitaker Honored with Paul Fulton Tocqueville Leadership Society Award

WINSTON-SALEM, NC — April 5, 2019 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: John Whitaker, was bestowed with United Way of Forsyth County’s (UWFC) Tocqueville Society’s Paul Fulton Tocqueville Leadership Society Award, The Tocqueville Leadership Society’s highest honor, at a special recognition event April 4, 2019.

The Paul Fulton Tocqueville Leadership Society is presented annually to an outstanding Forsyth County volunteer who has demonstrated untiring commitment, visionary leadership, resourcefulness and creativity in meeting the needs of the community.

John Whitaker is a highly experienced entrepreneur from Winston-Salem, NC and holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina as well as his MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. He served three years in the United States Navy as an officer in the Supply Corps. John’s career has involved start-up and development of new companies, primarily in service-related businesses. He was the founder of Inmar Enterprises, Inc., a company with over 4,000 employees which provides promotional management and return goods processing to over 1,000 customers which was later sold to a private equity group in 2007. John’s rich business background also includes real estate development and construction.

He is actively involved in several civic and business activities within the local community including Chief Executive Officer of INV located in Winton-Salem, NC. INV provides venture capital and management expertise to start-ups and early stage operations. John currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Winston-Salem Alliance – a strategic planning organization for Winston-Salem as well as the Board of Visitors, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Previous outside activities have also included serving on the Board of Directors of Wachovia Corporation; Board of Trustees of Wake Forest University; Board of Directors of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center; Board of Visitors of Babcock Graduate School of Management, Wake Forest University; and Board of Directors of Amos Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital (past president).

In addition to his support of the United Way of Forsyth County, John has donated time and energy to fund raising for various other organizations: Chairman of the $200 Million capital campaign for the Medical Center; the National Development Council, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; the UNC Alumni Association; the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce; Division Chairman for the Heritage and Promise Campaign of Wake Forest University; Campaign Steering Committee of The Children’s Center for the Physically Handicapped.

Local Benefactor Paul Fulton was instrumental in establishing the UWFC’s Tocqueville Leadership Society in 1987.  The award was renamed in 1997 to recognize his extraordinary volunteerism.  Fulton is a former chief executive of Sara Lee and Bassett Furniture Industries Inc. and former Dean at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill.

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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.

 

Surviving Cancer and Life’s Challenges- Betty’s Story

As a widow and living alone, Betty didn’t have any support in place when she was diagnosed with Stage II cancer in August of 2017 at the age of 60.
She underwent chemotherapy and radiation. Unfortunately, because of her diagnosis she had to stop work as a custodial worker and she was without income during her treatment , as well as becoming uninsured. Family support was very limited. Our United Way funded partner Cancer Services, Inc. was been able to assist her with the cost of her medications, nutrition, purchasing medical supplies and providing transportation to her treatments.
Due to her having no income, the United Way of Forsyth County was able to assist her in finding outside resources to help her with rent and utilities while she was applying for Social Security benefits, which meant she was able to remain in her home.
This transitional support allowed Betty to focus on her treatment and create a more manageable life while being out of work and not worrying about bankruptcy and greater debt.
For cancer patients, psychological stress adds to the burden imposed by the disease and the sometimes difficult aspects of treatment; United Way was able, with your support, to remove those barriers so Betty could focus on bating her cancer.

Surviving Domestic Violence with the Help of United Way Funded Partners

“Sonia” entered the Family Services Women’s Shelter with her 12 year old son and 9 year old daughter after fleeing from her husband and what she described as a verbally, emotionally, sexually, and physically abusive marriage. He had a substance abuse problem which made his mood swings and reactions unpredictable. She had been coping with a variety of controlling and threatening behaviors and was fearful that he would find her. Each of her children had witnessed domestic violence and she was concerned about their reactions to these traumas. Sonia was 44 years old, completed two years of college, however was depressed, fearful, and close to giving up on her future.
How the United Way Helped:
Sonia and her children received information on Family Services, Inc. Intimate Partner Abuse program funded by United Way. While residing at the Shelter, Sonia was actively involved in counseling and supportive services. She stayed for just over 90 days, increasing her knowledge on domestic violence and safety planning for herself and her children. She was able to identify her vocational, employment, and financial goals. Sonia was determined to provide for her children and herself. She located summer activities and involved her son in football and her daughter in cheer leading.
The impact?
Sonia also entered the Rapid Re-Housing Program and acquired a stable home environment for her family. The Rapid Re-Housing program educated Sonia on how to be a good tenant, how to maintain housing, and provided temporary financial assistance. Since her transition from the shelter, Sonia was able to receive Tenant-Based Rental Assistance through the Housing Authority of Winston Salem and accessed full time employment as a certified nursing assistant at a local assisted living facility. Sonia now embraces a look of confidence and feels she is more knowledgeable about what a healthy relationship looks like.
Our hope is that because of continued support from the community, families like Sonia’s can imagine brighter futures which can then become a reality. Through the collaboration of the United Way, Family Services and the Rapid Rehousing, Sonia’s is living a safe and healthy life.