Community-Wide Investments

What We Do

Community-Wide Investments

The United Way currently invests in over forty partner agencies and sixty different collaborative programs. Additionally, last year over 390 agencies and nonprofit organizations from our local area and across the country received designated donations directly through United Way of Forsyth County’s Annual Campaign.

Through United Way of Forsyth County’s support and aligning of resources, these programs, the agencies, and their collaborating partners are all working to create a Stable, Educated, Healthy, and Economically Mobile Forsyth County.

Along with these programs, United Way of Forsyth County funds and supports other key initiatives in our community including NC211, Housing Matters (formerly the Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness), The Forsyth Promise, The Partnership for Prosperity, and our key partnership with Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods.

Educated Forsyth

Today in Forsyth county

About half of 3rd graders are not at reading level (47.2%). Of 8th graders, only 49.1% were proficient in reading, and only 40% were proficient in math. Only 58.4% of grade 11 participating students met the UNC System minimum admission requirement of a composite score of 17 on ACT.

  • Source: N.C. Department of Public Instruction, 2017.

ONLY 26% of forsyth county residents have attained a high school diploma or GED.

65% of all jobs require some form of education after high school.

  • Source: Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, 2020.

1 in 5 children under the age of five grow up in under-resourced neighborhoods, meaning that they begin first grade already behind.

  • Source: United Way Worldwide, 2020.

Why this is Important

Education provides each of us with possibilities – the possibility of learning something new, having inspiring experiences, and finding success in a career. For our community, education leads to a productive labor force, which strengthens local businesses, reduces the burden on taxpayers, and makes Forsyth County an attractive place in which to live and work.

What is united way doing to help?

United Way of Forsyth County invests in quality early childhood education programs in our community. We provide tools and resources that teach parents and caregivers facts and best practices for different ages and stages of a young child’s life. From engagement ideas and using everyday moments as learning activities to ways to spark language and learning skills, we provide information that helps ensure all kids get a strong start.

Increasing the graduation rate to 90%, increasing at-grade-level skills in reading and in math by the end of 3rd and 8th grades, and soft skill development gives our students opportunities for a brighter future. In 2019, almost 8,000 students participated in school-based or out-of-school programs to help improve their reading and math achievement. Additionally, last year more than 80% of students receiving support improved or maintained a satisfactory school attendance record.

Economically Mobile

Today in Forsyth COUNTY

From finding a living wage job to attaining better-paying employment through job training and placement, Forsyth County residents need help to gain and maintain financial stability. 64% of renter households that earn less than $20,000 a year pay more than 30% of their income on housing. This puts them precariously close to becoming homeless should that income decrease or go away.

  • Source: City of Winston-Salem Housing Study and Needs Assessment, 2018.

25% of children under the age of 18 currently live in poverty.

  • Source: US Census Bureau, 2018.


Forsyth County is ranked third from the bottom in the entire United States in terms of economic mobility. This means that if you are born poor in this county, the odds of you getting up and out of poverty are worse than nearly anywhere else in the entire country. Fewer new jobs are being created for workers with only a high school diploma. Of the 11.6 million jobs created since the Great Recession, 99% have gone to workers with at least some postsecondary education.

  • Source: Winston-Salem State University’s Center for the Study of Economic Mobility, 2018.


UWFC works with programs and partner agencies to increase economic mobility for those with the greatest need, by developing lasting solutions and addressing the root causes of poverty and inequity. In 2019, $5 million in refunds were returned to over 3,000 Forsyth County residents through free tax preparation assistance and over 4,000 residents received job skill training and assistance finding a job.

Healthy Forsyth


Mental illness affects one in four adults and one in five children. Very few people, however actually seek treatment for mental illness. The stigma associated with mental illness is still the biggest barrier that prevents people from getting treatment or retaining their treatment.

  • Source: Mental Health Association of Forsyth County.

Only 33.3% of the 11.2 million adults with a serious mental illness received mental health treatment last year.

  • Source: National Institute of Mental Health


Nearly one in seven children aged 2 to 8 years in the United States has a mental, behavioral, or develop­mental disorder. Among children and adolescents aged 9 to 17 years, as many as one in five may have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder. Yet not a single state in the country has an adequate supply of child psychiatrists, and 43 states are considered to have a severe shortage.

Mental disorders are among the most common causes of disability. The resulting disease burden of mental illness is among the highest of all diseases. In any given year, an estimated 18.1% (43.6 million) of U.S. adults ages 18 years or older suffer from a mental illness and 4.2% (9.8 million) suffer from a seriously debilitating mental illness.

  • Source:


In 2019, more than 6,000 children and adults received counseling, treatment, screenings, and referrals through mental health programs supported by United Way. This continuum of programs provides local mental health services to almost any person who needs help — from children as young as three to adults of all ages.

Stable Forsyth


When our essentials are uncertain – if we are hungry, if we don’t have a place to sleep, if we are in fear of domestic violence – the other challenges we encounter in life become even more difficult to overcome. We can’t focus on going back to school, finding a better job, or taking care of our health.

18.8% (16,300) of forsyth county children are food insecure.

  • Source:

22% of children are ineligible for federal nutrition programs.

  • Source:


Last year, more than 8,000 nights of shelter were provided to residents in need of housing — including women and children in imminent danger of abuse. Through Housing Matters, which is staffed and partially funded by United Way, we now have the resources to house all homeless veterans and we have established a system to end chronic homelessness in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.

  • Source: N.C. Department of Public Instruction, 2017.

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