From the Desk of Cindy Gordineer

Dear United Way Friends,

I hope this note continues to find you and yours safe and healthy.

In my last email, I spoke about equity and the work United Way of Forsyth County (UWFC) has done to support it in our community. Over the last few weeks, we have been doing a lot of internal reflection through focused conversations with our staff and board.  We realized that to intentionally address racial and other disparities to fight for the health, education, and economic mobility of every person more effectively in our community, we must start internally. To launch our journey, our Leadership Team participated in the Racial Equity Institute’s (REI) Groundwater Training.  This training was a great beginning to understand the current world we live in and how it impacts outcomes.

The REI Groundwater Training is based on three observations:

  1. racial inequity looks the same across systems,
  2. socio-economic difference does not explain the racial inequity; and
  3. inequities are caused by systems, regardless of people’s culture or behavior.

This training was filled with much eye-opening information.  I’d like to share some of the data from the REI Groundwater Training with you that I learned from.

We started our Place Matters work because we know that research shows the zip code you are born in will significantly impact your income as an adult.  The image below illustrates the difference five miles can make in average household income, simply based on where a child grew up.  The data looks at the income of adults who grew up in low-income households, but in different zip codes.

As you can see, the household income is not the determining factor. However, the zip code a person grows up in is strongly correlated to adult income.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this note, we’ve been learning a lot.  The last bit of information that I’ll share with you came through our Partnership for Prosperity Initiative and provides insight to the benefits for every single person in Forsyth County by taking steps to create a more equitable community.

As we continue in our work and incorporate these learnings, we aspire to achieve racial equity by:

  • Embracing an environment that gives voice to the individuals regarding the systems that govern their lives. (Our Place Matters Initiative embodies this approach)
  • Acknowledging past and current inequities, and providing all people, the tools and resources needed to thrive.
  • Partnering with organizations that are also focused on creating a more equitable community.

We know the journey won’t be easy, but the outcomes will be worth all of the effort.  As a dear friend of mine says, we must do the work of our time and future generations will benefit.


As always, thank you for LIVING UNITED.




Cindy Gordineer

President and CEO of United Way of Forsyth County