These Three Things: From the Desk of President and CEO Cindy Gordineer

Dear United Way Friends,
As always, I hope this continues to find you and yours safe and healthy.As I shared last week, the work of recovery is starting to be upon us. Conversations are underway with our partner agencies, community leaders, the school system, and others with the goal to assess what actions will need to be taken in Forsyth County to work our way back from detrimental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The information to work through and share with you now isn’t as dramatic, but it is certainly as important.
1. Looking at the Crisis Through Different Lenses This pandemic has affected the entire world, but each of us is experiencing this crisis through our own specific lens. Some people aren’t as deeply affected as others and may think that life in our community will get “back to normal” any day now once the stay-at-home order is lifted, or antibody tests are available, or some other defined point is crossed. Others, who may have lost their jobs, can’t pay their bills, have fallen behind in educational pursuits, or have been physically affected by the virus may be picking up the pieces of their lives for years to come.Think of it this way – if a house is flooded, it might look fine on the outside, but on the inside there’s a lot of work to be done: water must be removed, sheet rock cut out, mold treated, ensuring everything is dry, and only then can rebuilding start. Similarly, things may look like they are improving in our community as we enter Phase 1 of NC’s COVID-19 plan to reopen.
However, once the moratorium on evictions is lifted, there will be people who suffer. Once the period of time expires for people receiving unemployment benefits, there will be people who struggle. Where support was given during this crisis and is subsequently removed, members of our community may slide back into a more vulnerable state. Our role at United Way during this process is to repeatedly take the pulse of the community and respond to what the issues are at that point of time. This is a continual process. As we move forward, we will employ a methodology to frequently assess the needs in our community and, with our partners, will remain nimble in our ability to pivot and address the new needs that arise.
2. The Work Doesn’t Stop: The Salvation Army As I’ve highlighted previously, our partner agencies continue to deliver vital services to our community during this pandemic. Throughout the response to COVID-19, The Salvation Army has remained open and serving the community with shelter, food, child care, emergency assistance, and emotional and spiritual care. All of their staff is considered “essential” and reports to their designated facility each workday. No staff members are working remotely. Although this may sound like “business as usual”, they have creatively adapted their programs in light of the pandemic. For instance:· Center of Hope, their homeless shelter for families, operates 24/7 and is adapting to the COVID-19 guidelines. Normally parents would be at work during the week and children in school or child care programs. Families are now strongly encouraged to shelter in place and schoolwork is done online. Two shelter rooms have been set up as isolation suites in the event of a COVID-19 infection or active illness. The shelter continues to offer a daily community breakfast and Sunday dinner which has transitioned to a nutritious, pre-prepared meal distributed in “to go” containers. Expenses have escalated because of an increase in staff, food, utilities, and cleaning and medical supplies.· Their food pantries have transitioned from client choice to food box distribution in the interests of the health and safety of clients and staff in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines. Distribution includes social distancing guidelines and masked staff. They are also including educational materials, hygiene products, and other donated items, as available.·
The Boys & Girls Club staff has continued to serve their entire roster of club members. Club youth who are at home receive regular virtual contact from staff members. Services including online tutoring, homework help, and virtual emotional support provide the opportunity to focus on education, friendship, and emotional heath. Every club youth with a birthday during this time receives a virtual “birthday party”. Emotional and spiritual care are also offered to parents, grandparents, and guardians of the children.·
The Senior CiVIC Center has remained open but stay-at-home guidelines and restrictions are preventing seniors from attending. However, seniors are checked on daily, and each week, food boxes are delivered to seniors’ homes as well as recommended safety and mental health guidelines, hygiene products, and other requested items.We thank The Salvation Army, and all our partner agencies, for their determination, flexibility, and creativity. Our community is stronger because of the important work they are doing every day. I want to remind you that if you’re a United Way donor, you’ve made this possible, so thank you!
3. Your Response – Thank You! Thanks to everyone who took our quick survey on your thoughts of what top issues our community will need to address. I think it’s important to point out that in your responses, 60% think employment, income, and financial assistance will be one of the highest priorities for our community. Housing & Shelter and Food Insecurity were then tied for the secondary issues you believed needed to be addressed. This information is quite useful as we transition to the recovery phase of this crisis. As we continue to work our way through each day of this pandemic together, we will continue to ask for your insight and look forward to your feedback.We also continue to monitor data from 2-1-1 to know what the most requested needs are in our community. As a portal for all types of community resources, it provides a critical perspective in real-time about what families are struggling with. If someone you know is in need of help, please encourage them to call 2-1-1 or go to NC211.org.So then, onward we move – together, as a community. Thank you for your continued support of our community – and thank you for Living United!
Sincerely yours,
Cindy Gordineer
President and CEO, United Way of Forsyth County

Op Ed: Cindy Gordineer and Scott Wierman: It’s time to help our neighbors

United Way of Forsyth County President and CEO Cindy Gordineer and Winston Salem Foundation President Scott Wierman share their view.

The world is facing unprecedented challenges due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and the long-term global financial and health implications are vast. As this outbreak has steadily moved in our direction, you may wonder how some of our neighbors are faring locally. Read more here: https://www.journalnow.com/opinion/columnists/cindy-gordineer-and-scott-wierman-its-time-to-help-our-neighbors/article_68102984-90ba-5d74-839e-cbb8594e801c.html

Press Release: An Update from United Way of Forsyth County and The Winston-Salem Foundation on the COVID-19 Response Fund for Forsyth County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 25, 2020 – Winston–Salem, NC

An Update from United Way of Forsyth County and The Winston-Salem Foundation on the COVID-19 Response Fund for Forsyth County

On March 18, officials from United Way Forsyth County, The Winston Salem Foundation, the City of Winston-Salem, Forsyth County and Community Organizations Active in Disaster announced the formation of COVID-19 Response Fund for Forsyth County to support local community members impacted by the novel coronavirus.

Fundraising Update

As of March 24, more than $3,000,000 has been raised for the fund, with donations ranging from $10 to $1,000,000, from individuals, corporations, nonprofits, and foundations. Visit covid19forsyth.org to review funds raised and donors to-date.

Scott Wierman, President of The Winston-Salem Foundation notes, “We are thrilled that the City of Winston-Salem’s initial $1,000,000 donation has grown to more than threefold in under a week. Our partnership will deploy these resources carefully and thoughtfully to nonprofits through a grant application process we’re announcing today.”

Wierman adds, “We want the public to understand that while this fundraising has been successful to-date, what we have raised so far will not be nearly enough money to address the immense community needs due to this evolving crisis. We’re asking all community members who can to partner with us to support our neighbors during the difficult days and weeks ahead. Please visit covid19forsyth.org to help.”

Grant Application Now Available for Nonprofits

The COVID-19 Response Fund will provide flexible resources for immediate, emerging, and long-term needs to organizations working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of the outbreak. The fund is designed to complement the work of government and public health officials to address all aspects of the outbreak in Forsyth County.

Cindy Gordineer, President and CEO of United Way Forsyth County remarks, “This fund was envisioned to rapidly deploy critical resources to community-based organizations at the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak in Forsyth County. We’re excited to roll out the grant application process in under a week to start getting help to those community members who need it. “

The first phase of proactive and responsive grants is funding nonprofits with one-time general operating support in order to assist with the immediate needs of economically vulnerable populations impacted by COVID-19. United Way of Forsyth County and The Winston-Salem Foundation will administer the fund.

An advisory committee of local funders and community institutions working directly with impacted populations will oversee the application process.

More specifically, initial funding will benefit disproportionately impacted individuals and families including:

· Residents without health insurance and/or access to paid sick leave

· Individuals experiencing homelessness

· Healthcare workers

· Hospitality and service industry workers

· Unauthorized immigrant populations

· Communities of color, and in particular, residents with limited English language proficiency

Nonprofits can now access the COVID-19 grant application at wsfoundation.org/covid-19-grants.

Additional phases of future funding will be developed by evaluating the funds available, community needs, and government response.

Committee Members: Deborah T. Wilson – United Way of Forsyth County, Nora D. Ferrell and Jason W. Baisden – Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Peggy S. Reingold -Wells Fargo, Mamie Sutphin – Reynolds American, Inc., Cheryl Lindsay – HanesBrands, Brent A. Waddell – BB&T now Truist, Reginald McCaskill – Ministers Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity, Sandra Fishel-Booth -Winston-Salem Foundation

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 Way of Forsyth County Chief Marketing Officer Kim Thore Selected to Join Leadercast Women As an Influencer October 18, 2019

Leadercast Women is a one-day leadership development event simulcast LIVE from Atlanta to hundreds of locations throughout the world, including the North Carolina Piedmont.  Men and women alike will be emboldened to take courage in their daily lives, whether it be in the workplace or at home. At this one-day leadership event, nine leading women will share their inspirational stories of courage while also teaching everyone steps to enable change in their lives. This year’s focus is Courage: Courage is not the absence of fear; courage is acting in spite of fear. When we consider courage, firefighters, policemen, pilots and military personnel come to mind but courage isn’t reserved for a select group of leaders. Opportunities to take courage rise every day in many forms, and it’s up to us to seize those moments in our leadership.

On Friday, October 18th the Lewisville Chamber of Commerce will be a host site for Leadercast Women 2019. This leadership conference will be simulcast live around the globe and Lewisville Clemmons is the only host site between Virginia and Georgia. The Leadercast Women experience is only available at the host sites or live in Atlanta. Attendees will be emboldened to take courage in their daily lives, whether it be in the workplace or at home.

As an influential leader and role model in the Winston Salem/Forsyth County Community and an influencer in the state, Ms. Thore was selected by the chamber committee due to her dedication to the advancement of women in the nonprofit industry. Thore will lead an hour-long round table discussion at Leadercast Women Lewisville-Clemmons. Topics of discussion will stem from talks given during the morning sessions.

Thore notes, “I am very honored to be a part of such an exciting and thought-provoking event. As a leader with an organization like the United Way, which embraces courage in making our community a better place, I look forward to sharing ideas with other like-minded women. Most importantly, I am excited to learn from other leaders in our community.”

About Leadercast: Leadercast is dedicated to building leaders others will follow by providing solutions, events and resources for individuals, teams, organizations and corporations across all industries.

Kim Thore Bio:

Kim Thore is the Chief Marketing Officer of the United Way of Forsyth County. She has been a marketing professional, communications strategist and process improvement expert for over 20 years and is a certified Executive Marketer with the American Marketing Association. Thore previously held positions as  vice president with Bank of America, Greensboro College and Wake Forest University and served as CEO/Owner of FRESH Productions and Marketing, a local marketing and public relations firm. She is certified in ISO-9000, Six Sigma and CPI. She is also an artist and consultant and teaches at the Sawtooth Center for Visual Design.

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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. United Way of Forsyth County also funds and supports  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 Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods. 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.

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: United Way of Forsyth County’s Housing Matters Team Held a Housing Connections Day on Thursday July 11, 2019 at the Forsyth County Public Library

WINSTON-SALEM, NC —For immediate Release- July 16, 2019 –  United Way of Forsyth County’s Housing Matters team held a Housing Connections Day on Thursday July 11, 2019 at the Forsyth County Public Library. As a part of United Way’s Housing Matters initiative, this event was created to connect clients who are enrolled in housing programs with affordable housing units available in the community.

Almost 80 people participated in the event; over 50 people took tours of available properties and over 25 applications for units were received. Some of the units were pre-inspected and all were with properties that were willing to accept rapid re-housing and/or Permanent Supportive Housing tenants.

Andrea Kurtz noted, “We were very excited to speed up the process of getting the applications completed, and do real time check requests for the application fees and be able to hand deliver the checks to the property managers all within the same day.  We wouldn’t have been able to complete this major undertaking without the support of all of the homeless service providers within the Winston Salem Continuum of Care “.

Food and beverages were provided by Krispy Kreme, Intown Donutz , Starbuck and Providence Kitchen.

Lou Baldwin of Baldwin Properties spoke about what makes a great landlord / tenant relationship. Kurtz said, “Lou Baldwin and Baldwin Properties have been one of our most loyal supporters and we can’t thank them enough for their participation in this event and their support of the HEARRT project.”

United Way of Forsyth County President and CEO Cindy Gordineer notes, “This was a truly exciting and pivotal event for our community and for those individuals seeking housing. The collaboration built on the strength of each of our partners and local businesses to work together for the common good of Forsyth County and its residents.”

For more information about the United Way, visit www.forsythunitedway.org

    

l-r Attendees at event, Andrea Kurtz speaks to the crowd, Lou Baldwin of Baldwin Properties

Thank Your Elected Officials in Congress for Protecting Access to VITA

Congress passed the Taxpayer First Act and made the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program permanent!

Say “thank you” to your elected officials for protecting free, high-quality tax preparation for hardworking Americans.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program was created 50 years ago as a demonstration pilot. When the President signs the Taxpayer First Act, VITA will be codified, and millions of taxpayers can count on this critical program for many tax seasons to come. VITA sites in every state across the country prepared over 1.5 million tax returns for low- and moderate-income Americans in 2019 bringing back $1.8 billion to communities.

You can thank your elected officials in Congress for protecting access to VITA for millions of taxpayers and urge them to increase investments in the program by clicking here