Mentoring Matters: Cayden & Alana’s Story

Alana and Cayden are one example of how mentoring truly matters.

The first time Alana asked Cayden to look in the mirror and name three things she liked about herself, she couldn’t name one. Just one year later, she can name more than three. She’s thriving in STEM at Kearns Academy of Computer and Information Science and is more confident than ever. And it’s all thanks to the power of mentorship.

“I don’t know where I’d be without my mentor, Ms. Alana,” said Cayden.

Alana, founder of I Am A Queen, launched the nonprofit at just 23 years old after recognizing the need for a mentor in her own life. The organization is a member of United Way of Greater Greensboro’s Mentoring Matters initiative that works to increase the number of mentors and improve the effectiveness of mentoring programs in the Greater Greensboro area. United Way supports mentoring because young people who have additional positive, caring adults in their lives as mentors are more likely to overcome and avoid poverty.

“When I was abused as a child, I didn’t have an adult to turn to. I knew I needed to create a safe space for young girls in my community to express themselves and grow into their full potential. 12 years later, I Am A Queen is impacting lives like I only imagined it would,” said Alana.

According to Alana and Cayden both, Cayden’s growth in the last year through mentorship and volunteerism has been nothing short of amazing.

“When I first met Cayden, she was extremely shy. She sat in the back of the room. Cayden is so much more confident now. She is an awesome public speaker. She’s giving back to her community,” said Alana. “Cayden has awesome parents who support her so much. Having the extra boost of a mentor helped her to shine.”

The data supports this too. According to MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, having a mentor is linked to improved academic, social, and economic prospects. 

Young adults with mentors are:

  • 55% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school
  • 78% more likely to volunteer regularly
  • And 130% more likely to hold leadership positions.

Cayden thinks everyone should have a mentor. “Some of my friends would benefit from having a mentor—everyone would! You can get off track about what’s important, but your mentor is there to help you be your best self, bring out your strengths, and help you work on your areas of improvement. You need someone in your life that will help push you and my mentor has always done that for me,” said Cayden.

Outside of the classroom, Cayden believes that serving her community is her responsibility. When asked why she volunteers, Cayden said, “It’s a given.” She’s participated in all three of I Am A Queen’s big community service events— Winter Drive for the Homeless, Back to School, and Christmas Adoption—along with other community volunteer opportunities. Looking to 2021, Cayden will even be volunteering to teach a STEM workshop for I Am A Queen participants.

Mentors like Alana help keep students in school, improve self-esteem, and set career goals and take steps to realize them. Yet one in three young people will grow up without this critical asset. Right now, there are children in our community waiting for someone like you to listen, guide and share your life experience with them. Click here to learn more about how to become a mentor.

United Way of Greater Greensboro Receives Historic $10 Million Gift from Philanthropist Mackenzie Scott

Gift will be used over the next three years to make innovative investments to lift local children and families out of poverty

Greensboro, NC (December 16, 2020) – United Way of Greater Greensboro (UWGG) has received a $10 million gift from MacKenzie Scott, renowned philanthropist and novelist, to invest in efforts that lift local children and families out of poverty. The gift is the largest received in UWGG’s 98-year history. 

“We are honored to have our work of ending local poverty acknowledged in such a remarkable way. This historic moment gives us encouragement to innovate further in the work that the greater Greensboro community has entrusted us to complete,” said Michelle Gethers-Clark, President and CEO, UWGG. 

UWGG will utilize the funds over the next three years to make innovative and transformational investments in solutions that are working together to end poverty across the entire community. 

Scott has committed to giving the majority of her fortune to philanthropic causes, and UWGG’s gift is among $4,158,500,000 she recently gifted to 384 nonprofits across the nation. In a statement released HERE, Scott announced she and a team of advisors researched thousands of nonprofits before selecting those receiving gifts.  

“They took a data-driven approach to identifying organizations with strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital. Because our research is data-driven and rigorous, our giving process can be human and soft,” said Scott. 

Prior to the pandemic, over 57,000 people in the greater Greensboro community were living in poverty, including one out of every four children in Greensboro. The federal government defines poverty as a single person earning $12,760 or a family of four earning $26,200 per year. 

According to Gethers-Clark, being selected to receive Scott’s gift was made possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of local community members and corporations who have supported UWGG over the past 98-years. 

“To be selected as one of 384 organizations across the nation is humbling and affirming. This is a moment to celebrate and double-down as a community. These dollars are going to be used to make smart investments in our community,” said Gethers-Clark, who added, “We are confident this monumental gesture will inspire others to learn about and support the work of UWGG.”  

$96,000 Granted to Four Local Nonprofits Helping People Impacted by COVID-19

To-Date, Greensboro Virus Relief Taskforce Has Granted Over $2.5 million to Over 100 local Nonprofits

Greensboro, NC (December 4, 2020) – The Greensboro Virus Relief Taskforce is pleased to announce it recently granted $96,740 to 4 local nonprofits providing services to people impacted by the Coronavirus. To-date the Taskforce has granted a total of $2,512,188 to over 100 local nonprofits helping thousands of individuals and families.

The funds were allocated from the Greensboro Virus Relief Fund which was established by United Way of Greater Greensboro, City of Greensboro, and Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro.

The Taskforce is co-chaired by Larry Davis, Assistant City Manager, and Frank McCain, Vice President, Community Impact and Investment, United Way and comprised of leaders from Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, Guilford County and community leaders representing human service-focused areas.

The latest round of funding was made largely possible thanks to a $75,000 donation from the Women to Women Initiative of the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro. This marks the second time the Women to Women Initiative (W2W) has donated to the Greensboro Virus Fund, raising their annual virus relief support total to $150,000.

“When W2W made their initial gift of $75,000 in March, we suspected that many others would do the same, similar to the response during a natural disaster,” said Dena Maginnes-Jeffrey coordinator for the Women to Women initiative. “With that in mind W2W knew as the months progressed, the needs would continue to grow, financial reserves would diminish, and additional funds would be needed.”

The Taskforce awards grants up to $25,000 to organizations addressing the priority area of Housing Vulnerabilities (such as mortgage or rental assistance; housing counseling; shelter for the homeless; and utility assistance). Nonprofits interested in grant funding can learn more and submit applications by visiting

The latest round of funding was granted to the following nonprofits addressing Housing Vulnerabilities:

  • The Salvation Army Center of Hope: $25,000
  • Faith Action International House: $25,000
  • Community Housing Solutions: $24,200
  • Turning Point 180: $25,000

The Taskforce is grateful for gifts of all sizes and every donor is contacted personally to acknowledge their support. Additionally, the Taskforce would like to acknowledge the following organization for their extremely generous support this week.

  • Women to Women Initiative of the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro: $75,000
  • Mrs. Carter W. Leinster: $5,000

Public Invited to Attend United Way’s Free Virtual Holiday Concert featuring Jessica Mashburn and Evan Olson

Greensboro, NC (December 3, 2020) – United Way of Greater Greensboro (UWGG) is continuing to celebrate its 98th year and invites everyone in the community to join the fun. On December 17, 5:30-6:30 p.m., UWGG is hosting a free virtual concert with live music by local artists Jessica Mashburn and Evan Olson.

“We are so excited to partner our music with United Way’s work to end poverty. It’s our belief that if more people supported their mission, they could lift up our community to a position where those in need could begin to thrive here,” said Mashburn.

Everyone is invited to virtually attend the concert to learn about what’s new with UWGG’s efforts to end poverty and enjoy the family-friendly concert.

UWGG is asking 10,000 people to donate $100 this year. During the event, attendees will be invited to text IND100 to 41444 to give and become one of the 10,000 people joining the movement to end local poverty.

Visit to register and watch via Zoom. Alternatively, watch the Facebook livestream at

United Way of Greater Greensboro Community Impact Manager Justin Williams-Blackwell Named in Inaugural “20 in their 20s” Awards

Greensboro, NC (November 19, 2020) – United Way of Greater Greensboro Community Impact Manager for Health and Basic Needs Justin Williams-Blackwell was named in the Triad Business Journal’s inaugural 20 in their 20s awards. 

According to the Triad Business Journal, their newest awards program recognizes the region’s young talent — those that have made significant contributions to their workplaces and communities before they turn 30. 

“I’m humbled to be selected as one of the Triad Business Journal’s 20 in their 20s award winners. Congratulations to all of the talented young professionals recognized. This honor was made possible by the amazing individuals that I’ve worked alongside and served through my work. I’m eternally grateful for them and look forward to continuing to make a difference in my community for many years to come,” said Williams-Blackwell.  

Williams-Blackwell joined United Way of Greater Greensboro in 2018. He is a graduate of Guilford College and the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG). For nearly nine years, Williams-Blackwell has worked in the Greensboro nonprofit community working to eliminate poverty, ensure adequate housing, decrease health disparities and dismantle systemic racism. He was named a 2017 National Rising Star by the American Society of Public Administration. Williams-Blackwell is an active volunteer in the Greensboro community, serving on the UNCG Masters in Public Affairs Alumni Advisory Council, Piedmont Triad Regional Food Council, United Way Young Leaders Cabinet and more. 

Triad Business Journal will celebrate the honorees in a special print publication out Dec. 6, in addition to online and social media coverage. 

Public Invited to Attend United Way’s 13th Annual Conversations with Community Leaders hosted by African American Leadership, Dec. 8

Greensboro, NC (November 13, 2020) – The public is invited to attend United Way of Greater Greensboro’s 13th Annual Conversations with Community Leaders hosted by African American Leadership on December 8, 2020 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

Hosted on Zoom, this free event is open to the public and will feature a panel discussion. This year’s event topic is “Working Your Way out of Poverty: Addressing Workforce Development Through Equity and Reentry”. Attendees will be empowered to create collaborative solutions. To RSVP, visit

Presenters include:

  • Edward Williams, Reentry Director, Guilford County Sheriff’s Department
  • Chris Rivera, Director of Workforce Development, City of Greensboro
  • Love Jones, Director Human Rights, City of Greensboro
  • Lynch Hunt, Owner, AWOL Fitness

Special thanks to event sponsors:

  • American National Bank
  • Cone Health Foundation 
  • Cone Health System
  • Greensboro Housing Authority
  • Lincoln Financial Group

Public Invited to Attend Virtually, End Poverty: The Lunch and Learn Series Hosted by United Way Young Leaders, Nov. 12

Greensboro, NC (November 11, 2020) – The public is invited to attend End Poverty: The Lunch and Learn Series hosted by United Way of Greater Greensboro Young Leaders. Hosted on Zoom, the session will take place on November 12, 12- 1 p.m. 

Attendees will learn from local about COVID-19’s impact on local education, health and housing issues. This series is free and open to the public. 

Featured speakers include: 

  • Dr. Jamie King, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching, Learning and Professional Development at Guilford County School 
  • Jamilla Pinder, Assistant Director Healthy Communities at Cone Health 
  • Justin Williams-Blackwell, Community Impact Manager for Health and Basic Needs at United Way of Greater Greensboro 

“In the wake of the pandemic, we’re all wondering where we go from here and how we can help. This session of End Poverty: The Lunch and Learn Series provides a great opportunity to learn about how COVID-19 is still impacting our community and what we can all do to make a difference. Our incredible speakers will definitely educate and inspire attendees to take action,” said Lauren Forbis, Marketing and Communications Manager at United Way of Greater Greensboro. 

To register, visit

United Way Issues 2019-20 Annual Report, Celebrates Community Impact

Greensboro, NC (November 6, 2020) – United Way of Greater Greensboro (UWGG) is pleased to announce the release of its 2019-20 Annual Report.

In the 2019-20 fiscal year, United Way created 30 partnerships that supported 59 holistic programs and initiatives that are working together to end local poverty. Over the year, more than 56,000 people were helped in greater Greensboro and volunteers gave 25,951 hours of their time.

The report additionally highlights the tremendous impact generous donors and community members make possible by highlighting specific outcomes, success stories, and financial updates. 

To view the annual report, please visit

Historic United Way Vote Amends Bylaws to Address Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

United Way of Greater Greensboro bylaw amendment ensures diversity, equity and inclusion are integrated into all business operations – Additionally, the organization has released an updated diversity, equity, and inclusion statement of principle

Greensboro, NC (October 28, 2020) – During a special called meeting on October 27, the membership of United Way of Greater Greensboro (UWGG) voted unanimously to amend its organizational bylaws to more specifically address diversity, equity and inclusion  Additionally, the organization has released an updated diversity, equity, and inclusion statement of principle. 

“Ninety-eight years into our history, we have inked the importance of equity. When the United Way started, there was segregation in our great nation. There were laws that excluded people purely on the basis of the color of their skin. Today, we are suggesting that we have made progress, and we are going to document it. And we’re not going to be general about it – we’re going to be specific,” said Michelle Gethers-Clark, President and CEO, UWGG. 

The amendment creates a monumental mark in UWGG’s 98-year history and ensures diversity, equity and inclusion are moral and business imperatives required for the organization to grow, advance the common good in local communities, and achieve its efforts of ending local poverty. 

Specifically, the amendment ensures the organization will: 

  • Create and publicly post a diversity, equity, and inclusion statement 
  • Recruit volunteers and staff that reflect the diversity of the community it serves 
  • Provide annual racial equity training to board members and staff 
  • Incorporate racial equity criteria when making community investment decisions. 

A section of UWGG’s updated diversity, equity and inclusion statement reads, “We are resolved, in all that we do, to respect, appreciate, value and not discriminate against the following but not limited to race, religion, skin color, gender, nationality, language differences, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, socioeconomic status, work and behavioral styles, parental status, differing perspectives, lived experiences, as well as physical, mental and developmental abilities.” 

Read the entire diversity, equity, and inclusion statement here:

View the entire special called meeting here: 

For more on United Way of Greater Greensboro’s response to racial equity, visit: 

United Way of Greater Greensboro Young Leaders Host Kits for Kids Drive in Place of Annual Trunk or Treat, Entire Community Invited to Volunteer

Greensboro, NC (October 16, 2020) –  In place of their annual Trunk or Treat event, United Way of Greater Greensboro Young Leaders is inviting everyone in the community to host a “Kits for Kids” drive. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Young Leaders reimagined their annual in-person event to create a fun, impactful volunteer opportunity.

“While we certainly wish we could gather together, we are confident the Kits for Kids drive will continue the legacy of this beloved event in a safe, impactful way,” said Lauren Forbis, Marketing and Communications Manager at United Way of Greater Greensboro.

Everyone is invited to host a “Kit for Kids” drive with their family and friends, neighborhood, office or place of worship. Simply assemble your kits and drop them off at United Way during the week of Oct. 19. Kits will be delivered to community partners— including United Way’s Family Success Centers, three Greensboro Public Library branches, and the African American Male Initiative mentoring program— for distribution to local kids. 

Kits will be available for the public to pick up at the following Greensboro Public Library branches: Vance H. Chavis, Glenwood and Hemphill.

To sign up to host a drive, visit A toolkit of helpful tips along with a listing of needed items is available on the same web page.

Young Leaders are a donor affinity group of United Way of Greater Greensboro. Cone Health is a generous sponsor of this event.