Community Members Donate 600+ Basic Needs Kit to Benefit Local Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

United Way Young Leader’s Basic Needs Kits Surpasses Goal, Makes a Difference

When United Way of Greater Greensboro’s Young Leaders affinity group cabinet learned that every night in Greensboro more than 900 people go to sleep homeless, they sprang into action. United, they organized a new volunteer opportunity and invited the entire community to participate in hosting their own Basic Needs Kits drives.

Basic needs kits— with a variety of items like soap and sunscreen included in each kit—were a simple way to provide practical help to individuals experiencing homelessness. 

With community support, the drive resulted in almost 650 kits being collected! 

“Young Leaders set a goal of collecting 100 kits, so we were blown away by surpassing that goal! The response for our community was incredible and inspiring, especially during these unprecedented times,” said Tanicia Barnes, UWGG Young Leaders cabinet member, Cone Health Launch Co-Chair, and organizer of Cone Health’s Basic Need Kits drive.

“Cone Health alone collected 434 kits, supported the drive by purchasing over 200 items from the Basic Needs Kit Amazon wishlist, and collected almost 150 additional items! Cone Health was a proud participant in this initiative by way of Launch— one of Cone Health Inclusion Network groups. I’m so proud of how our Cone family upheld the iCARE value of Caring for our Community,” Barnes continued.

The following partners received kits and will distribute to local folks experiencing homelessness over the next few weeks:

  • Greensboro Housing Coalition
  • Greensboro Urban Ministry (Pathways Family Center)
  • Interactive Resource Center
  • Partners Ending Homelessness
  • The Salvation Army of Greensboro (Center of Hope)
  • The Servant Center
  • YWCA Greensboro

To learn more about upcoming volunteer opportunities with UWGG, visit unitedwaygso.org/volunteer.

United Way of Greater Greensboro Young Leaders Host Basic Needs Kits Drive, Entire Community Invited to Volunteer

Greensboro, NC (May 4, 2021) – United Way of Greater Greensboro Young Leaders invites members of the public to host “Basic Needs Item” drives.

“The volunteer leadership of United Way Young Leaders was inspired into action after learning that every night in Greensboro more than 900 people go to sleep homeless. Basic needs kits are a simple way to provide practical help to individuals experiencing homelessness,” said Lauren Forbis, Marketing and Communications Manager at United Way of Greater Greensboro.

Everyone is invited to host a “Basic Needs Item” drive with their family and friends, neighborhood, office or place of worship. Interested community members can simply assemble their kits and drop them off at United Way by May 20. Kits will be delivered to community partners for distribution to local people experiencing homelessness.

An Amazon Wishlist is also available at unitedwaygso.org/volunteer for those unable to assemble kits but still interested in supporting this important effort. Items can be shipped to United Way of Greater Greensboro c/o Lauren Forbis at 1500 Yanceyville Street, Greensboro NC 27405. Items must be delivered by May 10, 2021.

To sign up to host a drive, visit unitedwaygso.org/volunteer. A toolkit of helpful tips and a listing of needed items are available on the same web page.

Young Leaders are a donor affinity group of United Way of Greater Greensboro.

Community Volunteer Collects 4,000+ Baby Items 

Every year, United Way of Greater Greensboro (UWGG) hosts a variety of volunteer opportunities in partnership with the Volunteer Center of the Triad and various partner agencies to celebrate National Volunteer Week. This year, as many continue to social distance during the COVID-19 pandemic, UWGG encouraged community members to host Baby Items drives for items like diapers, wipes, and more to benefit members of UWGG’s Family Success Centers.

When Beverly Johnson learned of the opportunity to volunteer safely in this way, she knew she had to participate. Beverly hosted a porch drop-off drive and by simply inviting her neighbors and friends to participate, the collection grew beyond what she thought was possible.

“Every day I got to watch the collection grow. It was inspiring to see the kindness of my friends and neighbors who were thrilled to include a few items for this important cause,” said Beverly. 

Through her efforts, Beverly and her friends and neighbors collected over 4,680 items! All items collected were delivered to UWGG’s Family Success Center #1. Altogether, generous community members donated thousands items to support the National Volunteer Week Baby Items drive effort.

“After months of distancing, my neighbors came together to support this United Way volunteer project and we look forward to doing it again. Thanks to United Way for creating a tangible and personal way for us to get involved in your focus to end poverty. We all appreciate what United Way is doing in our greater community to ease the effects of poverty as it relates to families and children!”

UWGG’s Family Success Centers partner with families to support their transition from poverty into financial stability through personalized coaching and strategically bundled and sequenced services offered in a central location.

Since March 2020, both Family Success Centers temporarily closed on-site programming at their buildings and continued FSC programming and services virtually. Family Success Centers members are resilient in the face of difficulties. Many challenges, like accessing childcare and sustaining employment, have been amplified by the pandemic. Family Success Centers members have demonstrated inspiring commitment to helping their children adapt to virtual schooling while working toward accomplishing their own goals.

To learn more about upcoming volunteer opportunities with UWGG, please visit unitedwaygso.org/volunteer.

United Way Announces Interim Leader, Launching President and CEO Search

Current United Way of Greater Greensboro Chief Financial Officer, Brian Graham will Lead Organizational Operations Until a New CEO is Hired 

GREENSBORO, NC (April 8, 2021) – United Way of Greater Greensboro (UWGG) announced today that its current Chief Financial Officer, Brian Graham will assume the organization’s interim leadership role of Chief Operating Officer, until a new President and CEO is hired to replace Michelle Gethers-Clark who is leaving, effective April 16, to become the Chief Diversity Officer and Head of Corporate Responsibility for Visa, Inc.  

Additionally, the organization announced Charles Aris Executive Search has been selected to lead a national search for a new UWGG President and CEO. After reviewing four proposals, the executive search firm was chosen by UWGG’s Selection Committee led by chair, Michele Deuterman. Charles Aris will launch the search during the month of April. 

As Interim Chief Operating Officer, Graham will report to Gethers-Clark until her last day and transition to reporting to Kim Gatling, UWGG Board Chair, until a new President and CEO is hired. 

“I am humbled and honored to lead United Way of Greater Greensboro during this critical transition. Thanks to our board, extraordinary team, and committed volunteers, we will not pause in partnering with nonprofits, businesses and volunteers on behalf of children and families on their journeys out of poverty. The future of United Way is bright, and while we pave the way for new leadership, we will forever be grateful to Michelle Gethers-Clark for her lasting impact on our community,” says Graham.  

Since 2019, Graham has strategically managed UWGG’s Financial, Human Resources, Information and Technology, and Facility and Administration operations. In addition, Graham serves as the executive staff lead on UWGG’s Finance, Human Resources, and Strategic Planning Committees.  

Graham will serve as the voice of the organization with the Board of Directors, staff, community members, and key volunteers and will ultimately support the transition of the new UWGG President and CEO. 

Immediately prior to joining UWGG, Graham served as Controller for the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, where he was responsible for organization’s financial operations of over $1.1 billion. At the foundation, he also co-led cross-functional Resource Deployment functions overseeing all grant-making, policy and civic awareness, donor collaboration, human resources, and volunteer/board engagement. Graham’s impressive career includes extensive financial oversight and management within education and faith-based institutions and working as a Senior Auditor for Ernst & Young, where one of his primary clients was The Coca-Cola Company. 

Graham’s educational background includes graduating Summa cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from NC A&T State University and graduating with a Master of Accountancy from the University of Virginia. 

Gatling says, “In accordance with United Way’s succession plan, Brian was identified as someone with strong financial acumen and leadership skills, and who has the combination of academic and large nonprofit experience, having come from the Community Foundation of Atlanta. He has also been intimately involved with the current strategic planning process. The board has complete confidence in Brian’s abilities to maintain organizational operations and provide a seamless transition for future leadership.” 

If you missed the March 16 press release announcing Michelle Gethers-Clark’s departure, please click here

United Way Promotes Safe Volunteerism During National Volunteer Week, April 19-23

Greensboro, NC (April 2, 2021) – United Way of Greater Greensboro (UWGG), in partnership with The Volunteer Center of the Triad and local community organizations, is promoting safe volunteer opportunities during National Volunteer Week, April 19-23, 2021. All are encouraged to get involved in an at-home or safe in-person opportunity.

Visit www.UnitedWayGSO.org/Volunteer to sign up for an opportunity during National Volunteer Week.

Volunteer opportunities throughout National Volunteer Week that you can safely do from home or in-person include:

  • Become a mentor through UWGG’s Mentoring Matters initiative
  • Host a Baby Item Drive benefitting members of United Way’s Family Success Centers
  • Pack food backs with Backpack Beginnings
  • Unload delivery trucks with One Step Further’s food assistance program

In addition to listed opportunities, UWGG and The Volunteer Center encourage everyone to create their own safe and meaningful volunteer experience. Consider hosting your own cleanup with the City of Greensboro’s Great American Cleanup. Additional details can be found at www.UnitedWayGSO.org/Volunteer.

“United Way is thankful for the children, families and local organizations that give back. Our community always needs volunteers and National Volunteer Week is a great way to highlight a few local opportunities. We encourage everyone to volunteer this week, and stay connected throughout the year,” said Michael Cottingham, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at United Way of Greater Greensboro.

National Volunteer Week is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities.

Public Invited to Attend Virtually End Poverty: The Lunch and Learn Series Hosted by United Way Young Leaders, April 8

Greensboro, NC (March 22, 2021) – The public is invited to attend United Way of Greater Greensboro’s (UWGG) End Poverty: The Lunch and Learn Series on April 8, 12- 1 p.m., which will focus on overcoming the impacts of student debt. The free Zoom event, hosted by UWGG’s Young Leaders affinity group, will feature speaker Demarcus Andrews. Demarcus, NC Policy and Outreach Associate at the NC Center for Responsible Lending, will answer the question, “how is the student debt crisis crippling The American Dream?”

Understanding the link between the student debt crisis and its impact on local individuals and families, UWGG recently signed onto a Public Statement of support for the Center for Responsible Lending and the NC Coalition for Responsible Lending’s Student Debt Campaign. The campaign seeks to raise awareness about the student debt crisis and petition the federal government to forgive student loan debt.

“The student debt crisis isn’t just an individual financial issue, it’s also an issue of equity. Young Leaders looks forward to bring attention to this important topic as we learn together,” said Lauren Forbis, Marketing and Communications Manager at UWGG.

Learn more about the event speaker:

Demarcus Andrews is the NC Policy and Outreach Associate for the Center for Responsible Lending. In this role, he focuses on predatory debt practices and student loan debt. Prior to joining CRL, Demarcus served as the Policy Advocate at Toxic Free NC, a non-profit organization that seeks to advance environmental health and justice in NC. While there, he built and ran coalitions for Toxic Free and engaged members of the General Assembly. Throughout his professional career, Demarcus has cultivated his skills in organizing, social media campaigns, and relationship building. Demarcus graduated with a B.A degree in Political Science from Gardner-Webb University. He also received a Master’s in Public Policy from the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.

End Poverty: The Lunch and Learn Series is made possible by generous sponsorship from VF Corporation. To register and complete a quick pre-event survey, visit www.unitedwaygso.org/debt.

United Way President & CEO Hired by Visa, Inc. to Lead Global Diversity and Corporate Responsibility

GREENSBORO, NC (March 16, 2021) – United Way of Greater Greensboro (UWGG) announced today that Michelle Gethers-Clark is leaving as the organization’s President and CEO, effective, April 16, to become the Chief Diversity Officer and Head of Corporate Responsibility for Visa, Inc. 

In this newly created role, Gethers-Clark will be responsible for further elevating Visa’s approach to inclusion and diversity as a business imperative. Her role will include leading a team of more than 60 professionals worldwide who are responsible for social impact efforts to drive inclusive and equitable growth with a focus on small and micro businesses. 

In addition, Gethers-Clark and her team will lead initiatives to support Visa being a responsible, ethical and sustainable company. She will start her new role on May 3 and will report to Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., the CEO of Visa, Inc.   

Since joining UWGG in 2012 as a consultant, and then being named President and CEO in 2013, Gethers-Clark and her team have generated and distributed $90 million in financial revenue to social impact programs focused on producing positive life, health and economic outcomes for children and families in the Greensboro/Guilford County community.

In addition, under her leadership, UWGG transformed its 99-year-old regional business model from general grantmaking to a single-issue focus of solving generational and systemic poverty with significant results. To achieve this shift, the United Way team convened and galvanized stakeholders to address racial, income, wealth and social inequity through partnerships with corporations, donors, volunteers and community-based organizations. 

“I’ve been blessed to work with a tremendous team at United Way. The 26 extraordinary staff members and 34-member board of directors, were willing to boldly change the way we support our community. I thank each of them for this work on behalf of those we serve,” says Gethers-Clark. “I know the power and passion of this community will continue to push forward on the path to end poverty under the leadership of our board and in partnership with the entire United Way team.” 

UWGG Board Chair, Kim Gatling says, “Michelle’s inspiring and transformational leadership has created a lasting impact that will be carried forward in the greater Greensboro community for years to come. Thanks to her collaborative efforts, thousands of local children and families have received life-changing supports and the hope they deserve. Thanks to her solid strategies, existing and future United Way leadership will continue creating partnerships that produce meaningful, equitable and lasting impact. Speaking on behalf of the entire United Way board and team, we are excited for Michelle and wish her all the best in her new global-impact role.”

Gatling and Michele Deuterman, Chair of UWGG’s Human Resource Committee will soon announce plans to conduct a CEO search for Gethers-Clark’s successor. 

END POVERTY: United Way of Greater Greensboro is leading a movement to END poverty. We create strategic partnerships and initiatives that are coordinated and work with children adults, and families across the entire community. More than 57,000 people are living in poverty in the greater Greensboro area. In the City of Greensboro, one out of every four children, lives in poverty. With community support, we’re connecting people to opportunities like housing, jobs, education and healthcare. The federal government defines poverty as a family of four earning $25,750 per year. According to local self-sufficiency standards, many four-member households need to earn around $60,000 to meet basic needs without subsidized assistance. www.UnitedWayGSO.org Local impact for 99 years and counting.

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United Way of Greater Greensboro Seeking Requests for Proposal to Address Housing Disparities

United Way is leveraging $1 million of recent $10 million MacKenzie Scott Gift to help households recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19

GREENSBORO, NC (March 15, 2021) –United Way of Greater Greensboro (UWGG) is pleased to announce it is leveraging the first $1 million of philanthropist MacKenzie Scott’s recent $10 million gift, by seeking grant applications for innovative solutions to address housing disparities as part of the organization’s focus on ending poverty.

In December 2020, Scott gifted over $4 billion to 384 nonprofits across the nation. UWGG was one of only two United Ways in North Carolina to receive funding. At the time, UWGG announced plans to utilize the funds to make innovative and transformational investments in solutions that work together to end poverty across the entire community.

In the spirit of supporting collaborative impact and responding to the ongoing economic impacts of COVID-19, UWGG is seeking:

Requests for Proposal: Housing and Community Recovery Grants 2021-2022.

Interested organizations can visit www.UnitedWay.GSO/Our-Grants to access additional information and application documents.

Proposals must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on April 30, 2021 to support 300 households in Greater Greensboro to achieve one or more of the following:

  • Secure permanent housing.
  • Maintain permanent housing.
  • Purchase home as first-time homebuyers.

Strategies to achieve these goals can address gaps in existing services and resources. The scope of services can include,but are not limited to, the following:

  • Rental and utility assistance and eviction prevention
  • Foreclosure prevention and mortgage assistance
  • Case management and supportive services
  • First time homebuyer assistance

Grants will be awarded for a minimum of $100,000 not to exceed the available pool of $1,000,0000.

“We are thrilled that through this investment, 300 households will be provided with extra support in helping them to recover from the impacts of COVID. An investment of $1,000,000 by UWGG will help our city build a future that leaves poverty behind through permanent, stable housing,” says Frank McCain, UWGG Vice President, Community Investment & Impact

“Stable housing is the foundation of well-being. The temporary and permanent housing industry in Greensboro is rocky at best. Research has solidified the housing industry as an economic engine and if history repeats itself, will propel our post COVID-19 recovery. In the past, communities that made investments in housing its’ residents have experienced economic recovery after virtually every major downturn.”

Why is UWGG issuing the RFP specific to housing?
While significant and needed federal funds have entered the community for rental and utility assistance, gaps in assistance remain. There is a need for unrestricted and flexible funding. 

Eviction moratoriums will eventually end. And the housing disparities that existed before COVID-19 must still be addressed. UWGG wants to support permanent housing along a continuum – from short-term crisis assistance all the way to home ownership, a critical strategy for building the wealth and assets needed for ending generational poverty.

Why is UWGG leveraging $1 Million of the grant money?
There is no better opportunity than now to strategically leverage the Mackenzie Scott gift. The funds allow UWGG to make larger, high-impact investments in innovative solutions that will accelerate the recovery of our community, post COVID-19. The UWGG investment will stimulate a longer-term impact.

United Way Kicks Off 21-Day Equity Challenge, Public Invited to Participate

Greensboro, NC (March 4, 2021) – United Way of Greater Greensboro (UWGG) is continuing its work to promote justice and equity with a new 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge. Members of the public are encouraged to sign up today at www.unitedwaygso.org/challenge

UWGG openly acknowledges that diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the heart of living united and believes all people should live in a thriving community. It is critical to continue discussions and to promote learning opportunities.

Participants will receive 21 emails with thought-provoking content that includes local and national resources that will explore topics like structural racism, segregation, privilege, gender, and LGBTQ rights.

Daily emails will begin on March 11, and all participants will also be invited to a follow-up Zoom event in April.

“At United Way, we are challenging ourselves and others to create a community free of racism, bias, and discrimination. As we continue our work to end poverty in greater Greensboro, we are committed to creating systemic change so that everyone has equal opportunity to thrive. We hope people who participate in this challenge become champions of equity in their personal and professional lives,” said Michael Cottingham, UWGG Vice President Marketing and Communications.

This challenge comes after a series of community conversations on racial equity hosted by UWGG this past summer. On October 27, 2020 UWGG hosted a public meeting to vote on Bylaw Amendments related to diversity and equity. The amendment unanimously passed. During this meeting, UWGG unveiled the organization’s new diversity, inclusion, and equity statement. To read the statement, visit unitedwaygso.org/equity.

Seven Local United Way Community Partners Receive United Way Spirit of NC Awards

Winners include Brooks Pierce McLendon Humphrey & Leonard L.L.P., City of Greensboro, Cone Health System, Guilford County Schools, Lincoln Financial Group, Morrisette Paper, and Syngenta

Greensboro, NC (March 3, 2021) – Seven local United Way of Greater Greensboro community partners were honored with Spirit of North Carolina Awards at United Way of North Carolina’s annual award event on March 3, 2021.

On a yearly basis, United Way of North Carolina recognizes organizations that have succeeded in raising funds to support their community and have dedicated themselves to being part of the long-term solution to build stronger communities. 

“This year’s winners stepped up to support local children, families, and adults even when their own business and employees faced extreme challenges. We are incredibly grateful for their partnership and care for the greater Greensboro community,” said Julia Thomas, Campaign Director at United Way of Greater Greensboro.

Leading beyond the traditional fundraising campaign, these winners created opportunities to educate employees on community needs, led by those at the top of the organizational chart; motivated campaign participants to give by exposing them to real stories of need; and provided volunteer opportunities so that donors could offer their knowledge and their hands to serve their community.

Local Spirit of NC Award winners include:

Creative Kickoff/Volunteer Event

  • Syngenta- Syngenta is no stranger to thinking outside of the box, so it did not come to a surprise that they continued to outdo themselves even in a virtual world. As one of the first companies to help kick off United Way of Greater Greensboro’s campaign, their virtual kickoff and prize giveaway was an extraordinary way to start off the year. The kickoff event’s buzz rang the length of the campaign and contributed to this year’s high participation rate. 

Building Campaign Momentum with Engaged Leadership & Employees

  • Guilford County Schools-  Guilford County Schools is a giving organization with a culture of philanthropy and community service which is exhibited not only by their Superintendent, Board of Education, Executive Leadership Team and principals but also in their more than 9,900 employees and the more than 73,000 students in grades PreK-12. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, their leadership has stepped up to be advocates in the fight to end poverty and to continue to push forward in helping those who are less fortunate. They continue to lead by example as one of the top fundraising school systems in North Carolina.
  • Cone Health System- Considering the pandemic and the pressing focus it has a health system, Cone Health’s senior leaders still made time for promoting the United Way campaign and the impact employees’ gifts can make on the community. The campaign switched to being 100% virtual this year to limit social gatherings during the pandemic, but Cone Health found a way to be creative and speak to employees. The CEO, campus presidents, campaign chairs and other high-level staff kicked off the campaign with personal videos which were shared with all staff about why they personally give and encouraging others to do the same. Senior leaders also shared about the United Way campaign in all staff meetings occurring during the campaign. The campaign’s success was due in large part to Cone Health’s many leaders.
  • Morrisette Paper– The Morrisette family have been long-time United Way Tocqueville donors. In addition to their personal giving, they run an employee campaign at their local business, Morrisette Paper, give a corporate gift and also offer a corporate match for those employees who give. For the past two years, the Morrisette’s have served as United Way’s Campaign Chairs and generously underwrote the car that United Way of Greater Greensboro offers to all donors as a giveaway incentive. Leading by example and showing their personal commitment has resonated with their employees has led to high participation in their employee giving campaign. 

Investment in Long-term Sustainable Impact

  • Lincoln Financial Group– Lincoln Financial Group has invested in United Way for nearly a century. Formerly Jefferson Pilot, they were a founding member of the Greensboro Community Chest. Not only are they generous with their longstanding corporate foundation support, but they also encourage employees’ participation in the workplace campaign and volunteering with and joining nonprofit boards throughout the community, thus ensuring a community that is supported in all aspects.  As a guiding principle, Lincoln values diversity within their organization and through their hiring practices. Because of this diversity, this mindset extends to diverse philanthropic giving and volunteerism, ensuring that their investments are spread throughout the community and resulting in high impact and strong outcomes.

Extraordinary & Courageous Community Response amid COVID-19

  • City of Greensboro– City of Greensboro has been a long-standing partner with United Way of Greater Greensboro, and we are so appreciative of their rapid response to COVID-19. Department by department, they each played a critical role in keeping their residents as safe, and healthy as possible. Early in the pandemic, United Way of Greater Greensboro and the City of Greensboro established the Greensboro Virus Relief Fund. Donations were used to support local children and families impacted by the virus. United Way and the City also formed a Virus Relief Taskforce to determine ongoing needs and fund distribution. 

Campaign/Engagement Growth

  • Brooks Pierce McLendon Humphrey & Leonard L.L.P.- Brooks Pierce’s 2020 United Way Campaign increased totals dollars raised by about 4% in the middle of a pandemic. They also increase their participation rate by over 11%. During our current pandemic, Brooks Pierce has tirelessly worked to raise more than $100,000 for United Way to end generational poverty in the Greater Greensboro area. 

New criteria were established this year for selection of Spirit of North Carolina Winners. As local United Ways are heavily focused on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for racial equity, building engagement in a virtual environment, and ensuring employee productivity and health while working from home, this change was necessary to better complement today’s reality. Individual United Ways determined their own Spirit of NC winners. All winners were selected within the 6 categories offered and met the criteria outlined. 

For more information about the Spirit of North Carolina Award and to view a complete list of winners, visit unitedwaync.org/spirit-north-carolina-award-winners.