United Way Community Survey Indicates Poverty as a Significant Problem in Greater Greensboro

United Way combining survey results with additional community findings related to racial equity and justice to create strategic plan addressing poverty 

Greensboro, NC (September 25, 2020) –United Way of Greater Greensboro (UWGG) is pleased to announce 1,200 caring residents recently participated in a communitywide survey that will help its strategic planning efforts to lift children, adults, and families out of poverty.  

The survey which was released in the Spring asked people to identify local social issues they believed needed to be addressed, their overall opinion of UWGG, and how best to engage the community in the organization’s work. 

For 98 years, UWGG has relied on community input to identify community issues that need to be addressed. UWGG sought input from the community in 2014, and results helped the organization define poverty as its single focus issue. Since then, UWGG has ensured its partnerships are working together holistically to end poverty. 


The most recent community survey was conducted by a consulting group to ensure unbiased results and reporting. Findings will help UWGG build upon its efforts to end poverty and define targeted goals. The executive summary of survey findings can be found at: www.UnitedWayGSO.org/Survey.  

In the survey, the community identified homelessness/housing as the most significant community issue, ahead of poverty, mental health, crime, health care and hunger. Although poverty was not ranked as the most significant issue facing the community, nearly all respondents agreed that poverty is a significant problem.  

Findings also indicated that both current donors and nondonors have a favorable opinion of United Way and its leadership, and that the organization is well positioned to continue leading local efforts to end poverty.  

Since the survey was issued, the importance of working together as a community to address issues has been heightened in the wake of the impacts of COVID-19 and the murder of George Floyd. 

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 57,000 people were living in poverty in the greater Greensboro area, including one out of every four children in Greensboro. Due to the pandemic and its economic impact on thousands of people, companies, and organizations the number of people who are financially unstable or living in poverty is expected to increase.  


In response to the murder of George Floyd, UWGG hosted a series of four virtual community conversations attended by hundreds of people to listen and learn how best to align its work of ending poverty with racial equity and justice.  

UWGG ultimately surveyed participants and community members to identify common themes from these virtual conversations. Respondents were asked to identify and rank their top three short-term and top two long-term priorities they believed needed to be collaboratively addressed in the community.  

Survey participants were also asked if they would like to volunteer on committees or groups, or with local organizations addressing these issues and 80 people indicated they would like to volunteer. UWGG’s racial equity work can be found at: www.unitedwaygso.org/equity.  

The survey identified the following priorities: 

For action now and implementation in 180 days 

  • Racial Equity Training for community members, business leaders, government employees, public service staff, students, educators, faith community, etc. 
  • Workforce Development for jobs at wages that support families 
  • Police Transparency open conversations and data sharing regarding policing 

For action that will take more than 180 days and implemented within two years 

  • Housing addressing affordable housing issues, evictions, repairs, rent assistance and homeownership programs 
  • Early Childhood Development access and affordability of universal programs for pre-K education and childcare  


UWGG is working to connect racial equity survey findings and volunteers to appropriate organizations and committees. UWGG will combine racial equity and community survey results to produce strategic action steps that are aligned with its efforts to end poverty. Findings will help UWGG improve its internal and external operations as it works to address racial equity and develop a renewed community goal of ending poverty. 

“Right now, our community is facing two major issues that are very aligned with our strategic efforts to end poverty. The pandemic has no doubt caused more families to fall into poverty, and our community’s call for racial equity and justice has highlighted the voices of people who have been systematically forced into poverty for centuries. We are more eager than ever to work together as a community to address the root causes of poverty. Everyone has a seat at our table,” said Michelle Gethers-Clark, President and CEO, UWGG. 

UWGG’s holistic solutions to address the root causes of poverty include safe housing and shelter, nutritious food services, educational supports for children, job training and placement, and initiatives like UWGG’s Family Success Centers. 

“We are very well positioned to help families in our community who are struggling and looking for pathways out of poverty. Please take a moment to learn more about our efforts by visiting our website and consider joining the movement to end local poverty.”

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