United Way of Greater Greensboro to Welcome Spike Lee for Speaker Series May 15, Honor James “Smitty” Smith with Lifetime Achievement Award

For Immediate Release

Dana Carter, United Way of Greater Greensboro
Ph: 336-378-6617

(Greensboro, NC – April 27, 2015) – On Friday, May 15, United Way of Greater Greensboro will welcome celebrated American filmmaker Spike Lee as keynote speaker for its 2015 African American Leadership (AAL) Speaker Series luncheon. All are welcome to attend this gathering of community leaders and caring citizens to explore issues related to income and financial stability, support the work of United Way, be inspired, and give back.

United Way’s AAL Speaker Series with Keynote Speaker Spike Lee
Presented by Bank of America and VF Corporation

Friday, May 15, 2015. 11am-1pm.

Koury Convention Center, Greensboro, NC


SPIKE LEE is a writer-director, actor, producer, author and educator who has helped revolutionize Modern Black cinema. Lee is a forerunner in the ‘Do It Yourself’ school of independent film. Lee has recently finished his Kickstarter funded Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014).  Lee began teaching a course on filmmaking at Harvard in 1991 and in 1993 he became a Professor at New York University’s Graduate Film Program, Tisch School of the Arts where he received his Master of Fine Arts in Film Production. In 2002, he was appointed the Artistic Director of the Graduate Film Program. Spike Lee has also combined his extensive creative experience into yet another venture: partnering with DDB Needham, he created Spike/DDB, a full-service advertising agency.

Individual tickets are $95. Event sponsorships are available starting at $1,500. Proceeds benefit the work of United Way of Greater Greensboro to break the cycle of poverty in our community.

To learn more and purchase tickets, visit www.UnitedWayGSO.org or call 336-378-6600. 

2015 Gwendolyn & Dr. Alvin V. Blount, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award

At the AAL Speaker Series luncheon, United Way will present the 2015 Gwendolyn & Dr. Alvin V. Blount, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated superior commitment to the Greater Greensboro community through generosity, service and leadership in the areas of self-sufficiency, income and entrepreneurship. The 2015 recipient of the award will be Greensboro business leader James “Smitty” Smith.

James “Smitty” Smith, CEO of DeJas Management/dba McDonald’s, owns 10 McDonald’s franchises in the Piedmont Triad area. He is a business and community leader in Greater Greensboro who has generously given of his time, talent and resources to strengthen the community. Mr. Smith views his mission as providing a business vehicle to employ members of the community, to help youth learn the proper work ethic needed to succeed in the business world, and to reinforce the importance of education.

Mr. Smith’s community involvement has included serving on the Southeast Economic Development (SEEDS) Board, United Way Board of Directors, Sickle Cell of the Triad Board, Eastern Music Festival Board of Directors, Hayes-Taylor YMCA Board of Management, The International Civil Rights Center and Museum Board, as President of Greensboro Men’s Club, and the Board of Trustees-UNCG. He is also an active lay leader at the Providence Baptist Church in Greensboro, is a member of the Forward Greensboro Board, is a Thirty-Third Degree Mason (G.I.G.) and Past Master of C.W. Lawrence Lodge #837 Free and Accepted Masons. He serves on the Board for the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association, and is Past President of the N.C. Black McDonald’s Operators Assoc. He has also been honored to receive the NAACP Corporate Humanitarian Award.

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United Way of Greater Greensboro makes investments in our community to serve those in need so that all individuals and families can succeed. United Way is a worldwide network in 41 countries and territories, including more than 1,200 local organizations in the U.S. United Way recruits people and organizations who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. To give, advocate and volunteer, visit www.UnitedWayGSO.org.

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