North Carolina Newspapers is powered by Chronam.
Community-wide investments totaling $8.8 million
THR CHRONIC! R
United Way of Forsyth County has
awarded $8,821,257 to social service
organizations in Forsyth County as part of
the 2016-2017 community-wide invest
ment cycle, which runs from July 2016 to
As in the past, the focus of the funded
programs is on United Way's priority
impact areas: health, education, financial
stability and basic needs. This year, how
ever, strategic shifts were made to United
Way's investments to achieve greater
Sallye Liner, United Way Board Chair,
says "We have a history of funding good
programs with long-term partners and
have seen positive results in the lives of
individuals and families. At the same time,
the county's poverty rate continues to rise,
food insecurity is a growing concern, and
health issues continue to escalate. United
Way believes these challenges demand that
we evolve from operating simply as a
fundraiser and distributor of grants to spe
cific partners, to focusing on developing
and executing integrated and long-term
solutions that address the root causes of
our community's challenges.
"Using this approach, we have seen
success with increasing the community's
high school graduation rate and eliminat
ing veteran homelessness. We have the
opportunity to achieve similar results, in
the areas of health and financial stability,
but that will require hew, creative thinking
by us and all of our partners - new and tra
A three-year funding comparison is
provided at http://www.forsythunited- ^
Strategic shifts made during this grant
cycle include the following:
?Developing new population-level
metrics for health and financial stability, in
addition to those that exist for education.
?Encouraging potential partners to work
together to create and propose comprehen
sive, integrated programs to address our
community's needs - recognizing that an
individual's or family's issues are intercon
nected and that such solutions will better
address their needs. Partners were encour
aged to submit as many proposals as they
?Pursuing a place-based strategy
("Place Matters") in thirteen neighbor
hoods in northeast Winston-Salem and
working with residents to develop and
implement a focused, integrated plan to
strengthen their neighborhoods.
?Evaluating proposals in two separate
funding cycles - the first for community
wide investments and the second for Place
The 2016-2017 community-wide
investments went to the programs and col
laborations that have the potential to move
the needle most quickly and sustainably
''with measure able effects. The programs
selected align best with United Way's
defined priorities and show promise in
achieving significant impact in the areas of
health (21 percent of funds), education (31
percent of funds), financial stability (11
percent of funds) and basic needs (30 per
cent of funds). A transition fund of
$450000 has been established to help
those partners who experienced a decrease
in funding over 20 percent.
In addition to the funds granted as part
of the communityrwide investment
process, another $2,841,314 has been
reserved for United Way's Place Matters
initiative. Those grants will be announced
in March 2016. Although the funding is
being handled in two waves this year, the
total amount being invested in the commu
nity is expected to remain the same. More
specific detail on the programs funded as
part of the community-wide investment
process is available on United Way's web
"Where United Way invests the com
munity's dollars is never an easy decision
and, unfortunately, the need always out
paces the available resources. Investments
are targeted to the programs that promise
the best results on the issues that are most
pressing for our residents," says Cindy
Gordineer, president and CEO of United
Way of Forsyth County.
from page Al
West Fifth Street downtown headquarters to elsewhere, or
cease to exist entirely.
And with the United Way now seemingly assuming
the role of fighting poverty, among other issues, observers
note the justification for the Urban League's demise
seems almost built in with the defunding.
"You know, when you look at the funding ... it does
seem pretty strange that the only black organization
downtown would be cut to that extreme," remarked a con
cerned community observer who asked not to be named.
The area the Urban League headquarters occupies has
seen key redevelopment in recent years with the Mast
General Store, the Village Loft 48-unit apartment com
plex, and $14.2 million dollars in total construction per
mits for the coming redevelopment of the historic 22
story R. J. Reynolds building into offices, apartments and
Kimpton Cardinal Hotel.
Mindful of the sensitive and delicate position they're
now in, officials with the Urban League that The
Chronicle contacted for this story would not offer com
ment, but sources close to the UL made it clear that they
fully expect another shoe to drop, with the ultimate goal
being to move the marginalized black people the UL
serves away from that prime area for future revitalization.
"What's on that comer that's not new?" another com
munity observer asked rhetorically, suggesting that too
much redevelopment is happening for the Urban League
address to be ignored.
One suggested to not be surprised if the bus transit
depot across the street, which brings poor people from
impoverished areas across the city to Fifth Street, seeking
the job training/placement services UL provides, is closed
and moved, Doing so would eliminate the primary reason
for the Urban League to continue to operate in a spot
where revitalization is happening all around it.
"It's a prime piece of real estate," confirmed another
kUllUllUllllJ VV?Vi ? V?.
Indeed, The Chronicle has learned that several years
ago, the Urban League signed over its building airspace
rights for an undisclosed amount to neighbor Mast
General Store, prohibiting the UL from expanding
upwards during the course of that agreement.
Now that its funding has been drastically cut, there's
no way the UL could even consider expansion once that
agreement runfc out. Indeed it may have to sell.
The Chronicle did check with both the city manager's
office and the city Planning Dept., and both indicated that
there are currently no plans to move the bus station.
With the United Way changing its mission from just
being a funder for those doing the community work, to
now actually undertaking some of the challenge itself,
there are questions about its Carver School Road Place
Last fall the United Way announced that in conjunc
tion with Neighbors for Better Neighborhood, it would
invest over $1 million to work with residents of 13 sur
rounding Carver School Road neighborhoods in improv
ing their quality of life conditions. Indeed, Alana James,
the director of the United Way's Community-based
Collaborations, was quoted in a Sept. 10,2015 Chronicle
story as admitting that those 13 neighborhoods, "... are
actually not the most challenged part of the community"
... " though they did have "significant and complex
r? . ? j r il : jj1-.
Dili uiose resiaenis are, ior uie mosi pan, nuuuic-uosa
stable black families, critics told The Chronicle, com
pared to the poor populations the Urban League works
with daily in administering job training skills, and then
helping in job placement so that they are able to independ
ently lift themselves up and out of gripping poverty.
Those critics question whether the United Way's
Carver School Road initiative is simply a way to claim a
quick victory over an area where the problems of home
lessness and poverty are nowhere as acute as in some of
the city's more challenging harder-hit communities.
With United Way effectively being the center-source
for community funding in Winston-Salem, that limits the
Urban League and the other local nonprofits who also saw
their grants slashed,- from making up the difference,
sources say. Companies that already give to the United
Way are now least likely to also give to these agencies
individually, which now makes providing services, let
alone keeping their doors open, even harder.
That means James Perry, who just took over as CEO
of the Winston-Salem Urban League, is going to have his
work cut out for him, as the prospects for his agency's sur
vival just got tougher.
I LACK HISTORY MONTH!I
the stories for We