New leadership asks the community to ASPIRE

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At the United Way of the Lowcountry’s recent annual meeting a short video titled “Aspire,” was broadcast to launch the UWL ASPIRE project giving Lowcountry residents the opportunity to tell the organization what they thought Beaufort and Jasper counties needed to become better places to live and work.

Residents, businesses, nonprofits and others can submit their thoughts via this blog, click here or at the UWL website.

“I am honored — honored to be leading the United Way during such a pivotal time,” said Tina Gentry at the April 24, 2013 Annual Meeting held at Sun City Hilton Head’s Pinckney Hall, who took over as the local organization’s CEO after Clarece Walker retired in February after 18 years. Read more from the annual meeting, go here.

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Tina Lamb Gentry named CEO of UWL

The Board of Directors for the United Way of the Lowcountry (UWL)Tina Gentry headshot -- United Way Lowcountry CEO announced the selection of Tina Lamb Gentry of Asheville, North Carolina as the next president and Chief Executive Officer for the organization. To read local press on the appointment, go here.

“I am truly honored to be selected to serve the United Way of the Lowcountry in this capacity,” Tina Gentry replied when the announcement was made public. She is very familiar with the Lowcountry region having spent most of her early life in Beaufort and has family members residing in the area. “I have very fond memories of growing up in Beaufort. The opportunity to return home to live and work in close proximity to my family and accept a role where I can make a substantial difference is one I relish.”

Since 2003, Gentry has worked as vice president of patient access and sustainable resources for Four Seasons in Flat Rock, North Carolina, where she oversaw a $20 million annual budget and 277 staff members. The North Carolina nonprofit organization provides hospice and palliative care services focusing on the needs of people living with serious chronic and or terminal illnesses. Itself an agency supported by the efforts of its local United Way. Thus, Tina knows well the value of United Way in supporting the community it serves and addressing the impact areas of health, education and financial stability. In her role with Four Seasons she was called upon frequently to speak on behalf of her local United Way. She also has served on several nonprofit boards with community missions, the Home & Hospice Care Foundation of North Carolina and the Partnership for Health.

As a Certified Fund Raising Professional (CFRE) for over five years Tina will play a crucial role in the efforts to raise funds to support the local mission. Her dynamic energy and innovative approach will stabilize and diversify the funding base in the local market and benefit UWL for years to come.

Tina’s prior professional experiences include serving as a consultant advising nonprofits in fund development, working for the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce and in banking. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance from the University of South Carolina, an Associate’s degree with a concentration in accounting from USC Beaufort, and is pursuing a Master’s in healthcare administration from the University of Cincinnati. She graduated Beaufort High in 1988.

Posted in Early Grade Reading, Education, Emerging Leaders, Health & Nutrition, Income & Shelter, Power of Many, Women's Leadership Council | Leave a comment

Make a Wish. Give a Gift. Spread Cheer.

2012_HolidayMessage_UnitedWay

Watch the Video, click here

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Clarece Walker, CEO/President United Way of the Lowcountry

United Way of the Lowcountry’s work is focused on the building blocks 305036_10151199266696635_1211224954_nfor a good life in Beaufort and Jasper counties.

That includes providing emergency help with basic needs like shelter, food and clothing; education (helping children and adults achieve their potential); health (improving health to improve lives); and financial stability (improving people’s lives).

Advancing the common good is less about helping one person at a time and more about changing systems to help all of us. We are all connected and interdependent. We all win when a child succeeds in school, when families are financially stable, when people are healthy.

United Way’s goal is to create long-lasting changes by addressing the underlying causes of these problems. Living united means being a part of the change. It takes everyone in the community working together to create a brighter future. Give. Advocate. Volunteer. LIVE UNITED.

To those who have contributed, THANK YOU!

To those who are ready to join us in making a difference, call 843-982-3040 or visit www.uwlowcountry.org. A secure online payment system is available.

Key points about our work:
1. Dollars contributed locally stay local.
2. Local volunteers, our friends and neighbors, monitor the use of United Way funds and make all decisions locally
3. Social issues know no boundaries — at some point, we all need help.
4. The greater the community investment, the greater the opportunity for broad and positive impact.

Please give and help United Way of the Lowcountry meet the needs of the community, and meet our $2.8 million goal!

To donate online, click here; for more information about giving, advocating or volunteering, call us at 843-982-3040.

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Our strategy is to start younger!

Unfortunately, students who are not strong readers by fourth grade are at risk of education failure. They are more likely to fail courses, disengage and eventually drop out of school. Evidence and research show that providing readers with the extra assistance they need through tutoring is one strategy that works.

United Way of the Lowcountry is tackling today’s problems to reduce tomorrow’s struggles, with an emphasis on improving education, health and income. Our goal is to reduce the dropout rate by 50 percent in 10 years. To reach that, our strategy is to start younger: We are working to ensure that 80 percent of students in every Beaufort and Jasper County elementary school are reading on grade level when they enter fourth grade. By advancing the common good, we create opportunities for a better life for all.

United Way of the Lowcountry is recruiting people with passion, expertise and resources to get the job done. We’re looking for volunteer tutors for students in kindergarten, first, second and third grades at eight area schools. Working with the school teachers, our volunteers will help elementary students master the art of reading so that 80 percent -or more! – read on grade level when they reach fourth grade.

We need 600 tutors able to invest a few hours one day a week in a local school. It’s a great opportunity for young adults, retirees, faith communities and employees to help. You can help a child discover the joy of reading and open a lifetime of learning. United Way of the Lowcountry is kicking off its early-grade tutoring strategy designed to help elementary children boost their reading skills. Your help today will make a difference now and into the future.

Qualifications for tutors include a love of reading and a desire to help children. A good sense of humor comes in handy, too…Appropriate training is provided to all volunteers. Children frequently bond with their tutors, and they look forward to seeing you. For the occasional absence by a tutor, we have a system of trading days with other tutors. This gives some flexibility for scheduling.

Exactly what is involved in the early grade reading initiative? Encouragement, gentle urging to try harder,basic help with sounding out words, reading in context and identifying themes, main characters and plot are some of the keys to tutoring. Showing your own love of reading makes a huge difference!

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Pacesetter Companies

Each year, a select group of high performance businesses take on a challenge to jump start the annual campaign by becoming a Pacesetter. (See a comprehensive list in the side bar column to the right)

These organizations set the standard for leadership and community support by locking in their increased campaign donations during the summer months.

“The chamber has been a United Way Pacesetter organization for many years,” said Bill Miles, chamber president and CEO of the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce. “Our staff as well as our board and volunteers recognize the tremendous value and contribution that United Way brings to the Lowcountry. Many of our staff members give their resources, time and talent to a variety of United Way organizations and I’m proud of the example they set for the business community.”

The success and excitement generated by the activities of the 2012 PaceSetters helps to inspire other organizations to follow their lead when running their own campaigns.

“United Way has been, and continues to be, our largest philanthropic focus,” said Jimmy Taylor, president of the SC Lowcountry Regions Bank. “Throughout the year, our employees embrace many United Way initiatives with their time, energy and resources. I’m very proud of our people and their willingness to help others in our community.”

Pacesetter businesses are asked to exhibit leadership in the following ways:

Conduct a workplace campaign starting in August.

Ensure success of the workplace campaign by making it fun and educational for employees.

Report campaign results prior to the campaign kick-off and wrap up their campaign before the end of November.

Provide corporate support for United Way of the Lowcountry fundraisers through sponsorship or by providing employee volunteers, encouraging attendance.

Encourage employees to participate in the Community Investment process each spring to help distribute campaign funds.

Help United Way of the Lowcountry remain connected with employees who leave or retire by obtaining permission to pass on updated contact information or allowing a campaign presentation at retiree events.

During orientation, encourage new employees to begin a relationship with United Way.

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Hunger In the Classroom and Our Community

Many individuals in our Lowcountry community find it difficult to build a better life when they are struggling to feed themselves and their families. The economic research report Household Food Security in the United States 2011 released this month indicates 14.9 percent of households were food insecure at some time during the year, including 5.7 percent with very low food security~meaning that the food intake of one or more household members was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food. The prevalence rate of very low food security increased from 5.4 percent in 2010, returning to the level observed in 2008 and 2009.

How does hunger impact academic performance? A national survey from the nonprofit group Share Our Strength found that students who are hungry have lower academic performance and suffer from health issues and behavior problems. The fact is there are students who regularly go to school hungry because they are not getting enough to eat at home. Check out this Hunger Fact Sheet. The hunger data clearly depicts that we have a generation at risk.

Several United Way of the Lowcountry partner agencies are committed to delivering programs and services that work to reduce the number of food insecure households in our area.

Healthy well-balanced daily meals lend to reducing the number of overweight/obese residents in Beaufort while at the same time reducing incidents associated with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke. HELP Mobile Meals ensures that individuals have the food they need to remain healthy, independent and productive citizens.

The Meals on Wheels of the Jasper County Council on Aging program serves over 100 meals, five days a week, 250 days a year. They ensure that home bound individuals aged 60 and above receive adequate nutrition. Over 20,000 meals are served in the Hilton Head and Bluffton markets to those unable to provide a meal for themselves.

Meals on Wheels in Bluffton and Hilton Head Island sees the delivery of a mid-day meal as a nutritional necessity where it might not otherwise exist.

2,200,000 pounds of food gets distributed to hungry families in Beaufort and Jasper counties, reaching 10,000 children each week by Second Helpings who knows the collection and distribution of surplus food makes a difference in the overall well-being of children.

Food insecurity among the elderly is troublesome because medical conditions may require special diets and other mitigating factors may lead to poor nutrition in Beaufort’s elderly population. Senior Services fills the gap of a rapidly expanding aging population with no familial or community support to deliver proper nutrition.

Our citizens are turning to local food programs as a primary source of food~families, children and senior citizens. As food needs increase, hunger relief programs are struggling to meet the demand.

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