Tag Archives: Community Engagement

Collaborating with the tech community

United Way of the Greater Triangle (UWGT) and technology leader Citrix  are collaborating on UWGT’s 2016 Social Innovation Challenge to end childhood hunger, 100K Kids Hungry No More.

The partnership is a natural fit for two worlds that may not often collide–technology and nonprofits. It came together when UWGT’s Allison Warren-Barbour and Citrix’s Bill O’Boyle met through Leadership Raleigh. Through conversation, they discovered a mutual interest in mission-driven opportunities for talent development and recruitment.

O’Boyle was looking for special opportunities for his business development team to sharpen its skills, specifically its capacity “to solve big problems” while Warren-Barbour was seeking to engage the intellectual capital of the Triangle to take on pressing social issues like food insecurity.

The two got their respective teams together and a match was struck.

Last year’s Challenge offered $50,000 in prize money to the best idea for reducing childhood hunger in the Triangle. Out of 50 applications, Jim Keaten, Childhood Nutrition Director for Durham Public Schools, won with his universal breakfast in the classroom pilot program. As a result of the award, over 280,000 additional breakfast meals during school and summer as well as nearly 150,000 summer lunch meals to feed kids in Durham.

This year, United Way and Citrix will employ a GoToMarket strategy developed by O’Boyle’s team, with goals to double the number of participants, engage more companies from the technology industry, and increase the Challenge prize pool to $100,000.

It’s a win-win.

From O’Boyle’s perspective, this opportunity allows Citrix employees a way to contribute to the Triangle community by creating what Harvard Business School’s Michael Porter calls shared value — generating economic value in a way that also produces value for society by addressing its challenges. He’s found it so meaningful to talent development and recruitment that he’s added the skills-based project to his team’s fourth quarter KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), giving his team an edge with top talent looking for ways to marry professional ambition with community service.

“Connecting social problem-solving with KPI’s allows us to show employees that giving back is a not just a nicety but a priority for Citrix and will act as a way to attract young talent who enjoy the concept of working with the community,” says O’Boyle.

Many of the Citrix team find that having community-oriented KPIs only affirms their choice of Citrix as an employer that allows them to “bring their entire self to the office,” according to team member, Ted Kirk.   The ability to overlay the expertise utilized every day to build new relationships for Citrix upon some of our region’s most complex social issues is a natural extension that will benefit both the community and Citrix’s bottom line.

“Just as United Way’s new collaborative approach in the community is forging new partnerships and creating different ways of working together, the Citrix/UWGT partnership ushers in a new era of solving social issues through purpose-driven employment, directly linking doing good business to doing good” reflected Allison Warren-Barbour.

We can go farther in solving complex challenges in our community by working together, leveraging the diverse experiences that our partners bring to the table. In the end, the community as a whole wins.

A Mutual Mentoring Experience

BY Sarah Williams, Community Engagement Fellow
Cross-posted with Girl Scouts – NC Coastal Pines


Mentor is defined as:

  1. a wise and trusted counselor or teacher;
  2. an influential senior sponsor or supporter.

At this year’s “Discover the Leader in You” camp at Girl Scouts – NC Coastal Pines, I had the chance to mentor and be mentored and it was a wonderful, powerful experience.

Now in my mid-twenties, post high school, college and grad school where I had countless influential teachers and mentors, I am grateful for the women in my life who have provided me so much guidance and support. As a result, I have been eager to find opportunities to pay it forward and by mentoring to help other young girls grow into their best selves.

I don’t know that I have the necessary wisdom or extensive experience to be the best mentor yet in life, but through my Community Engagement Fellowship at United Way of the Greater Triangle I had the opportunity to volunteer with this camp. As soon as I read about it, I knew I wanted to be a part, to try to pay it forward to these young girls, and support their empowerment to make a difference in their own communities.

At camp, I expected to have the chance to mentor. What I didn’t expect was how much I would be mentored through the process.

First, I had the privilege to meet two young girls with big hearts and dreams to impact their community. One wanted to help save animals from the streets and bring publicity to local animal shelters. Another wanted to help people in poverty find clothes. I learned that she loved fashion and put on fashion shows for her family so we tried to blend her talents and her desire to give back. She created a social action plan to host a clothing drive and organized fashion shows at local shelters, so those who received their new clothes could feel beautiful and special.

While I walked in to the experience hoping to give back, I walked away having received so much. First, I learned so much from the girls. I wish I was that others-focused at their age and that eager to make an impact in my community. I was so impressed with all of the girls at camp, their ideas, and their social action plans. It is clear that these girls are on a great path with Girl Scouts to become leaders in their communities.

Secondly, I had the chance to attend the Town Hall on the final day of camp with a number of women far wiser, more influential and experienced than myself.  These local professionals were there to share some of their advice to the girls at camp. The girls asked these women leaders a number of great questions including their biggest struggles and successes, lessons learned, who their own mentors were, etc. It is a beautiful and powerful thing when women come together to grow and support one another.

It caused us all to reflect and grow and learn through the experiences, ideas and sisterhood of the powerful women – both young and old – that was shared in that room.  I am grateful to have been able to be a part of Girl Scouts Leadership Camp – to grow as a mentor and mentee with all of those wonderful campers and women leaders. I think we all discovered more about leadership and ourselves through this camp.


United Way of the Greater Triangle Announces Allison Warren-Barbour as New Senior Vice-President of Resource Development and Engagement 

For Immediate Release

Contact: Irene Godínez, igodinez@unitedwaytriangle.org, 919-463-5013


Morrisville, NC – Allison Warren-Barbour has been named Senior Vice-President of Resource Development and Engagement at United Way of the Greater Triangle (UWGT), where she was most recently Vice-President of Workplace Relations and Engagement.

In her new capacity, she will develop innovative strategies for engaging cross-sector partners in United Way’s work. Warren-Barbour will work to increase the visibility of UWGT’s community work and create new ways of engaging existing and new donors. She will act as lead connector and advocate for UWGT in the community and will lead a ten-member team covering four interrelated areas – workplace and individual giving, major and leadership giving, research and data support, and grants/foundations. Through transformative leadership, Warren-Barbour hopes to inspire her team and Triangle community members to increase their impact towards solving some of our area’s most challenging social issues.

“I feel passionately about the work of UWGT and want to help create an environment and platform where community members who share our passion of creating opportunities for vulnerable children and their families around educational equity, family well-being and economic security, can find their place and voice through UWGT,” declared Warren-Barbour. “I want to bring more people into the conversation of transforming our community and making meaningful connections.”

Warren-Barbour has ample leadership experience having also served at United Way of Greater Atlanta. There, she led a team of 11 development officers charged with raising over $36 million of an $80 million campaign. Warren-Barbour also worked in sales management in the private sector prior to making the transition into nonprofit.

“We are thrilled to promote Allison to this critical role at United Way,” said Mack Koonce, CEO and President of United Way of the Greater Triangle. “Her skill set, along with her enthusiasm for our vision of creating a more just environment will enable us to engage more individuals and key partners in transforming our community.”

Warren-Barbour graduated from Miami University in Ohio with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Behavior. She went on to receive a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological seminary. She is a graduate of Leadership Triangle and Raleigh Chamber’s Emerging Leaders program.  Warren-Barbour lives in Cary, with her husband, Kevin and two daughters, Anya & Isla.

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About United Way of the Greater Triangle (UWGT)
United Way is committed to supporting immediate basic needs and working toward long-term, sustainable solutions to some of the area’s most pressing issues in four North Carolina counties, Durham, Johnston, Orange, and Wake. A new focus on low income families and children uses a collaborative approach to dramatically change the course of their futures. UWGT actively mobilizes the caring power of communities to build resources, focus investments, and foster partnerships to improve lives and inspire generations of achievement.

Learn more about UWGT’s work at unitedwaytriangle.org or volunteer opportunities at https://www.unitedwaytriangle.org/volunteer.

2400 Perimeter Park Drive, Suite 150 | Morrisville, North Carolina 27560 | 919.460.8687


Working together to transition from homelessness to housing


BY Candice Delgado, Community Engagement Fellow

Upon accepting this community engagement fellowship opportunity, I was told that every day would be something different and each day I would learn something new. Being that I have been part of United Way’s community for over a month, I now know this to be true. I had the honor of spending Friday with UPS as they donated their time volunteering in Durham with Housing for New Hope. This was an incredible day spent seeing a different side of Durham, hearing firsthand accounts of being homeless in Durham, and seeing the emotions of a person as they were removed from homelessness and placed into their own home.

Housing for New Hope is one of United Way’s agency partners working within a collaborative that works to move families and individuals out of homelessness into permanent housing as quickly as possible. Employees explained the process that homeless individuals or families have to go through to receive help from Housing for New Hope. Being so far removed from understanding all that someone facing homelessness must endure, I learned quite a lot and feel very frustrated for the barriers that stand in the way for these agencies working so hard to help more people get out of homelessness. I also feel disappointed that as much as Durham has grown in the past few years, housing in this area is not accessible to many people. A recent article in The Indy states the reality of trying to work and afford housing in Durham, “Condos and apartments are being built—or in the pipeline—throughout the center of the city, Durham Central Park, West Village and most recently at the old Hendrick dealership off Dillard Street. Yet not a single unit is affordable for the average public school teacher, firefighter, police officer, waiter or parking attendant.” Despite the lack of access to affordable housing and the ability for these homeless adults to find a source of income, Housing for New Hope is moving more and more people into permanent housing.


A group of 15 UPS employees and myself moved an individual out of Urban Ministries and into their new home. Moving heavy furniture inside, stocking the pantry and refrigerator, and turning an empty space into a home were just several ways we helped assist this person with their move. However, for this individual-this is their home, their salvation from the daily struggles they faced on the streets, their chance at starting over. Powerful emotions were felt by all that witnessed this moment, a moment that I will not forget.

Throughout the day, Housing for New Hope employees shared that homelessness is a large problem in our community, and it would be near impossible to tackle it all alone as a single agency, but partnering with other agencies that are seeking the same goal helps them use their resources together and reach more people which in the end gets more families off of the street and into stable housing. The efficiency of working together and working towards long-term solutions is why United Way of the Greater Triangle is investing in collaborative work.

As I went home on Friday evening to my comfortable, safe home, I could not stop thinking about that one individual in their new home – what must they be feeling now that it’s quiet and no one is there. Are they scared? Are they lonely? If they doubt themselves at any moment, who is there to support & encourage them? I felt a bit more at ease when I remembered that for one, they’ll have a collaborative team of organizations that will work together to ensure their path towards success. 

On Friday all I could think about was this person, and I think that’s important for me to hold onto, because I’ll remember that person when I tell this story to others. I’ll remember them when I go out to dinner in Durham only a few blocks from where their new home is located. I’ll remember them when I see the face of another homeless person in Durham.  I will continue to seek out opportunities to be more engaged in the community. Working at United Way of the Greater Triangle has already opened so many more doors out into the community which has opened my eyes to see the community in a different light and engage more meaningfully. Although I’m one person, I know that I can help make a difference, if even in a small way like moving furniture, to ease the hardship on some of my Triangle neighbors.

A Whole and Healthy Community

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BY Alex Hardesty

My entire life I have been surrounded by tight knit communities. As a young child my community was a therapeutic wilderness camp, where both my parents were employed. Living there was so much fun as there was always something to be explored in the woods, ice cream was an abundance, and most of all I learned how fortunate I was to have a loving, supportive family that could provide me with many opportunities. At camp I learned not everyone was given these opportunities and that had affected their lives. Most kids at camp had been in some sort of trouble before being a part of the program. I never thought of these kids as “bad”, they just had not been given the same opportunities I had. Being at camp was one of the best opportunities most of the kids had to better themselves. This is when I first realized I wanted a job that would positively impact others.

We eventually moved off property and my community became the small, rural town of Henderson, NC. Henderson is full of wonderful people, but not a lot of activity. So when I received my acceptance letter to NC State I was ecstatic to be moving to Raleigh and to join a new (bigger) community.

I have loved living in Raleigh the last four years. It has been a welcoming and warm place to live. I can totally see why it has been ranked as the #4 happiest place in the world and why many people move to this area each year. However, the Triangle is not a welcoming place for everyone as issues such as homelessness, hunger, and poverty still exist in our community.

When graduation came in May and it was time to enter the real world I hoped for the perfect introduction into a professional career, the nonprofit world, and a new group of people I could add to my community. At United Way as a Community Engagement Fellow that hope was made into a reality. As a fellow I go out into the community and engage others to be a part of the United Way of The Greater Triangle to improve our community. I believe together we can improve the social issues in the Triangle. I am inspired by the UW as they work with their collaborative partners to improve the lives of families in the Triangle by not just focusing on children or supporting adults, but supporting the whole family unit. This two generational approach helps to improve the lives of families not just through funding but through support and sustainable techniques.

Working with UW reminds me of a quote by Millard Fuller, “For a community to be whole and healthy, it must be based on people’s love and concern for each other.” Here at UW everyone truly does have a love for the Triangle and a concern to make it a better place for all to live. I am excited for the next few months as a Community Engagement Fellow to grow as a professional, while fulfilling my passion to help others.

Lessons learned about community engagement

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BY Karen Johnson

My exposure to United Way had been through the lens of my company’s annual campaign and the NFL ads during football season. I had not practiced due diligence on learning about United Way. Each year I gave by checking a box and checking one more thing off of my to-do list.

When I walked through the doors to interview and ultimately work as a Community Engagement Fellow at United Way of the Greater Triangle, I silently scolded myself for aligning UWGT with organizations whose brands outshine their results.  Here in the Triangle among cutting edge technology companies, three prominent universities and a growing base of entrepreneurs, sits one of only four United Way organizations in the country that is changing its business model to adapt to the complex social issues and address these issues at a systems level for immediate impact and lasting change. I had no idea!

I was about to get schooled and that 15-week education challenged my perception of UWGT, the Triangle area, and collaboration.  Here is what I learned and continue to learn:

  1. The United Way of the Greater Triangle doesn’t go it alone – and neither should I. When the leaders at UWGT realized that a new strategic direction was needed to evolve and make a greater impact, they reached out to partner agencies, community leaders and businesses to help develop the strategy.  This was a community effort.

In my role I reach out to businesses to help them develop their annual campaign and year-round engagement with us. The term “help” means that I first listen, ask questions, listen again, research options and then make recommendations based on the company’s goals.  It’s rewarding to help a company reach its philanthropic goals in support of our community.

  1. The Triangle is a great place for me to live. I love ACC basketball, the arts and access to great southern food. Every night I have the security of a place to sleep. I have food to eat when I am hungry. This is my reality, but it is not the reality for so many children and families here in the Triangle. The statistics will wake you up–like how 1 in 5 children in our community don’t have enough to eat on any given day. They may set you on fire like they did me. They could even inspire you to act in ways that surprise you.

Before becoming a Community Engagement Fellow I gave presentations to corporate executives, engineers, designers and managers for years. My comfort level in public speaking was met with a sleepless night and a dread that rivaled nothing else. However, when I began to talk about the issues in the Triangle and more importantly what UWGT is doing about those issues I became energized. Honestly at times I didn’t know myself.  I became comfortable and happy – on stage!

  1. Collaboration is the key to making a difference. Last year we talked about our agencies forming collaboratives and working together to solve an issue with common goals and metrics. Now we have 22 collaboratives that are funded by the Community Impact Fund. It is a new way of working together and everyone is finding their way.

“Oh, you mean I have to do it too?”  It can be hard to work in group on a project or issue when you already have a vision of what the outcome will look like.  Thankfully I work with some really bright, creative and interesting Fellows who make working collaboratively fun and produce outcomes that are so much better than what I could do alone.

This is my second year as a Community Engagement Fellow and I am finding it equally as rewarding and fun as last year.  Our story at the United Way of the Greater Triangle is an easy story to tell and I love telling it because we are innovative, engaged and determined to make an impact in our community.