During this season of gratitude, United Way of Central Carolinas has much to be thankful for, including our donors, volunteers and nonprofit partners who have answered the call to help those in need time and time again during a challenging year. Kathryn Firmin-Sellers, United Way’s chief impact officer, reflects on 2020 and shares more about the organization’s thankfulness.


In December, United Way of Central Carolinas will announce a significant investment into nonprofit agencies and initiatives across the Charlotte region to boost economic mobility, strengthen neighborhoods and support safety net agencies.


United Way’s grantmaking is distinctive in two important ways. First, unlike many charitable foundations whose work is often made possible by wealth accumulated in generations past, United Way’s grantmaking is made possible by the thousands of donors who choose each year to invest in our work.


Second, United Way recruits volunteers from this group of donors and asks them to provide guidance to the organization on the best way to deploy these funds. Educators, healthcare professionals, neighborhood leaders and grassroots activists all come together to share their time, expertise and lived experience, all with a goal of ensuring every dollar entrusted to United Way generates the greatest possible impact on our community.


This year, the service of United Way’s 120 community impact volunteers has added greater resonance. The COVID-19 pandemic and continued racial unrest cast a harsh light on the inequities that exist within our society.


The nonprofits United Way is honored to support through our investment stand at the front lines of addressing these disparities. They meet basic needs for food and shelter; they provide access to critical health and mental health care; they help children and parents navigate the challenges of virtual learning; and so much more.


We are profoundly grateful to the employees of these nonprofit agencies who served in this time of crisis. And we offer our deepest thanks to every donor and volunteer who makes their work possible and strengthens the mission of United Way.



Kathryn Firmin-Sellers