GREENSBORO, N.C. – As the Greensboro Grasshoppers bids farewell to summertime baseball, the inaugural season of an exciting new program of The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro has wrapped, as well.
This year, the Foundation honored outstanding individuals – a diverse group from all corners of our community who are contributing in a variety of ways to making greater Greensboro an even better place to live and work. Whether they’re tackling hunger or assisting big thinkers in making their ideas reality, these honorees are “Game Changers” for our community.
Early in 2015, The Community Foundation partnered with the Grasshoppers to present the new Game Changer Award. The public was invited to suggest people they believed were worthy of the accolade, and a recipient was honored at each of the 12 Saturday home baseball game throughout the season. Honorees were invited onto the field as baseball fans learned what each of them has added to our community. Recipients were then presented with the Game Changer Award, a Grasshoppers team-signed baseball bat.
“Our community is rich with countless people who are making a difference for all of us in a variety of ways,” said Walker Sanders, president of The Community Foundation. “In many instances, their contributions are not readily known. We want to draw attention to the many area volunteers and professionals who are making significant contributions to our local society, and in doing so creating a better community for all of us. We appreciate their vision and hard work and are pleased to honor them in this way. And we encourage the public to continue helping us identify more folks to be considered as Game Changers in 2016.”
The public may suggest someone for consideration as a Game Changer recipient by CLICKING HERE.
The following individuals are the first honorees of The Community Foundation Game Changer Award:
Nadia Shirin Moffett / Executive Director, Queen’s Foundation
Nadia was Miss North Carolina USA 2010 and is founder of The Queen’s Foundation, where she’s now the executive director. The Queen’s Foundation is a state-wide nonprofit based here in Greensboro dedicated to preparing under-served middle and high school young women for higher education and leadership – specifically, girls who will be first in their families to earn a college degree. Nadia has led the organization to raise more than a half-a-million dollars in donations for sponsorships to keep the program free of fees for the young women and public schools served. The organization serves over 200 young women across 18 public schools in four regions in North Carolina. It has awarded over 50 scholarships, placed girls in over 80 high school internships and has exemplary success rates of ensuring girls transition from high school to college. Nadia’s work has resulted in enlisting over 200 volunteers and more than 100 corporate and community partners to provide funding and leadership support.
Santiago Elliott / Founder and CEO, Santiago Elliott Photography /Community Volunteer
The Community Foundation first met Santiago Elliott when he was in middle school and volunteering at HandyCapable Network, which works with developmentally disabled adults who refurbish donated, used computers for future use by low-income individuals and families. There, Santi noticed how many of these were fellow students who lacked a computer in the home. So Santi arranged a series of computer build workshops for them. In the end, they each not only had a computer of their own but new skillsets – plus a leadership inspiration in Santi. Santi also joined The Community Foundation’s Teen Grantmaking Council, which teaches middle and high school students about philanthropy by letting them carefully select worthy causes to support through grantmaking. Through this experience, Santi searched out, applied for and received numerous grants. Today, Santi continues to support local issues while juggling a new career as a talented photographer.
The Rev. David Fraccaro / Executive Director, FaithAction International House
The Rev. David Fraccaro is executive director of FaithAction International House, a “welcoming home” where the Piedmont Triad’s newest immigrant neighbors receive assistance and friendship. There, volunteers from numerous faith communities and culture act together to help “solve the puzzle of diversity.” Prior to coming to Greensboro, David worked as an immigration specialist with the Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago, educating students and faith communities throughout the United States on immigration issues. David also has worked for the National Council of Churches and in New York as coordinator for Sojourners Visitation Ministry with Detained Immigrants and Asylum Seekers, the group that inspired the independent movie The Visitor. David is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, and has been a human rights volunteer for the UCC in Bolivia, Kenya and East Timor, and with the United Nations. His blogs and editorials have been featured in by national and local media. David is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary (Masters of Divinity) and Columbia University (Masters of Human Rights). Check out David’s inspiring TEDx Greensboro talk on YouTube.com.
Marie Stamey / President, Eastside Park Neighborhood Association
Marie Stamey has been the longtime president of the Eastside Park Neighborhood Association and was instrumental in the development of the Eastside Park Community Center. Since 1996 she has played a leading role with this group, which led the revitalization of the Eastside neighborhood, beginning in the early 1990s. Marie also has been an active member of the Greensboro Neighborhood Congress, which is a city-wide alliance of neighborhoods that seeks to improve the quality of life within neighborhoods by empowering them to resolve their own issues. A mother, grandmother and seamstress, Marie also has worked collaboratively with the Greensboro Police Department, the City of Greensboro, her neighbors and the East Market Street Development Corporation to transform what once was a crime-ridden neighborhood. Marie’s contributions to our community have the appreciation of many other local leaders. “She has been a mentor for me for all these years,” says Donna Newton, who grew to know Marie well during the years she led the Guilford Nonprofit Consortium. “She always contributes in any way she possibly can.”
Kristy and Don Milholin (as a couple) / Co-founders, Out of the Garden Project
Several years ago, Kristy and Don Milholin noticed that students at their children’s school were food insecure – they simply didn’t have access to adequate meals and were hungry. So in 2009, from their own home and around their kitchen table, the couple created the Out of the Garden Project to help address the issue of hunger in our community. Today, Out of the Garden fights chronic hunger with the help of more than 600 volunteers each month. The group provides 16 mobile food pantries monthly that serve 60 pounds of food to more than 1,200 families each; they have so far provided over 1 million pounds of food to children and their families, presented in individual backpacks on weekends; and they run a feeding/enrichment site where kids are fed and offered a safe and secure environment. To learn more, visit OutOfTheGardenProject.org.
Kathy Hinshaw / Latino advocate and community volunteer
Kathy Hinshaw has been at the forefront of helping Greensboro’s Latino community for many years. As an advocate, she represents our area’s Latinos though her impressive work with many local organizations – the Greensboro Housing Coalition, the Human Relations Commission, the Multicultural Advisory Coalition, ArtsGreensboro, El Centro de Accion Latino, the Latino Initiative-International Understanding Center, the Cone Foundation, various UNCG research programs, the HIV/AIDS coalition, The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro and others. In addition, Kathy has helped organize a number of community events, such as Opening Doors of Opportunity, the Ecumenical Thanksgiving Celebration, Latino health fairs, Summer Salsa Sizzle and workshops on immigration rights.
The Rev. Julie Peeples / Senior Pastor, Congregational United Church of Christ
Over the years, the Rev. Julie Peeples has helped many audiences through her ministerial work – women experiencing homelessness, college students and Habitat for Humanity, just to name a few. She came to Congregational United Church of Christ in Greensboro in 1991, having served with her husband, the Rev. Paul Davis, as chaplains for Habitat for Humanity International in Georgia. As an activist, Julie has appeared at the Legislature numerous times to advocate for her strong beliefs on many issues, ranging from immigration to equality. Just this past spring, she joined other faith leaders from across the state in urging the N.C. General Assembly to improve policies that support clean energy. Whether through rallies or sit-ins or expressing her deep faith from the pulpit, Julie has been a leader and advocate for many residents in Greensboro and beyond.
Parker White / Founder and Executive Director, BackPack Beginnings
In 2008, when Parker White moved back to Greensboro and was awaiting the birth of her second child, she realized, “I wanted to do something that made a big impact on children and our community.” So she played an instrumental role in the creation of BackPack Beginnings, a nonprofit program that addresses childhood hunger by providing at-risk school-age kids with backpacks full of food on the weekends – nonperishable, nutritious and child-friendly food. An effort that started in Parker’s dining room with the help of friends and family has grown into a robust – and critically important – initiative encompassing 45 organizations, including 31 schools and 14 child assistance organizations. Now feeding more than 1,300 children each weekend, BackPack Beginning not only offers food but needed clothing, as well. BackPack Beginnings is a 100-percent volunteer undertaking, with the help of more than 200 volunteers each month. It is funded by caring citizens, local businesses, churches and foundations. For more information, visit backpackbeginnings.org.
Dr. Goldie Frinks Wells / Community volunteer and activist
The daughter of a civil rights activist, Dr. Goldie Frinks Wells also has been active in fighting for justice and equality for all people. A longtime community volunteer, Goldie is the chairperson of Citizens for Economic and Environmental Justice. She also is a member of the Greensboro Beautiful advisory board, is actively involved with Building Stronger Neighborhoods, helps advise GTCC and works on behalf of the Greensboro Voters’ Alliance. A retired educator, Dr. Wells is a graduate of North Carolina A&T University and earned a doctorate from UNC-Chapel Hill. Among her many education-related endeavors, she was a leader of the Committee to Save Dudley High School as well as the Greensboro Coalition on Education. Goldie also has been a public servant, having served two terms on the Greensboro City Council. In addition, she has been and remains very engaged in church-related efforts, including her current role as chair of the National Executive Board of the Business and Professional Women’s Federation of the Church of God in Christ.
Michelle Kennedy / Executive Director, Interactive Resource Center
In spring of 2014, Michelle Kennedy came to Greensboro to lead one of the city’s most impactful – and yet troubled – nonprofits, the Interactive Resource Center, also known as the IRC, a daytime center for people experiencing homelessness. Michelle previously had spent more than a decade advocating for and collaborating with low-income individuals and families. Her work has included helping families stay together, pushing for healthy and energy-efficient affordable homes and helping broaden access to healthcare. Today as the IRC’s executive director, Michelle is leading an organization that daily serves more than 200 people experiencing homelessness by providing a safe, dedicated place for them to take care of basic needs and receive guidance and support to turn their lives around. As an IRC supported put it several months ago: “We’re doing more; we’re doing it better.”
Lindy Garnette / Chief Executive Officer, YWCA Greensboro
Lindy Garnette has spent her entire career helping people in need, whether in social work, mental help or community outreach. In 2010, Garnette rose to the top of 66 applicants for the job of chief executive officer of the YWCA in Greensboro. Organization leaders hailed Lindy’s experience with nonprofits, her leadership skills and her support of the Y’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. She was quoted as say, “Racism is something I am extremely passionate about.” In coming to Greensboro, she inherited an organization that had recently been through internal and financial crises, and she set about to right the ship. Since then she has led the Y’s move into its fantastic new home and helped the nonprofit refocus its mission. The Community Foundation’s Women to Women program recognized the positive direction the Y is heading in when, last year, the endowment made its largest grant yet – $210,000 over three years – to support the Y’s Purses to Passion program, which assists women in establishing micro-enterprises businesses, create a loan fund to aid women experience some sort of financial crisis that impacts their employability and address a “living wage” in Greensboro.
Joel Leonard / Community Developer, The Forge
Joel Leonard is the community developer at nonprofit The Forge, one of just a handful of “maker spaces” in the state – a place where innovative people can flesh out, and even build, their ideas, whether it’s metal-working or creating through 3-D printing. The Forge offers a highly collaborative place where hobbyists, entrepreneurs, students, mentors, engineers and experimenters can all come together to develop ideas that result in new businesses or jobs. In his role, Joel helps bring these forward-thinking folks to the center and raise awareness of The Forge’s mission. An engineer by training, Joel has used his skillsets with a broad group of audiences to move their innovative ideas forward. In 2007 he founded SkillTV, which was one of the country’s first online TV networks dedicated to helping build awareness of and offering solutions to the “U.S. maintenance crisis.” Joel has traveled all over the world to elevate workforce performance. He has coached community college presidents, introduced new industry certifications and taken a lead internationally to address the important challenges of frayed and broken community infrastructures.