Presentation: Eric Guckian, President & CEO – United Way of the Greater Triangle


Rotarian, Emily Page, introduced Eric Guckian, President & CEO of the United Way of the Greater Triangle. She said that he has been in the position for 2 years. Originally from Rhode Island and the first in his family to earn a college degree, Eric graduated from Colgate University with a B.A. in English and earned an M.A. in Education from Harvard.  

 Having begun his career as a science teacher and a Teach for America Corps member in the South Bronx, Eric has played a wide range of leadership roles since his move to North Carolina 20 years ago. Prior to his position with United Way, Eric was Vice President of Alliances for Leadership in Education Equity and was earlier a Senior Advisor on Education in the NC Governor’s office. 

 He began with the Triangle United Way’s Mission Statement: “To eradicate poverty and increase mobility through partnerships.” Acknowledging that the mission is very ambitious. He said that the community has to be united through partnerships. That is the only way to solve a problem of that magnitude. 

 Acknowledging that the Triangle is thriving, he pointed out that over 200,000 residents are suffering from the effects of poverty.  A recent study showed that  Raleigh was experiencing the highest poverty growth in the country. He said that the gap is steadily growing and that housing demand is a major cause. 

 Referring to the audacious Mission Statement, he explained that the approach that they are taking depends on three pillars of care for the community: Cradle to Career: Equity in Leadership: Healthy Families. All of the three are essential but Equity in Leadership is key to results. He acknowledges that they need to improve and points out that they have been engaged in a conscious effort to make sure that their leadership looks more like the community. He acknowledges that that they have a way to go yet. 

 United Way of the Triangle has also taken a hard look on what it spends on itself and has found 18% more dollars for programs and partners. They are adding 60 more partners through a rigorous selection process and they are also working with experts to learn how best to measure the impact of their efforts. Listening closely to their partners and communities through the process called Assess, Aggregate, Amplify, they raised over $250,000 to help those who were affected by the gas explosion in Durham. 

 Looking closely at the community areas it serves, United Way launched “!0 to Watch,” a select group of up and coming nonprofit organizations and leaders last year. United Way will invest $500K over two years in the organizations. Through partnership with Leadership Triangle, they will also participate in intensive leadership development as a group.  

 Finally, in April this year, Peter Buffett, musician, composer, philanthropist and son of Warren, visited. Partnering with United Ways across the nation, Buffett was impressed with the “10 to Watch Model and with leadership across the Greater Triangle area. 

 Submitted by – Doug Butler 


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