United Way taps chief

By Todd Cohen

HIGH POINT, N.C. — The United Way of Greater Higher Point has named a new president, met the goal for its annual fund drive and lost its top fundraising official.

Bobby Smith, president of the Cape Fear Area United Way in Wilmington for nearly five years and former head of the annual drive for the United Way of Greater Greensboro, will begin work Jan. 13 as president and chief professional officer of High Point’s United Way.

Smith, who succeeds Claudia Stowers, joins the United Way as it wraps up an annual fund drive that met its $4.3 million goal, down from $4.7 million the drive raised each of the past two years.

Smith faces the immediate task of filling the organization’s top fundraising job.

Patty Mead, who served as director of resource development for the past year-and-a-half, has joined Senior Services Inc. in Winston-Salem as director of development.

Smith grew up in Greensboro, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, earned a master’s degree in public administration at UNC-Greensboro and, from 1983 to 1998, worked for Greensboro’s United Way, mainly heading up its annual drive.

A top priority in his new job, he says, will be building ties with the United Way’s partner agencies.

“We’re still small enough that people are giving to the United Way because they know an agency, they like that agency, they know it’s part of the United Way, they use that agency or their kids use that agency and therefore they support the United Way,” he says.

In its just-ended annual fund drive, the Cape Fear United Way exceeded its $2.7 million goal by $25,000 – down from $3.1 million it raised in 2001, including $200,000 that was designated for relief for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mead, who was resource development director for the United Way of Forsyth County for four years before moving to High Point’s United Way, will oversee Senior Services’ annual drive, which raises roughly $575,000. She also will oversee grant-writing, special events and planned giving.

Stowers resigned in July after 14 years as president and CEO. She recently has been part of a turnaround team at the troubled United Way of the National Capital Area.

Bill McGuinn, a retired First Citizens Bank senior banking executive, served as interim president during the annual drive, which was chaired by Robert A. Rogers Jr., senior vice president at High Point Bank and Trust Co.

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