Greensboro United Way chief retiring

By Todd Cohen 

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Neil Belenky, who has served as president of United Way of Greater Greensboro since 1990, has announced he will retire in August 2009.

He will continue to serve as president until a successor is named, and then will serve until his retirement as director of legacy giving, focusing on building United Way’s endowment.

Charles H. Flynt Jr., chairman and CEO of Flynt Amtex in Burlington and a member of United Way’s board, will head a committee to conduct a national search for Belenky’s successor.

Belenky joined Greensboro’s United Way in April 1990 after serving for seven years as president of Greater Kalamazoo United Way in Kalamazoo, Mich.

He says is particularly proud that United Way now “sees taking on major social problems as being central to its mission,” and that is “financially healthy with a very, very strong professional staff.”

United Way’s annual fund drive this past fall is expected to reach or exceed its goal of raising $13 million, Belenky says.

During his tenure, United Way launched the first Women’s Alexis de Toqueville Society in the U.S., an initiative that has been adopted by other United Ways and United Way of America, and that has led to the creation of local programs such as Success at School and Thriving at Three.

United Way also has played a key role in collaborative social initiatives, ranging from the assimilation of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina, a regional 2-1-1 reference-and-referral phone system, a joint marketing program among local United Ways throughout the state, and a 10-year effort to end homeless in Guilford County.

“Neil has been a strong, visionary leader who has transformed this United Way into a premier leadership organization to address immediate and long-term social problems in our community,” Billy Nutt, president and CEO of AIG United Guaranty Corp. and chair of United Way’s board, says in a statement.

Belenky says the biggest challenge facing Untied Way is the “competitive nature of fundraising.”

While United Way initially was based on workplace giving, he says, fundraising has becoming increasingly competitive because donors have more options than in the past, and individuals contribute a growing share of United Way dollars.

Fundraising today is “highly competitive,” Belenky says. “It’s very diversified.”

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