Blog: What is Place Matters?

What Is Place Matters?

Simply put, Place Matters is about doing with, and not for – and at United Way we think that makes all the difference.

The opportunity for a good life begins in our families, our schools, and our jobs. And it begins in our neighborhoods. Place, or where we live, matters. And it’s no different here in Winston-Salem & Forsyth County.

Because we believe our entire community is better off when all its neighborhoods are healthy and thriving, United Way launched Place Matters – a new, innovative strategy guided by local residents that invests in programs to help strengthen neighborhoods.

What makes Place Matters different?

  • It is resident-led and inspired. At United Way, we want residents – the people who know their neighborhoods the best – to make decisions on what’s needed. It seems obvious, but it doesn’t always happen.
  • It is asset-based – we are building upon the gifts, skills, and talents of residents to strengthen their neighborhoods.
  • Collaboration. At United Way, we are able to convene community stakeholders – residents, nonprofit organizations, the faith-based community, and business and education leaders –in an inclusive approach focused on sustainable change in the buildings block of a good life: Education, Financial Stability, and Health. By working together, we can all achieve greater results.

Engaging the Community

Through our key partnership with Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods, we are engaging residents to ensure investments align with the priorities of those who live in and experience their neighborhoods every day.

In Place Matters, a group of residents from 13 neighborhoods in northeast Winston-Salem have joined together to make the place they live stronger. This Resident Impact Council identifies guiding priorities for funding, recommends programs to receive funds, and then evaluates whether those programs are working successfully. The Resident Impact Council have even given their 13 neighborhoods a collective name: CiVIC = Community Voices Impacting the Community (see map).


The Resident Impact Council identified the following “Guiding Priorities” as issues they would like to see improved in their community through United Way’s Place Matters investments.

Unemployment and Underemployment

  • Job placement
  • Skill development
  • School successMultigenerational Support
  • Seniors
  • Teens and young adults
  • ChildrenHealthy Living
  • Access to fresh and healthy food
  • Increase physical activity levels
  • Preventative healthcareHousing Stock and Vacant Lot
  • Improve existing housing stock
  • Increase utilization and repurpose of vacant lotsInvesting in Change
  • In 2016/17, United Way of Forsyth County is investing about $2.7 Million in programs focused on those Guiding Priorities and strengthening the CiVIC neighborhoods. We know change will not happen overnight. United Way is committed to Place Matters, the CiVIC neighborhoods, and the people who live there for the long-term

Click here to learn more about programs funded through Place Matters !