How Your School Supply Drive Support Is Driving True Community Partnership


We're honored to partner with Umoja Health, Wellness, and Justice Collective as one of nearly 40 community partner organizations in this year's School Supply Drive. Umoja is a nonprofit organization founded in 2019 addressing trauma, healing, and resilience through community and connection. Umoja Founder Michael Hayes sat down to share with us how important it is that we come together in truly equitable partnerships to help repair and rebuild for the next generation. 

"Our partnership with United Way has not only been a great partnership, it has been a true partnership," shares Hayes. "It hasn't been the normal practice of a major agency dictating what a funded grassroots organization needs. United Way has been willing and open enough to listen to and provide us with what we said we needed and still are supporting our needs in an equitable way." 

Your contributions to the School Supply Drive are helping to fulfill one of those needs. In honoring our 100th year as an organization in Buncombe County, we're naming our commitment to placing equity and community wisdom at the center of our work. Partners like Umoja are invaluable in allowing and co-creating space with us to communicate honestly about our collective work and the ways we can come together equitably. "We're looking forward to being a partner with organizations like United Way who are changing the dynamics of how they see racial equity and building this new table as we're working through disparity and racism as a community."



Students in Umoja Health, Wellness, and Justice Collective are shown to the left just before entering their reading group in the Rights of Passage Learning Center, a space where they have the right to their original rights of passage.  "Some of the parents don't have the additional residual income for the children we serve. They're doing all they can to pay their mortgage, make their car payment, get clothes, and put food on the table. We're providing a needed culturally aligned space for them to see black leaders in their community, to learn how their brain reacts to trauma and stressors, and most importantly learn resiliency." 

Learn more about Umoja Health, Wellness, and Justice Collective.

Get Involved!

Support the School Supply Drive as one of 100 Acts of Service we're calling community into this year-- to co-create a united and resilient community where everyone belongs and everyone thrives. 

Learn more about how you can join us in honoring our 100th year in community.