Community Conversations

Community Conversations




We would like to thank everyone who made our first round of Community Conversations a success. From the citizen-formed committee that designed and administered these experiences to the community members that attended and gave valuable feedback, we acknowledge and appreciate your participation. Most important, United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County will use this feedback to guide our future work, making sure that all voices are heard in addressing the issues that affect students and families in our communities. We will be sharing a summary of input from these and future conversations in the near future.

See What Participants and Volunteers Thought



“Building relationships and partnerships with those most impacted by our work are key components to our success. We’ve been in this community for 100 years, providing support with our work, and now we are being more intentional about centering community voices. When I was tasked with building United Way’s Community Engagement Department, I knew that if we were to truly have a positive impact on our community, we needed to co-create innovative solutions and create space for our community to participate. That’s what these Community Conversations are all about, stepping aside and providing a space for residents to be part of the solution.”

-- Aisha Shepherd

“I chose to serve on the Community Conversations committee because I want to use my experience, connections, and skills to engage in and support needed dialogue to meet the Bold Community Goal and uplift the people and organizations that may already be working towards similar goals. Communication within community is necessary for fostering change in our lives, region, and collective future where we can all thrive." 

-- Iliana Hernandez

More Conversations Coming Soon...

Future Community Conversations will be conducted throughout Buncombe County. Please visit this page often as new opportunities to give your feedback become available. Remember, it matters to each member of our community, to every youth, and their family that students in our community graduate from high school ready to achieve their goals and dreams. Your voice matters in making that a reality.

Yes, I would like to be placed on the waitlist to attend future Community Conversations:

Your Name
Please also add me to UWABC's newsletter list

While no one can predict the future challenges our communities will face, we do know that to confront them effectively our neighbors who are the most impacted by poverty and injustice must be active participants in co-creating solutions that enable us to reach our shared Bold Community Goal.

Formally adopted by a growing group of local organizations and institutions, the Bold Community Goal serves as both a rallying cry for our community and a measure of our collective commitment to local youth:


By 2035, all Asheville City and Buncombe County students
graduate from high school ready and fully prepared to pursue their goals and dreams.

The Planning Team


The Community Conversations Committee includes a community-minded and diverse group of influencers, advocates, and residents who will help develop and lead a series of in-person and virtual conversations with the community this year.

Please join us in thanking them for helping plan these listening forums that will engage our community across Buncombe County identifying the relationships, resources, and repairs that are needed to achieve the Bold Community Goal.

Committee Members Include:

Matthew Bacoate, Khabonina Beresford, Cara Forbes, Niconda Garcia, Jennifer Griffin, Michael Hayes, Iliana Hernandez, Nicole Lee, Mitch Lubitz, LaVie Montgomery, Damion Smith, Bruce Waller, CiCi Weston, Torre White

Staff support: Kyle Garrett, Joseph Jamison, Tracey Johnston-Crum, Rs’i Peterson, Aisha Shepherd