Rising Leaders

Rising Leaders is an eight-month long program designed to develop the next generation of community leaders and board members for Henderson County nonprofit organizations.

United Way of Henderson County created the Rising Leaders program to educate individuals and give them the tools and connections to become key volunteers with our community partners and other nonprofits in Henderson County.

Applications for the 2024-2025 Rising Leaders cohort will be available here in May 2024.


Participants in Rising Leaders attend monthly sessions from August through March on topics such as board member roles and responsibilities, fundraising, and nonprofit life cycles.

Session Schedule & Topics

  • August 18: Orientation & Non-Profit Bus Tour, 9am-1pm
  • DATE CHANGE: September 26: Non-Profit Life Cycle & Board Basics, 11am-1pm
  • October 25: The Power of Your Passion, 11am-1pm
  • November 3 or 4 (attendee chooses): Hidden Histories in Henderson County, 9am-12pm
  • December 12 (optional): Holiday Drop-in, 4:30pm-6pm
  • January 11: Finance and Legal Leadership, 11am-2pm
  • February 8: Fundraising 101 and Presentation, 11am-3pm
  • March 5: Graduation & Non-Profit Speed Dating, 5:30pm-7:45pm




Graduates are already making a strong impact in our community. Many of them have been recruited to serve on committees, boards of directors, and in other key roles of local non-profit organizations. 

Congratulations to last year’s Rising Leaders graduates!

Jim Boyd, Allen Tate/Beverly-Hanks Realtors® 
Angela Buchanan, AdventHealth Hendersonville 
Juls Buckman, Hendersonville Headshots 
Alec Burkle, Eaton Corp 
Richie Burlett, Burlett Painting 
Sara Cole, Safelight 
Syreeta Ellison, AdventHealth Hendersonville 
Debi Gould, Dampp-Chaser Corp
Kendal Heck, Smart Start Partnership for Children 
Lauren Keplinger, Self Employed 
Hope Kim, Community Volunteer 
Mary Ellen Kustin, United Way of Henderson County 
Cheyenne Mathews, ALLCHOICE Insurance
Alicia McClain Hawkins, Camp Tekoa Inc. 
Erin Outlaw, WNCSource 
Ashley Sandahl, Excuse Us While We Succeed 
Jessica Sherek, Kimberly-Clark 
Amy Siegler, LimbTech 
Justin Staebell, World Vision International 
Olivia Stuller, Hope Coalition 
Victoria Todd, Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development


For more information on the Rising Leaders Program,  please email Mary Ellen Kustin.

Rising Leaders Sponsors:

Thanks to the generous sponsorship by AdventHealth, WNC Bridge Foundation, and Carolina Village, the Rising Leaders Program is free of charge for all participants.




wnc bridge logo    carolina village logo


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