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.



The 2022/23 Rising Leaders Program is currently underway. Participants in Rising Leaders attend monthly sessions from September through March on topics such as board member roles and responsibilities, fundraising, nonprofit life cycles, and race, equity and inclusion in nonprofits. 

The program culminates in a graduation and “speed-dating” style event where graduates meet and talk with representatives from approximately 20 local nonprofits. Past participants are currently serving as board members and key volunteers at many Henderson County nonprofits.

This year’s Rising Leaders program will meet in-person. Each session will be conducted in accordance with current health and safety protocols in place.

2022/23 Rising Leader Session Schedule & Topics: 

Session topics are subject to change. Sessions are held from 11am-1pm unless otherwise noted. Meeting locations will vary throughout the program. 

• September 14: Orientation & Non-Profit Bus Tour, 9-1pm.
• October 12: Non-Profit Life Cycle & Board Basics.
• November 4: Race, Equity, and Inclusion in Nonprofits.
• December 14: Fundraising 101 & Non-Profit Marketing.
• January 11: Financial and Legal Responsibilities, 10:30am-1:30pm.
• February 8: The Power of Your Passion.
• March 7: Graduation & Non-Profit Speed Dating.
Requirements to successfully complete the Rising Leaders Program are:
•    Must attend at least 5 out of 6 Informational Sessions and Graduation.
•    Attend a board of directors meeting at a Henderson County nonprofit organization and complete a related homework assignment.
•    Complete a group service project. 


For more information on the Rising Leaders Program, please email Sarah Kowalak at skowalak@liveunitedhc.org



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!

Tamara Bernazky-Alm, Charles George VA Medical Center
Jesse Boeckermann, Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte
David Boeke, Van Winkle Law Firm
Cassady Dillin, Henderson County Public Schools
Rosie Dugan, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
Carmen Gentry, HealthPro Heritage Healthcare
Corinne Gerwe, Mountain Page Theater
Tracey Gruver, Thrive
Nubia Guido, United Federal Credit Union
Rene Hernandez, True Ridge
Samantha Jamison, Smart Start Partnership for Children
Carole Kitchen, Pardee UNC Healthcare
Tanya Ledford, Expert Academic Coaching
Eris Lowdermilk, Blue Ridge Service Corps
Allen McCullough, Blue Ridge Community College
Taylor Roberts, WNC Bridge Foundation
Ruth Rodriguez, True Ridge

Rising Leaders Sponsors:

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

wnc bridge logo    carolina village logo


Rising Leaders

Rising Leaders

Rising Leaders

Rising Leaders