VF Corp. and United Guaranty Corp. pledge $3 million for Say Yes in Guilford Co.

Citing the long-term benefits to education and, ultimately, the local workforce, two of Guilford County’s leading corporate citizens – VF Corporation and United Guaranty Corporation – today announced they are pledging $3 million total to Say Yes to Education for our community.

VF pledged $2 million, and United Guaranty pledged $1 million, bringing the total of announced commitments so far to $8 million of an initial $28-million Say Yes fundraising effort. Last month the Phillips Foundation announced a $5-million pledge. All pledges are contingent on Say Yes to Education officially selecting Guilford County as the nation’s next Say Yes community. In January, Say Yes notified Guilford that it is the leading candidate for this designation.

To be officially selected as the next Say Yes community, Guilford County must achieve several remaining goals – one being fundraising. Say Yes is aiming to make a decision by this fall.

“At VF, we believe the best way to give back to our local communities is to invest in their future,” said Eric Wiseman, Chairman, President and CEO of VF Corporation. “Our financial pledge to Say Yes is an investment in the youth of Guilford County, and in turn, the future prosperity of our entire community. We’re proud to partner with Guilford County Schools, the Guilford Education Alliance and other supporters of the Say Yes initiative to ensure that our local students have opportunities for a successful and productive future.”

“United Guaranty was founded in Greensboro 52 years ago, and the quality of our employees here has always been a key element in our company’s success,” said President and CEO Donna DeMaio. “Providing opportunities for more students to go to college is something that benefits employers like United Guaranty, as well as individuals, families, and the region as a whole. We look forward to joining with area educators and businesses to ensure a better future for the Piedmont Triad by helping more students reach their goals.”

In early 2014, Guilford County Schools and the Guilford Education Alliance – with the support and assistance of The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro and the High Point Community Foundation – launched an exploration of a potential partnership with Say Yes to Education.

Founded in 1987, Say Yes is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that organizes and galvanizes communities around the goal of every student in the public school system graduating high school, and then helps those students access, afford and complete a college or other post-secondary education. A key component of a Say Yes partnership focuses on how a community addresses the social, emotional and financial barriers that prevent students from achieving this goal.

One of the goals of The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro’s current strategic plan is to help lead efforts that result in growing and developing Guilford’s workforce. Walker Sanders, president of the Foundation, said VF and United Guaranty’s pledges to Say Yes demonstrate that our corporate community strongly acknowledges the importance of education in achieving this goal.

“VF and United Guaranty’s support of and belief in Say Yes sends several important messages,” Sanders said. “First, these companies clearly value education and what it imparts not only for people individually but also for businesses seeking the best employee pool possible. Second, they are dedicated to finding these quality employees locally. And finally, they believe that corporate leadership plays a relevant, critical role in ensuring our youth have the best opportunities possible for finding themselves in ideal hiring positions and, we hope, right here in Guilford. We are very grateful for VF and United Guaranty’s commitment to Say Yes and its promise.”

Others agreed.

“Lead investments like these from two of our top corporate partners send a clear message about the very high expectations our community holds for our students,” said Maurice “Mo” Green, superintendent of Guilford County Schools. “I am confident our students will rise to meet those expectations. I am also deeply grateful to VF and United Guaranty for their partnership and for their support of our students’ educational opportunities.”

People can follow Guilford’s Say Yes efforts on Facebook at facebook.com/Guilford-says-yes.