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United Way opening up its new home
Reception for public on Tuesday night
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Forsyth County News

If you’re going

* What: United Way open house and ribbon cutting

* When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

* Where: 240 Elm St. (parking will be next door at Georgia Highlands Medical Center)

* For more information about United Way of Forsyth County, visit

United Way of Forsyth County will welcome the community into its new home during a ribbon cutting and reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Ruth Goode, executive director, said the office space at 240 Elm St. provides the most room the organization has had in its 24-year history.

“There really is no comparison,” she said. “It’s hard to compare because for the last 20-something years we were moving from office park to office park. “We had no storage.”

Goode went on to note that it was challenging to have a volunteer assist with office work because “we just didn’t have a place for an extra person to sit.”

Those things haven’t been issues at all since the four staff members moved into the new facility in late January.

“It’s just been wonderful,” Goode said. “We can just serve the community so much better with programs and offerings here.”

The facility, which with an unfinished basement space totals nearly 8,000 square feet, was purchased at the beginning of the year with funds United Way received in 2006 and 2007 from the estate of the late Arlene Harrison.

“We’re really proud of how we acquired this building,” Goode said. “It was through a very generous bequeath. We will certainly be celebrating [Harrison’s] generosity and kindness.”

Goode said funding from the gift, which was earmarked for a new office, sat untouched in an interest-earning account for several years.

“We had plans when we first received the money, but there was no way we could afford anything at that time,” she said. “We were lucky to have some very responsible boards along the way that said, ‘Maybe we need to wait for a better time.’ And lo and behold, a couple of years ago … [real estate] prices went down a little bit.”

The facility has gotten good use, particularly its 1,300-square-foot conference room.

“We’ve had probably 20 meetings from our partner agencies alone,” Goode said. “And [the room] allows us to have seminars here, our board meetings and committee meetings.”

Besides the ribbon cutting ceremony and tours, Tuesday’s event will feature a brief presentation focusing on the history of the organization, which was incorporated in 1989.

Goode said Mary Helen McGruder, who served as the local United Way’s first chairwoman, will speak, and there will be a slideshow.

“Really during the open house, we’re talking about the building, but we’re celebrating the many years of people who have made it possible and thanking those who have kept this organization going all these years for the good of the community,” Goode said.