Greensboro, NC (March 26, 2020) – The United Way of Greater Greensboro Board of Directors unanimously voted and authorized a contribution of $500,000 to the Greensboro Virus Relief Fund. The contribution is being made from United Way’s emergency reserve fund to support those impacted by the Coronavirus and the organization is urging the community to match its efforts.

United Way and City of Greensboro created the Greensboro Virus Relief Fund last week. To-date, the community has donated over $83,000 to the fund, bringing its current total to over $583,000. To make a donation, visit, or text the word “Virus” to 40403.

In addition to the Greensboro Virus Relief Fund, The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro activated its Emergency Response Fund last week and has raised $150,000 to support local needs and is coordinating with the United Way and City of Greensboro’s Virus Relief Taskforce on response efforts.

“This is one of the most difficult times our community has ever faced. The children and families United Way serves through its mission of ending poverty were already facing tremendous challenges, and now they are dealing with the significant and rippling effects of the Coronavirus disaster. The community needs us to step up and I’m proud to say United Way is contributing $500,000 to the local Virus Relief Fund,” said Kim Gatling, Chair, United Way Board of Directors.

As a board member and chair of United Way’s annual campaign, local business owner Bill Morrisette is asking the local business community to support the virus relief fund. “For years, Morrisette has supported United Way because it brings our community together, especially during times of crisis. Now, more than ever, we need our business community to come together to support the thousands of local people impacted by the virus. As a business owner, I understand what many local businesses and their employees are facing and I know we will get through this by helping one another,” said Morrisette.

“We are One Greensboro from caring children giving their pennies to generous families donating in times of uncertainty, as well as, corporations able to donate thousands of dollars. Greensboro community has a strong history of supporting one another. We are asking everyone in our community to consider making a donation to help the thousands of people in our community impacted by the Coronavirus,” said Michelle Gethers-Clark, President and CEO, United Way of Greater Greensboro.

Virus Relief Taskforce

Leaders from United Way of Greater Greensboro and the City of Greensboro have formed a Virus Relief Taskforce to begin reviewing and approving funding applications from local nonprofits that are providing services to children, families, seniors, homeless and small businesses impacted by the Coronavirus.

The Taskforce is being co-chaired by Larry Davis, Assistant City Manager and Frank McCain, Vice President, Community Impact and Investment, United Way. The taskforce is also comprised of leaders from Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, Guilford County and community leaders representing six priority areas.

Priority areas represent:

Food insecurities, such as homebound seniors and families with children

Education interruptions, such as children in early Head-Start through postsecondary

Employment reductions, such as reduced hours, layoffs and furlough

Housing vulnerabilities, such as rental assistance and shelters for homeless

Medical access, such as transportation or those in need of homebound supports

Business disruption, such as resources for the small business community.

Virus Relief Funding Application Process

Applications and instructions for Virus Relief funding are available at and can be submitted via email to All applicants will receive an automatic confirmation of submission after completing the application. The Virus Relief Taskforce will review and make approvals weekly starting April 2, 2020. Applications received prior to 1 p.m on Mondays will be reviewed that week. Applications received after 1 p.m, on Mondays will be reviewed the following week.

The Virus Relief Taskforce has developed a process that ensures ease and accountability while making funds quickly available to stabilize community members impacted by the virus. The Taskforce will meet virtually on a weekly basis to review and discuss applications and approve grants.

Organizations that are selected to receive funding will be required to report use of funds. A reporting template and technical assistance will be provided with the award.

What Organizations May Apply

The applying agency must be a local 501 (c)(3) organization providing services aligned with the priority areas to individuals directly impacted by the Coronavirus.


Tonight would have been opening night for the 22nd RiverRun International Film Festival presented by PNC and we looked forward to sharing some great films over the next 11 days. Just a few weeks ago, none of us could have envisioned our festival and many things we take for granted on a daily basis would be derailed by a virus named COVID-19.

Although it’s not possible for us to be together in person, the RiverRun team, along with some of our past special guests and guests planning to come this year, will be sharing some films and books over the next few days you might want to check out while staying close to home!

Ode to Joy

This Changes Everything


Today, we thought we’d look back at opening night one year ago in case you missed either of our films.

Our opening night narrative in 2019 was Ode to Joy starring Martin Freeman as a guy suffering from cataplexy, a serious disease that causes acute narcolepsy in particular emotional situations – in his case, whenever he experiences joy. His techniques to manage the illness are put to the ultimate test when he falls in love! This audience favorite is available for rent at YouTube, Amazon Prime, and Google Play.

The opening night documentary in 2019 was This Changes Everything, a film exploring systemic sexism in Hollywood through the voices of many marquee celebrities including Geena Davis, Meryl Streep, Sandra Oh, Jessica Chastain, and many others. This Changes Everything is available for rent on Vudu, Amazon Prime, and other platforms including Hulu.

I Know Where I'm Going


Filmmaker Angus MacLachlan serves on the RiverRun Advisory Board and has hosted programs and participated on panels at several of our festivals. His filmography includes Junebug, celebrating its 15th anniversary, Stone, Goodbye to All That, and Abundant Acreage Available, the 2017 Best Screenplay for a U.S. Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival.

When asked to recommend a couple of films, Angus replied, “Two films that come to mind are a 1945 film called I Know Where I’m Going starring Wendy Hiller and directed by the team of Powell and Pressburger. It’s a fairytale about a headstrong woman who is going to get married on a small island off the coast of Scotland who gets stuck by weather and meets another man. It has fantastic black-and-white cinematography and is enchanting and unique.

The second one that comes to mind is Happy as Lazzaro, a 2018 Italian film directed by Alice Rohrwacher. Acted by professionals and non-professionals, it takes place in a strange, isolated village in Italy and the main character may or may not be a saint. It is mysterious, odd, and beautiful.” I Know Where I’m Going is available to rent on Amazon Prime and Happy as Lazzaro is available on Netflix.


Jane Alexander joined us in 2017 to receive our Master of Cinema Award. She has appeared in 60 films for film and television and has been nominated for the Academy Award four times.

Ms. Alexander has won two Emmy Awards for her television work and the Tony Award for her work on Broadway. In addition to her esteemed acting career, she served as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts from 1993 to 1997, is a former trustee of the Wildlife Conservation Society, and a board member at the Audubon Society.

She is also an accomplished author and two of her books you might want to check out are Command Performance: An Actress in the Theater of Politics and Wild Things, Wild Places: Adventurous Tales of Wildlife and Conservation on Planet Earth, which also features her photography.

To get these titles at Bookmarks, click here for Command Performance and here for Wild Things, Wild Places. Bookmarks can send books with a $25 purchase and pick-up is available Thursday and Friday from 12 - 4 p.m. outside the store at 634 W. Fourth Street in Winston-Salem. Details regarding pickups after Friday will be shared in upcoming newsletters.


RiverRun exists through the generosity of our donors and sponsors. Today, we recognize our 2020 Title Sponsors, Reynolds American, Wake Forest University, the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

We also pay tribute to PNC, presenter of our opening night films and sponsor of the RiverRun Gala. We are very grateful for the long-time support of these RiverRun sponsors.

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