United Way of Southwest Alabama / Uncategorized  / United Way Celebrates Project Blueprint Class of 2023’s Graduation
Congratulations Project Blueprint Class of 2023.

United Way Celebrates Project Blueprint Class of 2023’s Graduation

The United Way of Southwest Alabama (UWSWA) proudly announces the graduation of the Project Blueprint (PBP) Class of 2023, held on Friday, July 14, 2023, at the Levon C. Manzie Neighborhood Resource Center. The event marked the culmination of an enriching program that equips community leaders with the necessary skills and knowledge to serve effectively on nonprofit boards

The graduation ceremony highlighted the achievements of the Class of 2023 and recognized their commitment to community service. Throughout the program, participants learned about a variety of topics essential to board service and leadership, including the purpose of a board and board development, board bylaws, reading budgets, agenda building, time management, the power of volunteerism and servant leadership, civic engagement, relationship building, conflict management, strategic planning and leadership, and government-appointed commissions. Commissioner Merceria Ludgood delivered the keynote address, inspiring the graduates with her insights and experiences. Alabama AARP provided lunch for the graduates and their guests.

This year, Mr. Ira Bates of The First Bank, served as the Project Blueprint Dean, guiding and mentoring the participants throughout their journey. The selection process for the 2023 Project Blueprint class was rigorous; involving interviews with applicants who responded to a call for candidates. The chosen class displayed exceptional talent, dedication, and commitment to creating inclusive and thriving communities.

Project Blueprint Class of 2023

  • Connie Abrams – Olin
  • Shardena Jones – Mobile County District Attorney’s Office
  • Tashia Purnell – UCP
  • Laury Rowland – Lifelines Counseling
  • Ashley Rumbley – The Arc of Clarke County
  • April Tims – VOA Southeast
  • Katherine Wrona – Communities of Transformation

The roots of Project Blueprint trace back to 1988 when United Way of America initiated the program to foster inclusivity and promote community leadership across the country. Mobile’s Project Blueprint program, founded by Walter Bell, retired, and Sydney Raine, President of Southwest Alabama Partners for Training and Employment (SWAPTE), was among the original twenty-three demonstration projects selected from nearly 100 applicants nationwide. Today, Bell and Raine continue to inspire others through their vision and leadership.

Project Blueprint graduates play a vital role in UWSWA, contributing at all levels of the organization, including the Board of Trustees, Agency Relations Committee, Campaign Cabinet, and special projects like UWSWA’s Annual Day of Caring. Their involvement benefits local businesses, nonprofit agencies, and a majority of UWSWA partner agencies, creating a positive and lasting impact.

As part of their training, the graduates completed a tour of the host site and participated in a service project at each agency, collectively dedicating approximately 50 volunteer hours. This remarkable effort contributed to an economic impact of $1,419.00, highlighting the value of their contributions to the community.

The Project Blueprint Class of 2023 represents the commitment of individuals from Mobile, Clarke, and Washington counties to make a difference and effect positive change. The United Way of Southwest Alabama congratulates the graduates and looks forward to their continued contributions to building strong and inclusive communities.

UWSWA extends its deepest gratitude to all project contributors.

  • Chandra Brown of Lifelines Counseling Services,
  • Commissioner Connie Hudson of Mobile County,
  • Commissioner Merceria Ludgood of Mobile County,
  • Raoul Richardson of Genesis Global Group, LLC,
  • Ira Bates of The First Bank,
  • Jill Chenoweth of United Way of Southwest Alabama
  • Kerry Cohen of Victory Health Partners
  • Kim Garrett of Victory Health Partners
  • Leavie D. King of Coached Up 2 Success
  • Michi Lunceford of United Way of Southwest Alabama
  • Miriam Fry of Poarch Band of Creek Indians
  • Pam Burson of Home of Grace
  • Trista Stout-Walker of United Way of Southwest Alabama
  • Valarie McKinley of Home of Grace