50 Stories for 50 Years: Frances Poe
“United Ministries is a long novel with different chapters along the way.”
Those are the words of Frances Poe, the current chair of United Ministries’ Board of Directors. Frances was connected to our organization at a young age, without even realizing it. As a Greenville native, she took part in the Walk for the Homeless (now known as the Transformation Walk & 5k Run), where she was taught the extent of Greenville’s homelessness. Frances never set out to work specifically with nonprofits and other helping institutions, instead, she simply “fell into it.” After graduating from college, Frances worked as an art teacher for a year, during which she truly “fell in love with helping” others. Her career then took her to Christ Church where she became the Director of Young Adults, during which time she was asked to come on to the UM board. Here, she saw how UM connects people to the most needed resources in the community.
Since beginning her time on the board nine years ago, Frances has “learned that Greenville is a place where organizations want to work together for the benefit of the community.” Those nine years have taught her quite a lot – both about working internally with the board and externally with partner agencies. She stresses the significance of being able to be in professional relationships with others in order to serve our participants best. Being on the board has further taught her the importance of problem solving and learning how to create priorities for a non-profit. Because of the work of the board, staff, and volunteers, UM is now in a place to help as many individuals as possible while still working towards its overall vision.
As UM’s board chair, Frances is always challenged in her thinking and has her hand in many pots. Always a fan of looking at the big picture items, her favorite part of her time as chair has been working with the UM staff to create and track goals for the board. Throughout the years, she has learned that UM goes deeper than simply helping groups who need support in Greenville. Frances explains that, “United Ministries has helped to change the way we think about poverty and getting ahead in life. Talking about issues actually means talking about individuals.” The work that our organization does “puts a face” to the systematic barriers that many are facing and shows how every person’s situation is different. Frances has jumpstarted many changes while on the board, which has clearly shown one of the mottos that she lives by: “we don’t live in a world of black and white; we live in a world of gray, so it is our social responsibility to care about others.”