ECHO Award Winners - 2018


Shereen Abdelfattah:
Shereen is a social entrepreneur, and according to her nominator, “one of our community’s unsung leaders.” She founded a nonprofit catering company to provide jobs for Syrian refugee women, helping them feel more included in their new community. Shereen also leads an Interfaith Winston-Salem team made up of Jews, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, and others, and she was instrumental in organizing Women of Worship, which brings together women of multiple faiths to break barriers and build friendships. Shereen, who emigrated from Egypt in 2002, actively seeks to create environments where food can be a bridge-builder, where diversity is welcomed, and where everyone feels valued for the differences they bring to our community.

Hospice & Palliative CareCenter Veterans Outreach: Hospice’s We Honor Veterans program has not only enhanced their direct care of veterans, but the outreach component brings together a community of veterans who have come to treasure one another. Their Veterans Coffees create space for veterans to meet, share stories, and learn about helpful community resources. As guests form friendships, lines of communication are opened—sometimes for the first time—as veterans share their personal experiences with each other. These gatherings attract hundreds of veterans, spanning lines of age, race, gender, and socioeconomic status, including those who served in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is a solid feeling of camaraderie among all who attend.

Rebecca Williams and Amatullah Saleem: Rebecca and Amatullah are the founders of Happy Hill Arts, a collaboration between the Happy Hill Neighborhood Association and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. The program engages neighborhood children in diverse arts experiences including dance, drumming, and photography, instilling a sense of community pride while also supporting their academic success. The program encourages relationship-building among the neighborhood children and their parents, and it has also built connections among Happy Hill residents and UNCSA faculty, students, and alumni, helping to cross the invisible boundary that has separated the neighborhood from the University since it opened in 1965.

Venture Café: With a mission of “connecting innovators to make things happen,” Venture Café hosts weekly Thursday Gatherings at Bailey Power Plant which can draw crowds exceeding 150 students, CEOs, artists, inventors, scientists, and entrepreneurs. The Gatherings are among the most diverse in the Triad and serve as a platform to create connections that will build a more resilient and inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship community. By connecting innovators and entrepreneurs to each other and to valuable resources, Venture Café seeks to make our community a more resilient place where all business ventures can thrive.


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