Trident United Way Women United Recognizes Local Leaders at Awards Luncheon

Approximately 125 female philanthropic leaders in the Tri-County turned out for Trident United Way Women United's annual awards luncheon, presented by Burr Forman McNair, at the North Charleston Marriott. 

Teresa Vaughn speaking on stage wearing rapeling gear from Over the Edge"We know that the data shows that women are leading the charge in philanthropic efforts," TUW Women United Incoming Chair Teresa Vaughn said as she donned a harness and helmet while asking members to sign up for Over The Edge: Rappel United, Trident United Way's rappel event happening on May 18 to raise money for the Tri-County Reading by Third Project. 

In keeping with annual tradition, Women United bestowed awards to three local female leaders making a difference in the Tri-County community. 

AccessHealth Tri-County Network Program Director Renee Linyard-Gary was named the Nonprofit Leader of the Year for her work in coordinating a sustainable provider network of care for low-income uninsured residents in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties. Linyard-Gary is an active member of Healthy Tri-County, a  regional health initiative formed by Roper St. Francis Healthcare, MUSC Health and Trident United Way in 2017 and now boasting 67 organizational members from nonprofit, government and business sectors. She serves as the co-chair of the Access to Care subcommittee and is also a member of the Tri-County Diabetes Coalition and the Tri-County health data workgroup.

"It's amazing to realize how young Renee is when you think of how long we've partnered together," Trident United Way Vice President of Resource Development said. "She's been a TUW employee, nonprofit partner, Young Philanthropists Society chair, African American Leadership Council steering committee member, board member and advocate for Trident United Way. I am thankful to have worked with her in so many capacities for so long."

Award recipient Kelsey Palmer with family and friendsAssistant Customer Service Manager for the Daniel Island Publix Kelsey Palmer was named Women United's Changemaker of the Year for her dedication to her community through volunteerism with Trident United Way and other organizations. Palmer participates in Publix's monthly volunteer opportunities as well as volunteers in her own time with The Fisher House, Habitat for Humanity and vocational rehab programs. Palmer also serves as the employee campaign coordinator for Publix's annual Trident United Way campaign. 

"Change isn't something that can be done overnight or alone," Palmer said. "I'm thankful to Publix for living our mission to be involved citizens in our community." 

The final award of the afternoon was presented to The Post & Courier Publisher P.J. Browning, who received the Role Model of the Year accolade. Browning is a longtime supporter of Trident United Way, where she has held volunteer roles including campaign cabinet chair, Day of Caring chair, Strategic Planning Committee steering committee member and TUW board chair. She credits her family for giving her roots in service.

"It was never about ego or awarding ourselves," Browning said. "It was about doing the work in the community."

Trident United Way CEO Chloe Knight Tonney delivered the keynote address, where she eemphasized the power of coalitions.

"Four our community, what may be most important is the acknowledgement that our institutions are interdependent," Tonney said. 

Trident United Way Women United is an engaged network of philanthropic leaders committed to improving education, financial stability and health in our region through their giving, advocacy and volunteerism in our community. To learn more, visit  

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