GWSI WS Alliance merger cover photo

Greater Winston-Salem, Inc. (GWSI) and the Winston-Salem Alliance are pleased to announce a combination that aligns with the strategic priorities of both organizations and further streamlines economic and workforce efforts in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. 

The Board of Directors of the Winston-Salem Alliance has voted to approve a merger with Greater Winston-Salem, Inc., which will assume the projects and responsibilities carried out by the Alliance going forward. The Winston-Salem Alliance was formed in 2000 with the goal of enhancing private sector involvement and collaboration in the city’s economic growth and redevelopment. It has been key in many of the most significant projects in Winston-Salem, including the redevelopments of the Innovation Quarter and Whitaker Park. 

As a part of this transition, Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines will retire as President of the Alliance after serving in that role for 23 years. The move will allow him to devote full time to his work as Mayor of the City of Winston-Salem.

“I am incredibly proud of the accomplishments achieved over the years by the Winston-Salem Alliance, which have enriched our community beyond measure. I am grateful to all our partners and stakeholders, past and present, that have worked tirelessly to energize the economy and create upward mobility for our residents,” says Mayor Allen Joines. “I am fully confident that these efforts will continue to grow under the stewardship of Greater Winston-Salem, Inc.” 

On an ongoing basis, Greater Winston-Salem, Inc. will hold events for key stakeholders of the Alliance, along with both past and present members, to give input and engagement regarding GWSI’s business and development initiatives. 

“I am honored to continue to grow the work of the Alliance, an organization with such a rich legacy and momentous impact in Winston-Salem,” says Mark Owens, President and CEO of Greater Winston-Salem, Inc. “The missions of both of our organizations align closely, and I believe this combination can magnify that impact going forward.” 

Cathy J. Pace, chair of the GWSI Board of Directors says “I am excited about the potential that the union of these organizations will create. For over two decades, the Alliance has laid the groundwork for future innovation in Winston-Salem, generating enormous economic potential. Because of those efforts, Greater Winston-Salem, Inc. can now take the reigns and realize this potential.” 

The Winston-Salem Alliance was created in 2000 after a comprehensive review of the local economy by a group of private sector leaders, which concluded that private sector involvement was critical to diversifying and improving the local economy. This partnership between the private and public sector has resulted in transformative achievements for Winston-Salem over the years. 

Notable Workforce Achievements: 

  • The Alliance led the effort to create a free college program for 2,500 disadvantaged students over a six-year period. 
  • It created a paid high school internship program for up to 1,000 11th and 12th grade students from disadvantaged families.
  • Developed a plan in conjunction with the school system to have 90% of third grade students reading at grade level by 2025.

Notable Economic Achievements:

  • Created the Millennium Fund which raised $45 million and invested over $50 million in targeted projects and programs.
  • Facilitated the creation of several entrepreneurial programs such as Winston Starts, the Venture Winston Grants Program, Flywheel, a Minority Business Accelerator and the Technology Talent Recruitment Fund. 
  • Facilitated the redevelopment of the Nissen Building, the first major downtown residential project which was the catalyst for the resurgence in downtown residential. 
  • Assembled the land (64 different parcels) for the baseball stadium and turned it over to the city at no cost. Assisted in providing financial assistance when the stadium project encountered financial issues.
  • Assembled land for the Temple School Road Industrial Park which resulted in Dell, Caterpillar, Herbalife and other projects.
  • Working collaboratively with the GWSI, and others, successfully lobbied to get funding the Northern Beltway restored. Today, all segments of the Eastern portion of the beltway are complete or under construction for completion in 2025.
  • Lobbied the State DOT to include WS on a line for passenger rail. Now that the Union Station Project is complete and the fact that there are billions of dollars available, this issue is being pursued aggressively.