Women of Achievement
for a woman who solved a glaring problem despite
widespread inertia, apathy or ignorance around her:
Regina D. Walker
Regina D. Walker has served for the past 20 years as Senior Vice President of Community Initiative with the United Way of Memphis. Her dedication and determination have provided the resources to build stronger and healthier not-for-profit agencies and communities. Securing funds and services involves some of the least glamorous aspects of community service, yet Regina has dedicated her life to making sure that communities get both the fiscal and strategic support they need to thrive.
Though non-profit community organizations are more in need than ever, they start out with every disadvantage. The federal and state support for vital community organizations has been cut dramatically over the course of Regina’s career. Regina, however, has been determined not to let disadvantaged citizens remain on the chopping block. Her work has sustained countless community programs in the Mid-South. In 1999 alone, her Community Initiative Department generated over $6 million in grants and in-kind services.
Regina graduated from Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia, with a B.S. in psychology, but she began her career in the not-for-profit sector as a VISTA volunteer with a home health agency in Portsmouth, Virginia. She worked for the United Way of South Hampton Roads in Norfolk for five years, and at the Portsmouth Area United Way for one year. She came to Memphis in 1984 to work for United Way and began volunteering for countless non-profit boards. By 1987, she was a graduate of Leadership Memphis.
Throughout her career, she’s emphasized the need to provide training tools and technical assistance that help non-profits achieve sustainable growth. Her passion is for community building. She set up a venture program that set aside funds for which community groups that weren’t members of the United Way could apply. And even more importantly, these groups could apply for training.
She is master of identifying resources that are already available thereby keeping new organizations from having to create themselves from scratch. Her work connected United Way agencies with a new tier of grassroots organizations and thereby revitalized the entire community. Working in the background, she keeps connected to ideas and resources that are bubbling up through the system and elsewhere.
Her work reaches far beyond the United Way. She has taken time to insure that more Memphians take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit. She worked with organizations, businesses and faith-based communities to provide equipment, training, site centers and volunteers to help the disadvantaged complete their tax returns.
In her own neighborhood organization, The Vollintine-Evergreen Community Association, she is respected as a mediator who helps get potentially divisive issues out, discussed and resolved.
Regina has also been a strong advocate for better education for children and better training for teachers. She is on the National Board of Parents for Public Schools. She’s served on planning teams for the Memphis City Schools. And in her typical hands on way, she’s served with her daughter as a volunteer reader with the “Reading Bridge” program at the MLK Head Start Center.
Regina Walker’s drive and determination keeps her seeking out new resources for our community. Her work will contribute to the ongoing health and vitality of the Mid-South for years to come.