United Way Legacy Awards honor Gwinnett women

Rebecca Munteanu

Rebecca Munteanu


Dr. Frances Davis


Dr. Jung Ha Kim


Ellen Gerstein

DULUTH -- United Way Women's Leadership Council in Gwinnett presents the 8th Annual Legacy Awards to honor Gwinnett women for their work in the community on Saturday at 10 a.m. in the Gwinnett Place Marriott.

The four women to be honored this year are Dr. Jung Ha Kim for her time, Ellen Gerstein for her talent, Rebecca Munteanu in treasure, and Dr. Frances Davis in legacy.

"It takes about 30 to 45 days to go through the nomination process," said Demetrius Jordan, Regional Director of the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta. "After a jury has passed the final recipients, the women are reviewed once again and then are chosen."

Time Award recipient Dr. Jung Ha Kim

Dr. Kim is a senior lecturer in Georgia State University's sociology department by career, but she has spent most of her time giving back to the Asian community since 1990 when she first began volunteering at the Center for Pan Asian Community Services.

She helped the Asian-American community by assisting immigrants and residents to work towards a better life. In 1999, Kim started the Jobs for Pay program when taught high school students the tools needed for working. She fought for six years to open Rainbow Heights in Snellville, an independent living community for Asian senior citizens.

By 2009, Kim raised funding for a women's shelter for domestic violence victims who didn't speak English well -- or at all.

Talent Award recipient Ellen Gerstein

Gerstein is the Executive Director for the Gwinnett Coalition where she works closely with the community.

She believes she was nominated for her television show "People Helping People" on TV Gwinnett.

"I tape shows about different issues that the community is facing," Gerstein said. "We cover things like education, basic needs and financial stability."

In reality, it's because she has been with the Gwinnett Coalition since 1999 helping hundreds of thousands in need.

She tackles hours of work on various board of directors, including Four Corners Health Clinic, The IMPACT!Group and Gwinnett United in Drug Education. Add the hours with the Coalition and "People Helping People," she has given others the education for success, but she isn't letting the award go to her head.

"It's a lot of hard work but I'm very humbled for the recognition," Gerstein said. "There are so many others that help me with everything that need the recognition, too."

Treasure Award recipient Rebecca Munteanu

When Munteanu started in the banking industry, she joined several different organizations to create a large network in the community.

"That turned into a passion for helping other people," Munteanu said. "I helped plan events and I was very successful at it. I've been doing it ever since."

She serves for a number of boards and committees in order to fund money for organizations who need it. Munteanu is currently involved with United Way, the Women's Legacy, the American Cancer Society, Boys and Girls Club, and Relay for Life.

She works as executive vice president and senior lending officer at Georgia Trust Bank for the last 30 years.

Anna Shackelford Legacy Award recipient Dr. Frances Davis

Davis is the Chief Human Resources Officer for Gwinnett County Public Schools and works hand-in-hand with educational organizations like the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education and Mercer University's Educational Leadership Program.

Over the years, she has also joined with Gwinnett Rotary Club, the United Ebony Society, New Mercies Christian Church and the American Cancer Society.

The Women's Leadership Council selected Davis for being diverse with her volunteering and activism throughout the county.

Besides celebrating these women, United Way is raising money for those in need by having a raffle and auction. Participants can look forward to bidding on a number of items, including a spa basket, tech savvy basket, diamond tennis bracelet, a landscaping package and much more.

There will be a fashion show with clothes provided from Macy's at Gwinnett Place Mall followed by lunch.

Last year, United Way Women's Leadership Council was able to distribute $39,000 of Legacy Award Grants to the Impact! Group, the Salvation Army, Norcross Cooperative Ministry, Center for Pan Asian Community Services, Gwinnett Community Clinic, and Lawrenceville Cooperative Ministry.

All those attending are encouraged to wear big hats at the event to "take your hat off for the 2011 honorees" and each will receive a "goodie" bag filled with treats from the sponsors. Tickets are $100 per person or $1,000 per table of ten. All proceeds benefit the United Way.