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United Way’s ‘Women Who Rule’ event honors community leader Carol Bell
The annual event raises funds for individuals and families in need of transportation assistance.
carol bell
UWCE's 2024 Woman of the Year Carol Bell.

The United Way of the Coastal Empire hosted its annual “Women Who Rule” luncheon and campaign event on Tuesday at the Savannah Convention Center, where local community leader and United Way supporter Carol Bell was named “Woman of the Year” by the non-profit organization. 

“I serve the community because that’s who I am,” Bell said. 

Bell’s legacy of service goes back a long way. She was the first African-American board chair at United Way of the Coastal Empire in 1998, and broke barriers in 1976 as the first Black woman to serve as manager for the City of Savannah. She retired in 2011 as a Central Services Director, and became a City Councilwoman in 2012 and again in 2024. 

Her community involvement includes leadership roles in organizations like the Governor’s Children and Youth Coordinating Council, the United Negro College Fund’s telethon, as well as groups such as Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and the Links, Savannah Chapter. 

“I am just passionate about serving others because I believe we grow in the process [of helping],” Bell said.

“As long as we are making our space a little bit better than we found it, then I believe our lives are well-lived.” 

During the event, Bell, a self-described “preacher’s kid”, credited her late parents–Bell’s mother was a minister and her father was a preacher–with instilling in her a love of serving others. 

“They taught us to be the best we could be,” Bell said of her parents. 

Bell also thanked her many friends and past and present colleagues with the City of Savannah, whom she said gave her a “strong desire” to improve the quality of life for the underserved. 

“This is my home. I’m grateful for my entire village here in Savannah,” Bell concluded. 

About UWCE’s ‘Women Who Rule’

United Way’s "Women Who Rule” annual event was hosted in March this year–which is also Women’s History Month–and the event helps raise funds for the ‘Women United’ Transportation Fund, which supports individuals in the Coastal Empire region who need transportation assistance.

“Reliable transportation is key to helping our neighbors not only survive but thrive,” said Diana Morrison, United Way's 'Women Who Rule' Campaign Chair. “I am grateful for the more than 30 women who volunteered their time and talents this year on the 2024 Women Who Rule Committee and all of those who supported the cause to make this year’s event a success. Thanks to their commitment, more women and caregivers throughout Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty counties will receive transportation assistance in the form of gas cards, bus passes, and minor car repairs.” 

Emceed by WSAV’s Tina Tyus-Shaw, the 2-hour event raised a total of $27,511.31 for the ‘Women United’ Transportation Fund alone.  

The luncheon also featured a round-table talk with panelists Faye DiMassimo, Executive Director/CEO of Chatham Area Transit, Ann Purcell of the State Transportation Board of Georgia, and Ariane Wallace, United Way’s 211 Information and Referral Service Director.

Prize gifts were given out to those who donated $100 or more during the event in a raffle. 

To learn more about the United Way’s ‘Women United’ Transportation Fund or to donate, visit

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