United Way leader Jane McIntyre gets NC’s highest honor

Jane McIntyre won’t retire from her post as executive director of United Way of Central Carolinas until at least February, but she already has one honor in hand.

On Thursday, McIntyre was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest honor for extraordinary service to the state, at a surprise presentation at the end of a United Way board meeting.

McIntyre said she was overwhelmed.

“I had no idea this was coming,” she said. “When you hear the people who are part of the Order, it’s incredibly humbling.”

Previous winners have included the Rev. Billy Graham, Maya Angelou, Charles Kuralt, Coretta Scott King, Michael Jordan and Dale Earnhardt.

Gov. Pat McCrory called to congratulate McIntyre during the presentation. McIntyre’s husband, D.G., and their three daughters and their grandchildren were all on hand for the surprise.

McCrory noted McIntyre’s long history of public service in Charlotte. In addition to her work with United Way, McIntyre worked for the Carolinas HealthCare Foundation in the 1990s, served on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools board of education for more than eight years, and is credited with saving the YWCA from bankruptcy as its executive director.

McIntyre was hired to reinvent the United Way of Central Carolinas in 2008 after a scandal involving pay and benefits given to its previous CEO, Gloria Pace King.

McIntyre plans to retire after the current fundraising campaign ends in February.

“You basically saved United Way, and you know how much that organization means to me,” McCrory told McIntyre in his congratulatory call.