Gregory L. Lyles
As Area Development Director of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Lyles is responsible for fundraising strategy and execution for the Philadelphia Area which includes the states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and Southern New Jersey.
Before coming to UNCF, Lyles was executive director of Haddington Multi Services For Older Adults, in West Philadelphia. He was responsible for the leadership, strategic direction, business development and operations of the organization. Lyles also served as development director for the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania (UWSEPA), was executive director of the West Philadelphia YMCA and served in numerous positions with the Cradle of Liberty Council, Boy Scouts of America.
Defining moments: My faith, the school that I matriculated and key figures that played an important role in my life as I was growing up, my parents, scout leaders, educators, sports leaders and everyday people who had a positive effect on my life. It’s a potpourri of individuals; I can’t just put my finger on one.
Significant accomplishment or project: There are many. When I worked at the Boys Scouts, there were things that I did in Philadelphia to help shape and transform those communities by helping to organize scout programs in West Philadelphia. There was my work at the YMCA where I helped with the West Philadelphia location’s $24 million expansion, allowing the historic organization to reach and serve more people. I worked among seniors at a local senior center and my work at the United Negro College Fund where we raised millions of dollars to help students get the education that they need.
Advice for young people: Well, you have to have good relationships with people, be empathetic, be willing to learn and take advice, to bend because sometimes the way you think things should be done might not be the best way.
The ability to have vision, leadership, get along with people, have a plan and the perseverance to start something and finish it, is important.
How to build relationships within the African Diaspora: We as a people, whether it is coming from the African-American perspective or other perspectives, we all want the same things and we just have to understand that.
We all want to have a good quality of life, good education, good relationships, respect for one another, the ability to pursue our goals and our dreams. I think that we all as individual whether White, Black, from America, or from the continent of Africa, we all want the same things.
Once we realize that we all want the same things and that we are all striving for the same things, we have an opportunity to help each other seek those things out.