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Smartly United Early Childhood Collective Hires Collective Impact Implementer

Photo info: (l-r) Deb Tibbetts, Executive Director of Smart Start of Transylvania County, Lance Goller, Collective Impact Implementer, Smartly United Early Childhood Collective, and Steve Pulliam, CEO, United Way of Transylvania County, edit a Smartly United project document during a recent project meeting.

Lance Goller, Collective Impact Implementer, Smartly United Early Childhood Collective

The Smartly United Early Childhood Collective (SmartlyUnited) hired Lance Goller as its Collective Impact Implementer. In this position, Goller will encourage conversations and collaboration across the county to facilitate children and their families in preparations for success in kindergarten. His work will draw on community members’ experiences and situations to gain insights into current assets and needs.

“I’m very excited to build on the work that Smartly United has started and begin to coordinate the implementation of projects that improve the lives of young children in Transylvania County,” Goller explained.  

Smartly United’s goals include dissecting and mapping the complicated relationships between health, education, and financial stability. SmartlyUnited will then use the Collective Impact model to add energy to cross-sector collaboration for transformational change.

The Smartly United partnership is co-led by Smart Start of Transylvania County and United Way of Transylvania County. SmartlyUnited provides a strong backbone structure to implement county-wide Early Childhood Initiative plans for success in kindergarten. A grant by The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina investing in Early Childhood in Transylvania County has allowed SmartlyUnited to implement a Collective Impact model.

Transylvania County’s Early Childhood Initiative, comprised of community wide organizations, government, schools and concerned citizens, has identified increasing affordable, high quality pre-school options as a top priority. SmartlyUnited’s mission in that process is to provide a community outreach, grant seeking, project management, and business development role for any large project emerging from the Early Childhood Initiative.

Goller comes to this position with an extensive background in social justice for underserved populations, especially in the field of healthcare access. He is currently serving as a Bernstein Fellow, a program of the Foundation for Health Leadership and Innovation, and is interested in the intersection of social determinants of health, societal outcomes, and their relationship to spatial and geographic areas.

In his last role at Blue Ridge Health, Goller developed a process to screen all patients for social determinants of health, such as food and housing insecurity, transportation issues, and lack of health insurance, and trained numerous staff on intervention methods to help patients address these needs. 

Goller has worked in several nonprofit settings, including directing health insurance access projects in New York City and California, managing a residential facility for children receiving treatment at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, implementing and evaluating a tobacco control program in California which focused on smoke-free multi-unit housing, and developing training for a nationally recognized teen pregnancy prevention program in Durham, North Carolina.

Goller holds a Bachelor’s degree in Culture and Communication from the City University of New York, and a Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College in New York with a focus on Nonprofit Administration. He speaks Spanish fluently and is conversational in ASL.

His spouse, Dr. Amy Marietta, is a Family Physician working in community and prenatal health in Hendersonville and Columbus.

About Collective Impact

The Collective Impact model for significant, positive, lasting social change offers structure to collaborative efforts across private and public agencies, governments, businesses and non-profits. Collective Impact structures include a core, backbone organization with a staff dedicated to assisting participating entities with working in concert to achieve their common agenda. Collective Impact groups communicate effectively and openly to coordinate, plan and conduct activities. They collect and evaluate data to assess progress toward the stated objective(s).

About Smart Start of Transylvania County

Smart Start of Transylvania County is part of the North Carolina Partnership for Children (NCPC), a nationally recognized and award-winning early childhood initiative designed to ensure that young children enter school healthy and ready to succeed.

Smart Start envisions a community in which every young child in Transylvania County is thriving. In collaboration with its community partners, Smart Start of Transylvania County is working to:

  • Be the champion for young children through collaboration, public education, and influencing public policy,
  • Ensure young children have equitable access to developmentally appropriate, high quality learning,
  • Assist and encourage early childhood educators in their pursuit of excellence and promote an environment that elevates the profession,
  • Pursue opportunities to advance the health and well-being of young children and their families.


To volunteer or financially support Smart Start of Transylvania County, call 828-877-3025 or email Deb Tibbetts at dtibbetts

About United Way of Transylvania County

United Way of Transylvania County (UWTC) empowers people to improve their lives.  Goals are for all residents to achieve their full academic potential, maintain a financially stable household, and live a healthy lifestyle.

UWTC has a particular focus on early childhood education, and has established the Early Childhood Education Mobile Unit Fund to drive programs to families with young children in remote and underserved areas of the county.

UWTC funds programs preventing homelessness, abuse and neglect, and programs providing housing, adult day care, after-school and summer youth education, health services, financial education and counseling, conflict resolution training, and parenting education and support.

Contributions support local health and human service initiatives including community-wide volunteer opportunity listings, the 2-1-1 information and referral service, TRAIN (Transylvania Resource Access and Information Network) non-profit support, Familywize and Coast2Coast prescription discount cards, the Tiny House Initiative for Brevard, and free state and local tax preparation and filing assistance.

United Way of Transylvania County also awards approximately $300,000 annually to local health and human service non-profit programs and collaborative actions. 

To volunteer or financially support the United Way of Transylvania County, call 828-883-8822, visit the office at 101 W. Jordan Street, #4 (below PNC Bank in downtown Brevard), send US Mail to PO Box 53, Brevard, NC, 28712, or visit  or

GREAT things happen when we LIVE UNITED for our community!  ###