Fellowship Matters: Get To Know Your Board Member: David Potorti

David Potorti is an at-large member of your Board of Directors, serving through June 2021. David writes:

I grew up in Ithaca, New York, a small town in the Finger Lakes region. My family was active in the Catholic Church, and my parents “talked the talk and walked the walk” in terms of “doing unto others” and caring for the least of us.

While in high school I started writing for our local paper, the Ithaca Journal, and in college, I trained to be a disc jockey. Radio took me to Worcester, MA, where I was a promotion director and on-air personality at WAAF-FM. I moved to New York City, where I wrote for a variety of media-related newspapers and magazines, and volunteered in the video department at Riverside Church, where we broadcast William Sloane Coffin’s services on cable TV.

After parlaying my television skills into jobs doing marketing and promotion for several cable and network TV outlets, I moved to Los Angeles to continue that work as well as to continue my newspaper writing. After “burning out” on that life, I moved to Cary with my future wife and pursued a Masters degree in Folklore at UNC-CH, while writing for the Independent Weekly and occasionally playing music on WUNC-FM. With an eye toward having a family, we were married under the care of the Raleigh Friends Meeting and had a son, Zane.

My pursuit of a degree was interrupted when my oldest brother Jim was killed in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11. My belief was that our national response to terrorism should not inflict even greater terror on other innocent people around the world. Through a series of coincidences I met several 9/11 family members across the country who shared that belief. With the help of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the American Friends Service Committee, we launched a nonprofit called “September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows” that through its advocacy was nominated for the 2003 and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.

We had a daughter, Isabella, and divorced shortly thereafter. Around this time, I was introduced to UUFR by Bo Chagnon, who invited me to speak about my group. I liked UUFR and volunteered to teach religious education for the second to fourth graders. My kids and I joined other families on beach trips and camping trips, and participated in Wellspring activities, where my son and a friend ran a “Magic the Gathering” Club. And since I had been taught sex education by nuns, I was happy to send my children through the Our Whole Lives (OWL) trainings. I began working at the North Carolina Arts Council in Raleigh, putting my producing and writing skills towards advocacy for artists including writers and theater organizations in the state.

About three years ago, I was invited to join UUFR’s worship committee, which was making an effort to raise the quality of our services. We worked hard, and the services got better. It was enough to make me decide to officially join UUFR. And having joined, I became eligible for Board service. Like other Board members, I serve as a liaison to various committees, and facilitate Chalice Circle meetings.

I studied to become an NCSU Master Gardener because of a lifelong affection for plants. And since taking an early retirement, I am continuing to pursue writing, cooking, music and photography.

Through it all, UUFR has been a centering force in my life and the lives of my children. I truly enjoy the people involved in this diverse faith community, I’m glad we’re active in ONE Wake, and I take comfort in knowing that whatever the future holds, we will encounter it together


Contact David: All Board members, including Sheila, will see email addressed to [email protected]

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