Greensboro, NC (March 3, 2023) – Seven local United Way of Greater Greensboro (UWGG) annual campaign partners and one volunteer leader were recently honored with Spirit of North Carolina Awards, which celebrate organizations and individuals for their exemplary partnership demonstrated through fundraising, volunteering, outstanding leadership, and creative team building.
The Spirit of North Carolina Award offers local United Ways an opportunity to nominate organizations and individuals whose annual campaign and leadership exemplify the “spirit” of their community.
Local campaign award winners include Brooks Pierce, City of Greensboro, Ecolab, Guilford County Schools, Hoffman and Hoffman, Publix, Syngenta, and volunteer Scott Baker.
United Way of North Carolina (UWNC) leads the award nomination and judging process and presents the awards annually. Between March 1-3, UWNC presented a total of 74 Spirit of NC Awards during three regional events representing 17 United Ways.
“The Spirit of North Carolina Award is a statewide honor that recognizes companies and individuals who go above and beyond for their local communities. Through their fun campaign events, employee leadership making their campaigns successful, and long-term impact on the greater Greensboro community, this year’s winners truly embody what it means to LIVE UNITED. We are also thrilled to be able to recognize an individual this year through the new United Way Community Ambassador award,” said Julia Thomas, Associate Vice-President, Development, UWGG.
Local Spirit of NC Award categories, winners, and representative quotes can be found below.
Award Category: Impactful and Engaging Campaign Event or Activity
During its 2022 campaign, Brooks Pierce galvanized employees in an electrifying kickoff event that followed with themed days to increase participation and generate enthusiasm. Brooks Pierce planned its kick-off and campaign months in advance and incorporated a chili cook-off event, breakfast, trivia, pie in the face contest, and raffles. As a result, employee participation increased, and Brooks Pierce surpassed its previous year’s campaign in dollars raised.
“Here’s why I give to United Way: Our law firm takes great pride in our long tradition of serving our local community. And there’s no better way to serve the local community than giving to an organization like United Way of Greater Greensboro, which has worked for 100 years to support the local residents most in need of help,” said Andy Rodenbough, Brooks Pierce Partner and United Way Committee Chair.
Syngenta’s campaign committee took on an array of revenue generating special events during the 2022 campaign that included a kickoff carnival and BBQ for employees, a golf and mini-golf tournament, premier parking spot auctions, a gift baskets raffle, table massages at work, and a Kickin’ Chicken versus Piggly Wiggly Cookoff. These events created tremendous excitement around the United Way campaign. Employees also had a chance to hear firsthand from members and staff of UWGG’s Family Success Center during a Lunch and Learn hosted by Syngenta leadership which was streamed virtually to employees. Using tools like Square and Smartsheet, the Syngenta team created an online store and checkout process for all of its events, creating efficiencies and opening the events to a larger number of employees.
“Syngenta and United Way of Greater Greensboro have had a successful partnership for many years, addressing the needs of our local community. Our partnership has provided funding and resources to help support community programs and projects, such as expanding access to healthcare, promoting education and job training. This partnership has helped to create more opportunities for residents and improve the overall quality of life for those in our community. Additionally, Syngenta has encouraged its employees to get involved in volunteering with United Way through a designated annual Syngenta led fundraising campaign and has provided matching donations to further support the organization’s efforts. Overall, the partnership between Syngenta and United Way has been a successful example of how businesses and nonprofits can work together to create positive social impact. As a Syngenta leader and outgoing chairman of the 2022 Syngenta campaign, I am personally and professionally beyond proud of our working relationship and accomplishments, this past year and look forward to many more,” said Ron Cowman, Head of North American Digital Ag Solutions and 2022 Campaign Co-Chair.
Ecolab’s 2022 campaign raised an impressive 25% more than that its previous year. The driving force behind its campaign success was campaign leadership who hosted a kickoff breakfast where employees were educated about the issues of poverty in the community, and leaders shared their personal inspirations for giving. Ecolab also hosted a very successful golf tournament at The Grandover Resort and Spa, setting a record for dollars raised, and hosted a Warehouse Yard Sale where its most popular products were sold to employees with all proceeds benefitting the United Way.
“We are honored to accept the Spirit of North Carolina Award and are proud to work with the United Way of Greater Greensboro,” said Kris Taylor, Ecolab’s vice president of Global Community Impact and president of the Ecolab Foundation. “Our company purpose is to protect people and the resources vital to life, and our work with United Way helps to support this mission.”
Award Category: Building Momentum and Sustainability Through Engaged Leadership or Employees
City of Greensboro
In 2022, employees of the City of Greensboro increased dollars raised by 14% and increased its employee participation rate by over 70%. The City of Greensboro’s level of campaign excellence was achieved through impactful events, engaged leadership, and a deep desire to help their community. Greensboro’s mayor, Nancy Vaughn, kicked off the campaign with a personal video encouraging employees to join the fight against poverty by making their pledge. Leadership offered every department in the City that reached 100% participation an extra day of PTO. This generous incentive encouraged conversations and teamwork in each department and participation rates soared.
“As City of Greensboro employees helping others and building community is at the center of everything that we do, supporting United Way and pulling together to end poverty is a natural extension of our organization’s mission. The Spirit of NC Award serves as a symbolic, yet meaningful, recognition of the commitment that City of Greensboro’s employees have to ending poverty and building a stronger, healthier and more equitable community,” said Greensboro City Manager, Taiwo Jaiyeoba.
Hoffman & Hoffman
Working alongside Hoffman & Hoffman’s Employee Campaign Manager, company leadership helped to create a 2022 kickoff event where employees learned more about United Way and the impact of workplace giving. Campaign volunteers deployed a communications strategy that provided testimonials from individuals who have been helped through United Way and reminded employees to participate in the campaign. Hoffman & Hoffman staff created an internal community involvement group and named it Hoffman Helping Hands with the goal of quarterly service projects and becoming more invested in a partnership with United Way.Engagement from leadership and staff volunteers during the campaign helped to increase both participation and dollars raised by 33% over the previous year’s campaign. An additional show of commitment from Hoffman & Hoffman leadership is the company’s 100% match of employee gifts doubling the impact made through the employee campaign.
“A key goal of United Way is to empower people in our local community to leave poverty behind. Investing in our community through our United Way campaign in 2022 offered our employees and our company, as a whole, an opportunity to make a meaningful difference. We look forward to challenging ourselves again this year to raise even more,” said Jim Bingham, CEO, Hoffman & Hoffman.
Award Category: Investment in Long-Term Sustainable Impact
Guilford County Schools
(On behalf of United Way of Greater Greensboro and United Way of Greater High Point)
Guilford County Schools (GCS) annually conducts an educational, engaging, and fun United Way Campaign. This year’s campaign theme was “Hidden Figures” which highlighted the impactful work that each GCS employee is doing in the community. As a result, individual participation increased over the previous year, and the campaign raised over $330,000 to support local children, adults, and families. Included in that total are student-supported campaigns, which impressively raised over $15,000. GCS is helping the community to do things “Better Together”.
As a guiding principle, Publix believes in “doing good together” and encourages its associates to make a difference in their community. Nationwide, in 2021, Publix associates pledged more than $31 million to United Way. Publix Super Markets Charities also donated $25 million, bringing the total for the 2021 nationwide campaign to over $56 million with the money raised locally staying in the local communities. Since 2020, Publix and has run a successful local United Way campaign. In 2022, Publix’s impact on the local area continued to grow and a new distribution center was opened in Guilford County that employs several thousand associates. Along the way, Publix has provided generous in-kind donations along with financial contributions that have created a lasting impact on the Greensboro community. Publix’s leadership and associates do not hesitate to donate funds, volunteer time, and talents to improve the lives of those in the community. In addition to supporting United Way’s annual campaign, Publix employees also make a local impact through multiple volunteer projects during “Publix Serves Week” in the spring and fall.
“Our founder, George W. Jenkins, believed one of the most efficient ways to assist people was through giving to United Way, and we still believe that today,” said Jared Glover, Media Relations Manager for Publix Super Markets. “Our commitment to his vision and this community continues through our dedication to offer hope through giving to the United Way of Greater Greensboro.”
Award Category: United Way Community Ambassador
Scott Baker is president of TowneBank Triad and is a true example of what it means to LIVE UNITED. Scott has served as UWGG’s Campaign Chair since 2021, starting as Campaign Vice Chair in 2020. As Campaign Chair, Scott has also served on UWGG’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee since 2020. During this time, Scott led efforts to help UWGG to navigate virtual campaigning during the pandemic and advocated for increased corporate philanthropic support of UWGG by soliciting donations from companies in the community. Scott was a key driver in increasing TowneBank’s own workplace campaign and corporate gift. He has also helped UWGG build its strategy to think beyond the workplace campaign and recognizes the importance of building relationships with individual investors outside of the workplace for long-term sustainability and growth. Scott’s service is driven by an underlying passion for supporting nonprofits whose mission it is to eradicate poverty in the Greensboro community. This is emphasized by his board tenure for Greensboro nonprofits, including The Servant Center, Greensboro Merchants Association, Triad Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Finance committee member at Greensboro Urban Ministry, and Vice-Chair of the board at Piedmont Business Capital.
“During my time as campaign chair for United Way Greensboro I have been impressed with the dedication and focused effort toward aggressively reducing the impact of poverty in our local community. The bold goal of transitioning three thousand families out of generational poverty by 2030 is a life-changing effort and I am honored to lend my time and energy to assist. The ongoing fight to improve opportunities for others through the Family Success Center and Guilford Success Network and our strategic partners requires broad-based support. I stand committed, working alongside TowneBank, to serve as a community asset and I am so humbled to be a part of it,” Said Scott Baker, President, TowneBank.