Each year United Way of Allen County presents awards to top workplace campaigns and dedicated volunteers.
2015 Award Winners
Outstanding Workplace Campaign for a small organization (Up to 100 employees)
Ascensus Consulting saw a 57 percent increase in their total campaign with 46 percent participation. Jim Racine, the CEO, provided his employees with a dollar for dollar match up to $2,500 for any increase in donations or new donors. United Way was invited to speak at the kickoff breakfast and they also brought in United Way agency partner, CTN, to tell about why it’s important to support United Way. They also held a Jeans Day incentive.
Outstanding Workplace Campaign for a medium organization (101 to 500 employees)
Old National Bank had nearly a 78 percent increase in this year’s campaign with a 17 percent increase in participation. Old National’s CEO, Wendell Bontrager, was very supportive and was present at every single presentation United Way held. There was a total of nearly a dozen presentations at the branch locations and downtown office. Wendell offered an ice cream social, which he would personally deliver, to every branch that increased their giving and participation from the prior year. He also offered to personally buy and deliver lunch from Casa’s to every staff member on the banking side if they raised more than the insurance side. They made their internal competition between the two divisions, banking and insurance, very known and encouraged. Old National Bank is also a Gold Level Benefactor, allowing us to host needed special events.
Outstanding Workplace Campaign for a large organization (501 employees or more)
Meijer had four outstanding campaign coordinators: store managers Scott Hoffman, Shay Ramey and Nick Pronesti and Pharmacy Fill Center’s Tori Narmi. Between the three retail stores, the regional office and the pharmacy fill center, they increased their campaign by 42 percent and averaged a 52 percent participation rate. The store managers made the campaign fun with incentives and goal-oriented events. At Scott Hoffman’s store as they met each of their fundraising goals they would have a new mini celebration: like a pancake breakfast or Scott dressing up as Yoda for Halloween and handing out candy to the kids that came into the store that day. They also held an ice cream social, team leader role reversal day, a spelling bee, a karaoke contest, a steak dinner and Scott provided pizza and wore a silly toupee for the day. United Way staff was able to come in and present to all shifts at all stores over a two-week period and the managers provided snacks for all of the meetings. Each employee was asked to give to United Way, but was also given information on where to go to get help if they need it. The Corporate office makes its own campaign video each year and shows strong support for the campaign. Scott is also on United Way’s Campaign Cabinet and is making CEO visits to other retail stores to encourage participation and sharing the best practices from his store’s campaign.
Outstanding Workplace Campaign at an Agency Partner
Visiting Nurse saw a 49 percent increase in giving and a 16 percent increase in participation this year. Visiting Nurse employs eight of eleven best campaign practices, including bringing United Way in to present to the staff and having campaign incentives. They offered three gift card raffles to staff that participated in campaign events. The three raffles were for: anyone who increased pledge, new pledge or homecare staff (field staff). They did this to ensure they were reaching all of their staff including their field staff, which can be tricky since they’re out on the road. Visiting Nurse was all about making this fun for their staff. They held a silent auction, Penny Wars and Peer to Peer shout outs, where colleagues could purchase candy and baked goods for someone else and attach notes to the items, then the Campaign Coordinators delivered all of the Peer to Peer shout outs at the end of every day throughout the campaign. Some managers even purchased them for their entire department! For fun, Visiting Nurse also held a Trivia Day with Visiting Nurse related questions and a variety of prizes for the winners.
Bill Latz Award
Nelson Coats has been on United Way committees for longer than anyone can remember. He has been on the Men’s Night Out committee since it started in 2008 and has served on the Finance and Executive committees and the Standards and Investment cabinets. Nelson was also Treasurer for the Board of Directors. He has previously been honored with the Monsignor Thiele Award in 1999 and the 2011 Loyal Donor Award. Nelson and his wife Mary are dedicated volunteers and donors in Allen County.
Advocate of the Year
Tom Lewandowski has been a strong bond between United Way and Organized Labor. When United Way Worldwide stood in the way of their workers joining unions, United Way of Allen County was caught in the cross fire. Tom’s strong support, we made it through with our partnership with Organized Labor intact. Tom invited David to a meeting with Labor leaders to develop a plan to handle the issue and cosigned a letter that went to any Organized Labor donor that was concerned about the issue. He has served on the board for many years and the Public Policy committee.
Volunteer of the Year
Steve Sykes currently serves as the Team Leader for the Early Childhood Investment Team. He has been an employee of Regal for 20 years. He volunteered for the United Way of Greater Cleveland from 1994 – 2002. When Steve relocated to Fort Wayne in 2002 he took a development class through United Way of Allen County. In the fall of 2002, Steve began volunteering in the investment process as a result of that class. He has been a part of United Way of Allen County’s investment process for the past 14 years. Steve also served as a workplace ambassador during Regal’s employee campaign this year, sharing with his colleagues why he is passionate about giving to United Way and personally ask them to consider making a contribution. Steve has been married to his wife Fanchon for 25 years and they have three daughters: Jessica (18) who will be attending IU this fall, Jacinda (17) who will be a junior at Homestead and Jasmine (13) who is completing the 7th grade at Woodside.