QuikTrip is All In for Local Impact

When QuikTrip enters a new market, it doesn’t tiptoe into the water, it takes a full plunge. And they take the same approach with their local philanthropy – they’re “all in,” said Sherill Carrington, United Way’s assistant vice president of corporate partnerships.

QuikTripThe employee-owned company has grown faster in the Carolinas than in any other previous expansion in QuikTrip’s 60-year history. Given all the work required for such a massive undertaking, some companies might opt to get settled in before getting involved philanthropically. Instead, QuikTrip presented United Way with a check for more than $85,000 just months after opening their first Charlotte stores in 2012.

“When they arrived in the Carolinas, they reached out to United Way immediately,” said Carrington. “They want to make a real difference where they do business.”

By the following year, that donation had nearly doubled to just under $170,000, and their most recent campaign raised $232,543 for United Way of Central Carolinas, thanks to devoted employees and a dollar-for-dollar corporate match – part of QuikTrip’s commitment to donate 5% of its annual net profit to charity.

Such generosity recently landed QuikTrip on Fortune magazine’s “50 Best Workplaces for Giving Back.”

While United Way is QuikTrip’s largest beneficiary nationwide, its most visible support goes to Safe Place, a program coordinated in Charlotte by United Way agency The Relatives. Bright yellow Safe Place signs designate QuikTrip stores as safe havens for at-risk youth; runaways can come in off the street, receive food and drink, and wait for a volunteer from The Relatives to provide help or a place to stay until the situation is resolved.

The more QuikTrip expands, the more Safe Places the Charlotte region will have, and the greater impact their generosity will produce – fulfilling the company’s mission of creating opportunity for others.

McGuireWoods Has Been With United Way From The Beginning

McGuireWoodsWithout McGuireWoods, United Way of Central Carolinas would not exist today.

The names were different back then. In the depths of the Great Depression, Charlotte’s United Way was launched in 1931 as the United Welfare Federation and later the Community Chest. And the man who started it all was Fred Helms of Helms Mulliss & Wicker, which merged with McGuireWoods in 2008.

Helms recognized the challenge of local entities such as American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and others running multiple fundraising campaigns throughout the year, competing with one another. After contacting the Association of Community Chests in New York and then drafting a constitution for the United Welfare Federation, he was chosen by Charlotte’s mayor to serve as our first president in 1932 and again in 1933.

So it’s no surprise McGuireWoods is United Way of Central Carolinas’ largest supporter among law firms, or that Charlotte managing partner Scott Vaughn serves on United Way’s board of directors. Such community support is a tradition that extends back more than 85 years.

“There is no better steward of our donations than United Way, which serves as our eyes and ears in this community, as well as our boots on the ground,” said Vaughn. “We’re too busy to understand the Charlotte region’s deepest needs, so trusting United Way to invest our dollars is far more effective than trying to figure it out on our own.”

The firm’s impact is not limited to United Way – several partners serve on the boards of United Way agencies and provide pro bono counsel, particularly at Legal Aid of North Carolina, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, and Council for Children’s Rights. All of the firm’s employees are encouraged to follow their own passion and volunteer, with 15 paid hours for community service annually, and many others volunteering on their own time.

“We don’t do it for the recognition,” said Vaughn. “It’s part of our culture, it’s what we were trained to do by those before us. We’re all very blessed, so we’re committed to giving back.”

Committed Leadership at Duke Energy

What sets Duke Energy apart is its leadership.

Duke EnergyThey’re a leader in generosity, as United Way’s third-largest donor year after year after year – one of only five companies to contribute more than $1 million annually to United Way.

Duke Energy’s fundraising success originates in having significant top-down buy-in from senior executives. They set the tone, always giving first before the company-wide campaign kicks off. And their commitment is deep, with an exceptionally high number of Alexis de Tocqueville donors ($10,000 and up) for United Way of Central Carolinas.

Beyond giving financially, they lend their leadership expertise to United Way itself, with a presence on our board of directors, multiple executives on our regional campaign cabinet, and serving in key leadership roles for our A-LIST, Women United, and Young Leaders engagement groups.

Duke Energy has been central to the launch of two of our newest and most vital measures, very quickly stepping up as a top contributor to the Unite Charlotte fund and helping pilot our forthcoming Tutor Charlotte program to train and place volunteers with children in need of academic support.

Beyond that pilot program, Duke Energy placed more than 650 volunteers out into the local community last year through United Way and Hands On Charlotte, contributing 1,588 hours to 16 projects – numbers that are expected to grow next year with the recent integration of Piedmont Natural Gas.

“Powering our community involves more than keeping the lights on,” said Jennifer Dewitt, Duke Energy Foundation. “We are committed to creating a better community for everyone in our region, and partnering with United Way helps us fulfill that mission.”

New Partnerships Signal New Impact at Novant Health

When Novant Health’s Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown recently led the unveiling of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force’s recommendations to improve upward mobility in our community, United Way was there in support as one of the organizations tasked with helping implement the group’s findings.

Novant HealthAnd when Novant Health and Carolinas HealthCare System this winter announced their new resolution to work together to improve healthcare access for under-served communities in Charlotte, it mirrored behind-the-scenes conversations United Way has had with both organizations to collaborate on the region’s health and human services challenges.

“Novant Health’s leadership in trying to advance this community through collaboration has been exceptional,” said Sherill Carrington, United Way’s assistant vice president of corporate partnerships. “And what the public doesn’t necessarily see is their leaders are doing the same thing internally, championing United Way with Novant Health team members and within their medical practices to help fund new solutions in the healthcare sector.”

In particular, Novant Health Chief Consumer Officer Jesse Cureton is leading United Way’s regional campaign cabinet for the healthcare market, opening new doors across the industry for United Way. Cureton is also collaborating with CHS counterpart Carol Lovin to develop new engagement opportunities with an eye toward getting more healthcare professionals volunteering out in the community.

“From the very top down, there’s a tremendous amount of momentum and excitement at Novant Health about amplifying their impact in the community where it’s needed most,” said Carrington. “They are committed to serving those in need, and we’re honored to be right alongside them.”

National Gypsum is Firmly On Board with United Way

Among all of United Way of Central Carolinas' supporters, National Gypsum has one of the highest percentages of employees who donate to United Way.

NationalGypsum“We’re a local company that believes in Charlotte, with people who genuinely want to make this a better community, so everyone gets on board,” said George Beckwith, National Gypsum’s CFO, who co-chairs United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville cabinet. “And we really emphasize making our campaign fun, with events the staff can all do together and enjoy. They love it.”

Beckwith noted that many of the United Way campaign events evolve “little indulgences” for the staff as raffle prizes, “things that people normally wouldn’t do for themselves.” There are educational components too, such as team bus tours of United Way’s partner agencies to see the real-world impact of their donations.

The National Gypsum team also firmly believes in United Way’s mission, with among the highest percentage of employees giving to the overall United Way campaign rather than designating to individual charities.

“Our employees realize that United Way is trying to positively shape the community, so while we’re very passionate about education for example, we know that Charlotte has many other needs too,” Beckwith continued. “We trust that giving to United Way is the best way to uplift the whole community.”

Also, do you happen to have any fun photos from your campaign? If not, I've got a few shots from your agency bus tour of Goodwill, Salvation Army, and the Men's Shelter.

Quantifying Improvement and Impact at Ingersoll Rand

Ingersoll Rand’s vision is to create a world of sustainable progress and enduring results. In philanthropic terms, that translates into continual, measurable improvement – and generosity that has increased by leaps and bounds.

Ingersoll RandConsider this: in 2009, Ingersoll Rand’s entire United Way fundraising campaign was around $300,000. This year, Ingersoll Rand’s increase over their prior campaign – just the year-over-year growth alone – surpassed $200,000, the largest increase of any company in United Way’s most recent campaign.

Ingersoll Rand’s charitable gains mirror the overall company’s financial performance, and the two are firmly intertwined.

“We have demonstrated – quantitatively – how strong employee engagement has a positive effect on the company’s overall bottom line,” said Scott Krull, Vice President, Global Commercial Leader at Ingersoll Rand and a member of United Way’s board of directors. “Our partnership with United Way improves both our company and our community.”

Ingersoll Rand’s philanthropic employee engagement is year-round because the United Way campaign runs across the full year, not confined to one season. The diversity of its events also facilitates broad participation, from conventional fundraisers like a golf tournament and an auction, to atypical events such as kickball tournaments, motorcycle poker runs, and boat cruises on Lake Norman.

Even the company’s volunteerism is innovative, through its Dollars for Doers program. Not only are employees given 20 paid hours per year to volunteer, but when they complete the 20 hours, $250 is given by the Ingersoll Rand Foundation to their charity of choice – and when they volunteer for a United Way agency, the foundation gift is doubled to $500.

Altogether, this deeply ingrained United Way commitment resulted in a local community impact of more than $1.5 million last year.

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