Monday, February 21, 2011

2011 Live United Award Winners

At the 2011 campaign celebration lunch we recognized companies and individuals who have made significant contributions in 2011 of their time, talent, and resources to help carry out the mission of United Way of Northwest Arkansas – by giving, advocating, and volunteering.

The Live United Award goes to a company who we feel exemplifies all three of our targeted focus areas – a company that GIVES, ADVOCATES, and VOLUNTEERS.


We believe that Tyson Foods has done an incredible job in all three of those areas.

Tyson Foods, led by new CEO Donnie Smith, had a record campaign this year. Tyson team members raised $527,000, a 41% increase over last year. This amount includes a generous 25% corporate match of payroll deduction gifts.

Wes Morris, group vice president of Consumer Products, served as the Executive Chair of Tyson’s United Way campaign team. Wes leaned heavily on his campaign committee led by Carolyn Rehbock and featured committee members Ana Castro, Annetta Young, Beth Smith, Laurel Dunaway and Paul Davis. Archie Schaffer III and Ken Kimbro led the Pillar Giving Program. Tyson team members Shawn Walker and Ken Kimbro serve as members of our Board of Directors, and Shawn also served as Campaign Co-Chair.

Team member participation was up more than 25% this year and the number of ‘Pillar’ level contributors increased by 10%.

Tyson Team members have been involved in all areas of our programming including employees serving in Live United Day activities and Generation Give. They also donate the printing of our annual campaign materials every year.

GIVE AWARDS - given to companies who have achieved fantastic strides in their company giving campaigns. These companies have shown a strong commitment through their employee and corporate giving.


Our first GIVE Award recipient is recognized nationally as one of United Way’s strongest supporters, and we have seen that here locally as well. GE Capital Retail Consumer Finance raised over $50,000, a 35% increase from last year’s results. Through the leadership of in house coordinators Matt Kennedy and Matt Williams, GE continues to increase their support of United Way, both through giving and sponsorships such as sponsorship of Live United Day this past year. We would also like to thank Resource Advisory Cabinet member Brad Lymburner, for his leadership in their campaign and in our community.


Our second recipient for our GIVE award is Ernst and Young. Led by Board member and incoming 2012 Campaign Chair, Norm Prestage, they have been able to increase their campaign by over 500% over the past four years, this year raising nearly $30,000. Not only have they increased their giving to United Way, but they have encouraged their peers to support the community through United Way as well. We applaud their efforts and thank Norm and his group at Ernst and Young!

ADVOCATE AWARDS - given to a company who has exemplified a strong commitment to advocating the United Way message by living out the give, advocate, and volunteer mission.


The first recipient of this award goes to General Mills. There are many ways to support United Way outside of giving. General Mills has stepped up to the plate and sponsored and volunteered at many of this year’s United Way events including Live United Day, Stuff the Bus, and our Campaign Kickoff. They actually sponsored our campaign kickoff, and conducted their first employee giving campaign this year. General Mills executive Scott Tassanni spoke at our CEO Breakfast encouraging his peers to step up to the plate and give back to the community through United Way.

Thank you General Mills for lending your voice to strengthen our community!


Our second recipient for the ADVOCATE Award goes to Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families are relatively new to Northwest Arkansas. Laura Kellams, the Northwest Arkansas Director, who also serves on our Board of Directors, is a tireless advocate for children and families. Their efforts in improving access for programs like ArKids, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and commitment to educating citizens and legislators on childhood poverty have improved the quality of life for our children and we are so blessed to have their voice in Northwest Arkansas! Thank you Laura and Arkansas Advocates!

VOLUNTEER AWARDS - given to a company and/or individual who devote countless hours in volunteering their time and talents in efforts that directly affect the mission of the United Way.


This year we are proud to recognize, Wal-Mart PMDC as our company Volunteer Award Winner. Wal-Mart PMDC employees are perennial volunteers in efforts like Live United Day and Stuff the Bus. Danny Funkhouser, PMDC manager and current United Way board member facilitated the donation of a forklift for our Gifts in Kind Warehouse, and has also volunteered along with fellow associates to help us create a sustainable power plan for emergency periods with an emphasis on keeping our 211 service up and running in the event of a disaster. Whether it is helping with 211 printing or serving on a community investment team, PMDC employees can also be counted on to step up and volunteer – not to mention the fact that they have 95% participation in their Associate Giving Program at their location. Help us thank Walmart PMDC associates!


Our community Volunteer Award for an individual goes to Jerry Labadie. Jerry is retired from the military but is certainly not retired as a community volunteer! Jerry currently serves as a member of our Board of Directors, and has worked tirelessly to lead the efforts to help United Way develop a strategic plan for the next three years. Jerry has been the catalyst for our shift from an allocations process to a community investment process by providing direction in program and outcome based funding Jerry has put in countless hours training partner agencies and community investment volunteers on outcomes, doing his own preparation and research for every project he takes on. We appreciate his commitment and time – thank you Jerry Labadie!

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