Recognizing local philanthropy: 2014 Employee Campaign Awards

Last week, almost 500 companies and their leaders proved just how alive philanthropy is in Greater Austin at our 2014 Employee Campaign Awards. Our Employee Campaign Leader of the Year, Laura Seaton, said it best when describing how it feels to give back: “It is an almost indescribable feeling: it is not pride, it is not joy, it is not accomplishment. It is a warm knowing that despite your own life trials and dramas, and we all have them, you have given something of yourself that truly has helped another human being feel a little whole again and a little less lost.”

Excellence in Corporate Philanthropy: H-E-B, 3M and Enterprise

This award is given to UWATX’s top three campaigns, companies who make important investments with a commitment to making Austin Greater and where employees also give of their time, talent and treasure. Each of these companies implement UWATX’s best practices and do so in a way that represents “excellence” in all categories. They represent the heart of philanthropy in Greater Austin and we are so honored to work with them everyday to life up the working poor and ensure that every one in our community has the chance to thrive.

Best Practices: HEB

This award recognizes the company that implements UWATX’s best practices, which in clued Senior Officer involvement, access to employees and use of UWATX campaign materials among several others. HEB and its partners not only implement best practices into their campaign but they do it consistently and enthusiastically. By making sure each HEB partner has a chance to hear the message of UWATX and has an opportunity to give, HEB continues to be the largest employee contributor to UWATX.

Greatest Participation Increase: Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young has consistently been one of our Top 40 campaigns. Their employee campaign saw great growth this year, thanks to the increase in employee participation – employees contributing to the campaign rose from 51 donors in 2013 to 112 donors in 2014. Ernst & Young continues to be a growing force in the community through philanthropic involvement, community service and community recognition.

Community Investment Award: Kerbey Lane and JE Dunn

The Community Investment Award represents a company or companies who exemplify what it really means to wrap arms around a community to make a significant impact. Together JE Dunn and Kerbey Lane Café have volunteered hundreds of hours restoring our Success By 6 childcare centers to ensure they are up to state standards. Kerbey Lane sponsored the UWATX MLK Day of Service and JE Dunn sponsored Spring Day of Caring. They have made volunteerism and philanthropy a part of their culture, and been instrumental in making sure low-income families have a beautiful and safe place to send their children.

SECC Excellence in Philanthropy Award: Texas General Land Office

The State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC) brings philanthropy to the employees of our state agencies. This year the Texas General Land Office is receiving this award because their hard working, dedicated employees not only serve our state as stewards of its environmental and historical heritage, they personally contribute to its welfare through their annual Employee Campaign. For the past three years, they have boated a 100 percent participation in their campaign.

Women’s Leadership Council—Leadership Giving Award: Nordstrom

The Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) has been an integral part of UWATX’s Success By 6 program and this award recognizes companies that actively participate and support WLC activities. Nordstrom has always been a strong corporate partner, with their Barton Creek and Nordstrom Rack stores consistently ranking in UWATX’s Top 40 accounts. This past year the stores hosted WLC events and donated gift bags to our early childcare centers for receiving accreditation.

Tocqueville Society—Leadership Giving Award: Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo, one of UWATX’s Top 40 campaigns, has been a long-time supporter of UWATX through their employee giving and also through their volunteer efforts. As a leader in the financial industry, Wells Fargo is committed to helping improve the financial health of the communities their serve. This year, we’re recognizing wells Fargo in leading in Tocqueville donors Tocqueville donors are some of our community’s more generous donors and give an annual gift of $10,000 or more. Wells Fargo stepped up and gave at an unprecedented leadership level.

Excellence in Leadership Giving Award: Enterprise

The Excellence in Leadership Giving Award is reserved for companies with the most Leadership Giving employees (those that give $1,000 to UWATX). Enterprise is an incredible company that is always looking for ways to give a high-quality experience to each of their customers, as well as investing in UWATX’s work to provide high-quality services to those most vulnerable in our community. This is their second year in a row to win this award.

Young Leaders Society Champion: Baker Botts

Baker Botts leadership supports a culture of giving back to the communities in which the live and work. They encourage their lawyers and staff to be actively involved in pro bono, charitable and community activities. This year, Baker Botts sponsored the first Young Leaders Society Super Bowl Party, “The Big Game.” A new endeavor, Baker Botts fully supported Young Leaders efforts to raise awareness and funds for at-risk middle school children in Austin.

Excellence in Volunteerism Award: Farmers Insurance

This award goes to companies with outstanding volunteer participation. This year, we’re recognizing Farmers Insurance. Farmers volunteers have impressed us not only with their number of volunteer hours but with their creativity in planning events that align with their corporate social responsibility goals. This past year they wrapped their arms around UWATX’s three middle school campuses by kicking off the school year by building school supply kits and helping teacher ready their classrooms.

Insurance Industry – Top Philanthropic Partner Award: Texas Mutual & CLS Partners

The Insurance Industry Challenge (IIC) started in 2013 to encourage insurance companies to increase their campaign participation, provide volunteer opportunities throughout the year and form lasting relationships with UWATX. The two winners, Texas Mutual and CLS Partners, set exmaples for all insurance companies to follow – Texas Mutual gave UWATX a corporate gift of $25,000 and CLS Partners increase their employee participation by 25 percent.

ECL of the Year Award: Laura Seaton, Travis County TNR

The Employee campaign Leader is vital to the success of each Employee Campaign – they are the liaison between UWATX and our companies and they help run their companies’ campaign. This year we’re honoring Laura Seaton. Laura has participated in the UWATX campaign three years now and last year she went above and beyond carrying the message to every employee at her company. She implements rigorous best practices and personalizes the campaign so every employee feels more connected.

Largest Year-to-Year Increase – Corporate Giving Award: Freescale

With their steady campaign results over the last few years and in 2014, their campaign results rose even more – by $46,750. In addition, Freescale provided matching funds totaling $121,000. Freescale allows UWATX staff to meet with employee for regular employee meetings, affinity group information sessions and provides continued financial and volunteer support in Spring and Fall Days of Caring.

Largest Year-to-Year Increase – Employee Giving Award: UPS

From 2013 to 2014 UPS had a campaign increase of more than $25,000, making them one of the winners of the Largest Year-to-Year Increase Award. UPS is always offering high-quality customer service and doubled down on their commitment to philanthropy and the UWATX campaign.

YLS Young Leader of the Year Award– Julie Fisher

This award recognizes one of the Young Leader Society’s (YLS) members for their dedication to the affinity group. YLS is committed to UWATX’s Target Graduation program, which provides services to at-risk middle school students so they stay on the path to graduation. Julie Fisher has gone above and beyond since the beginning of her YLS membership. She’s brought many wonderful and unique ideas to events and has shown great leadership throughout her time involved.

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