While the majority of United Way for Greater Austin’s Employee Campaigns run throughout the fall, a few companies set the pace and the tone for each year’s season. As always, H-E-B is one of the first out of the gate, enthusiastic and dedicated to making a difference.
“H-E-B has always been committed to giving back,” said Jeff Thomas, Senior Vice President – General Manager for the Central Texas region of H-E-B. “We are one of the largest employers in the Greater Austin area, so we know we can have a great influence on the community that we live in and work in.”
Nearly a month ago, more than 50 H-E-B In-Store Coordinators joined United Way staff to get excited about campaign and see what was in store for this year. Coordinators shared their experiences in past campaigns and gave each other tips on how to make the most out of the experience, for themselves, fellow employees and the community.
“I think it’s the way that they make the impact of each employee’s gift clear that really sets H-E-B apart,” said Greg Bennett, the UWATX Development Officer that manages H-E-B’s campaign. “They emphasize how what seems like a small gift can make a big impact. For example, they’ll show a $2 soft drink and say ‘The price of a soda every week can provide two weeks of one-on-one mentoring for a middle school student.’”
This year, H-E-B partners have taken their work to the next level by printing signage to post about the impact of their gifts and focusing on getting every partner involved in campaign. They’ve also started getting customers engaged to give and providing unique incentives, like throwing a pie at a manager and giving easy ways to give back.
And their efforts are paying off: early reports from this year’s H-E-B campaign include more than 90 percent participation at some stores and even 100 percent in some meetings. Stores are also already meeting or exceeding their goals; one store has already topped their own record-setting campaign from last year!
“Many of our partners actually live in the communities we serve, so they really see the need on a daily basis.” said Isaac Diaz, Store Director at Austin #9 and Central Texas regional coordinator. “They see people coming to shop with their families at 11 p.m. because they know their SNAP benefits will be available at midnight. We serve our friends and neighbors and see the real need for help – that inspires our partners to give back. Thanks to the culture here at H-E-B, our partners can give back through many channels.”
David Sanchez, a fellow Central Texas regional coordinator and Store Director at Austin #23, echoed this sentiment: “H-E-B has built a culture of caring and service to the people of our community over the past 100 plus years. The company encourages each store to support each of their local communities,” said Sanchez. “Our partners do not stop caring for people when they clock out to go home at the end of a busy day, it’s part of their character.”
As H-E-B continues to be a model of philanthropy for companies across our region, we at UWATX continue to be inspired by their commitment to our community. We’re working on a video to share that inspiration, here’s a sneak peak behind the scenes of the H-E-B video shoot.