WEX is a strong supporter of the United Way in many of our U.S. communities, and our passion for the organization was in full force during the recent Annual Campaign Kickoff event for the United Way of Greater Portland. In addition to a rally with more than 400 supporters cheering on the United Way, we were thrilled to participate in the second annual United We CAN food sculpture contest.
“There’s always been a food drive as part of the United Way’s annual kickoff rally, and last year they made it more fun and creative with a contest that invited companies to design and create a sculpture using their donated food items,” says Jodi-ann Johnson, co-chair of our national United Way campaign. “We were humbled and proud to have participated the first year, and we took our learnings to create a WEX ‘giving trunk’ this year that can be used for other philanthropic collections we have.”
Assembled the morning of the rally by over 30 WEXers, the WEX giving trunk held 900 of the 2,300 food items donated by employees. An online registry on our company intranet made it easy for WEXers to purchase and donate food items, helping us more than double our food donations from last year. Johnson notes that the registry offered a variety of healthy canned food items perfect for stocking a family pantry. WEXers also donated food items from home or that they purchased elsewhere. All of the donations will be distributed to local food pantries by the Wayside Food Programs following the rally. In total, we delivered enough food for 16,428 meals and set another record for Cumberland County’s largest one-day food drive.
“The United Way of Greater Portland’s Thrive 2027 response to the community’s needs is well aligned with the WEX philanthropy focus on education, economic development, basic needs and wellness. We’re excited to see such great support from WEXers to create a strong start to our campaign this year,” said Margaret Colford, manager of our virtual product portfolio who is serving as a loaned executive for nine weeks to the United Way of Greater Portland.
2017 United Way Goals
Long before the United Way of Greater Portland announced its 2017 fundraising goal of $8,050,000 at the rally, we were planning our strategy for the upcoming campaign. Johnson, and her United Way co-chair Kathryn Connolly, worked closely with our corporate philanthropy team to set some goals for WEX support.
“This year we want to increase our employee engagement with United Way campaigns in all of the communities where we live and work through both donations and volunteering,” says Johnson. “We’re building a lot of momentum beyond our headquarters, and see great energy and creativity in other offices, like our Omaha team that recently kicked off their efforts with a carnival-style dunk tank and our Connecticut office that organized a back-to-school book and supplies drive.”
Stay tuned for Inside WEX updates as WEXers across the country show the spirit that brings #WEXUnited to life.