Space Monsters, Spiders, and Selflessness

IMG_3933David Bean
TD Williamson, Technical Director of Data Architecture 
Guest Blogger

When I was 15, my dad took me to see Alien, the movie. It was a milestone for me for two reasons.  One, it was my first R rated movie, and two, it instilled in me a fear of space monsters that still exists today. While I generally don’t run into acid-for-blood aliens, I do occasionally encounter spiders, my other deep-seated fear.

Upon being surprised by an arachnid, I approach coronary failure, but this is nothing compared to what happens to a coworker, who we’ll call Stacie. Stacie experiences apoplectic panic. She becomes completely unhinged…for hours. If ‘freak out’ becomes a clinical description, she’ll own it. The only thing she can do is go home to calm down. Her day is over.

Some time last year, one of our coworkers sent an email around that included a picture of pure 8-legged villainy. When I opened it, my eyes got big, I couldn’t talk, my pulse rate went through the roof, but neither my heart nor brain exploded. I collected myself, and then I thought about Stacie. She was on the distribution list! I sprinted down the hallway to her office, barged in and yelled, “Back away from the computer right NOW!” Squinting at me as you might any deranged co-worker, she cautiously rolled her chair away from her desk. Disaster averted. “Stacie, there’s an email in your inbox you really don’t want to see. Delete it now. Do not open it.” Her eyes softened with understanding. Stacie was grateful, and I felt downright chivalrous.

What does any of this have to do with the United Way of Salt Lake?

Well, I’m the chair of TDW’s United Way campaign this year, and my experience with Stacie reminds me what our co-workers do when they contribute – they think about someone else. I was proud of my selflessness after the Infamous Spider Email Incident of 2014, but in talking to coworkers about their United Way contributions, I realized that I’m a small fish in a big pond. Take this comment from one of our people:

I lived overseas for 17 years in Africa and India. I’ve seen the worst of poverty and was unable to help everyone there so I helped no one. As an ex-hippie with a Christian heart, I feel a duty to help my fellow community members. I have more than enough, it is only right to give a little back. It makes for good karma and United Way of Salt Lake spreads it around.

I’ve always liked this guy, perhaps because he’d sell me his season tickets to Utah football games, but now I want to grow up to be just like him. He even signed this note back to me with “Peace & Love.” Groovy, man.

TD Williamson

Here’s another one that resonated:

For me, I love United Way’s effort toward helping children. As a mother, I want to make sure my child has a proper education, doesn’t go hungry, and has every opportunity to be their best. I know there are children who don’t have access to the same opportunities. It tugs on your heart strings to think of a child in your own community who might go hungry, be worried about shelter, isn’t supported in their education, etc.

It would be natural for a mother to focus entirely on her own children, but this one spreads her love and support well beyond her family.

There are many more comments like these, and they’ve taught me that selflessness is a way of life at TDW. It begins with the TDWilliamson family who owns the company (and matches our contributions dollar-for-dollar), and it extends to the generosity of its most unassuming employees.

I’d like to say I emulate that behavior, but the best I could come up with was rescuing Stacie from a picture of a spider.**

*It’s still a bastion of pure vile and evilness, and I’m still a hero for saving her. At least in my own mind.


STOEL RIVES — Lip Syncing for a Cause!

Kelsey Koziarby Kelsey Koziar
Business Development Coordinator, STOEL RIVES, LLP
Guest Blogger

This year, for the STOEL RIVES LLP workplace giving campaign, we kept it pretty simple – but we knew that wouldn’t stop folks from wanting to get involved and give to United Way of Salt Lake, in fact, some went all out!

The highlight of the week was the very funny STOEL RIVES Lip Sync Battle!

Six of our attorneys agreed to participate, and the top three that raised the most money got to perform the song of their choice! The winning performance was by Justin Flanagan, with an eye-catching rendition of “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. All for a good cause, right? The rest of the week included raffle items that were donated by various staff members. The STOEL RIVES staff was really excited to have a little fun while giving back to our community.

Photo Jun 25, 2 58 45 PMIt was great to spend the week raising money and awareness about United Way of Salt Lake, and the work they are doing in Community Schools and Neighborhood Centers, to truly change the odds for kids and families in our community. The employees at STOEL RIVES understand that building a strong community is vital to the success of everyone and we are happy to give back – even if it means singing to Miley Cyrus!

Photo Jun 25, 3 03 48 PM

Corporate Social Responsibility – Why it Matters

amy-bosworthby Amy Bosworth
Corporate Relations Director

Recently, I met with an executive of a company to discuss ways to engage its employees in the work of United Way of Salt Lake. After explaining our Collective Impact model and some of the impressive accomplishments that have occurred because of working this way, the executive turned to me and asked, “Why should I care and what do you REALLY want from us?” It was an interesting question, and one that gave me pause.

There are many responses to that question that immediately came to mind; ‘because system-wide change doesn’t happen alone; because a vibrant education experience for children leads to a vibrant, qualified workforce later; because we can address the root of issues now or work through corrections later;’ and the list goes on.

Why business leaders should care:

With all of the very strong and worthy reasons detailed above aside, what this executive needed to hear was that his company would be changed for the better by aligning with United Way of Salt Lake and by utilizing our services to create a Corporate Social Responsibility Program (CSR program). There are certain truths around CSR programs that business leaders should consider as an incentive to positively enhancing a company or corporation. These truths include:

  • Attracting the right people to work for you: Recruiting top-performing employees and keeping them happy is a priority of all thriving corporations.  Charitable giving improves employee engagement by boosting productivity, ethical behavior, gratitude to the organization, and pride in their work.
  • Helping people feel good while working at the same time: With employees more engaged in their work and more pleased with the corporate culture, their morale will naturally be higher.  This leads to less time and productivity lost to “illness”, tardiness, or extended breaks and lunches, as well as lower turnover rates.
  • Meaning it when you use the word “team”: This generally positive attitude in the workplace extends beyond just the rank-and-file employees. When a corporate giving program brings together people from all levels of the organization – from the C-level to the mail room – everyone feels like they are working together toward a common goal. This feeling of effective teamwork will extend beyond the CSR program to positively influence other aspects of their work.

*Reference: Frontstream Blog:

As for what we, United Way of Salt Lake, REALLY want?

Well, the answer to that question is complex and requires businesses, nonprofits, government organizations, school districts, religious affiliations, community stakeholders and caring individuals to join us!

We want to fulfill our promise, that every child and family, regardless of their circumstances, has the same opportunity to succeed in school and in life. We invite companies and corporations to join us as we work to change the odds for kids and families in our most at-risk neighborhoods. Simply put, we can’t do it alone.

To learn how to align your business to create a more energized and committed workforce, contact Amy Bosworth,

Savage LIVE UNITED Volunteers

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Why Do Target Employees Give to UWSL? ‘If you want to feel good, do good’!

Mike Wattsby Mike Watts
Community Investment Advisor

Target team members understand that in order to have a strong business, the surrounding community needs to be healthy. Supporting communities by giving to United Way has been a cornerstone of Target’s business since 1962. This legacy of longstanding commitment to community engagement is a source of pride for Target team members.

Target Here is what a few have to say about why they give:

“When I follow the motto ‘If you want to feel good, do good’, I feel a sense of happiness and peace. Helping others gives me the opportunity to make connections with people I might not otherwise have the opportunity to meet. Giving to others brings me joy, reduces my stress level, and helps me put my own life into perspective.”
~ Dayna, Target Team Member

“The reason I give is because earlier on in life I needed the help and support of the United Way for my kids. Now that I am able, I make sure to donate every year and give back to help others since I needed help at one point.”
~ Karen, Target Team Member

“Growing up with a single dad who took care of 4 girls, I knew he was wearing himself thin and I knew my sisters and I were not helping his stress. Then, he started making me and my two older sisters to go to a afterschool program close by our house. The program helped us with homework and we made friends with Kellie, who taught us how to respect others and ourselves. I later found out that this program was funded by United Way and I have given every year since working here. I know it’s not much, but my circumstances could have been very different had it not been for those volunteers and United Way.”
~ Anonymous Team Member

I give because I can; you never know when something is going to drastically change in your life, and you never know when you will need that help and support.”
~ Laurie, Target Team Member

“I got involved in my first United Way campaign in 1990 as the coordinator and have been leading campaigns for Target stores for the last 25 years. I have seen the direct results that United Way plays in our community and how it serves individuals. I have enjoyed each campaign and enjoy sharing the benefits to my team during our United Way campaigns.”
~ Bert, Target Team Member

Because Bert has been giving for over 20 years, he and other Target Team Members who have been giving for this long are recognized as a Diamond Donors. To learn more about United Way of Salt Lake’s Donor Networks, visit

Thank you to all the Target team members who pledge to GIVE, ADVOCATE, and VOLUNTEER by working with United Way of Salt Lake. You are truly helping to make our community a better places to live and work.

Thank you for taking care of our community! Way to LIVE UNITED!

Hexcel Does the Hulk Smash for UWSL!

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 10.20.41 AMby Carol Affeltranger
Executive Assistant, Hexcel Corporation

Hexcel’s United Way of Salt Lake campaign has come to an end for 2015. We exceeded our goal again this year, and, as in previous years, Hexcel matched all funds that employees raised! We had a lot of fun while raising money for a good cause.

IMG_7635Our theme was “Marvel May for United Way.” We had life size cut-outs of “Avengers” action heroes, which we raffled off. Every year we do a Hot-Dog-a-Palooza where we grill up and sell hundreds of hotdogs and bratwursts, with all proceeds going to United Way. Everyone loves this fun tradition, and we doubled the money that we raised from last year. To tie it all together, the campaign concluded with a 5K fun run/walk on the Jordan River Parkway. It was a beautiful end to a bit rainy campaign!

IMG_2801Hulk2At Hexcel, we really know how to work hard and play hard — all for our community. We know that we can make a tremendous impact on the schools in our area, and that even the small donations make a difference. These monthly payroll contributions make it possible to help UWSL do important Collective Impact work in our Community so that kids and families succeed in school and in life.

Thank you to all of the Hexcel volunteers that put in so much time and effort into making our UWSL campaign a success and for LIVING UNITED!


Celebration of Service Honoree, President’s Award for Excellence: Daniels Fund

Chelsea Nelsonby Chelsea Nelson
Digital Marketing Director

Today is the big day! We are so excited for Celebration of Service! We have one more honoree before today’s event!

At this annual event, United Way of Salt Lake has the great privilege to honor outstanding individuals and organizations in our neighborhoods and communities. These people and organizations are truly making a difference, proving every day what it means to LIVE UNITED. The honorees of the 2015 Celebration of Service awards are committed to working with United Way of Salt Lake to solve our communities’ toughest challenges. They engage their will, passion, expertise, and resources to improve lives and build a stronger community for us all.

We hope you will be joining us in celebration of their
contributions at this fun and inspiring event!

Daniels FundToday, we are thrilled to announce the President’s Award for Excellence: Daniels Fund.

This award recognizes individuals or organizations that champion United Way of Salt Lake’s efforts to create lasting change in our community through collaboration, leadership, commitment, resources and time spent working to solve community problems. The award demonstrates outstanding commitment to the mission of United Way Salt Lake.

United Way of Salt Lake is proud to partner with some of the most profound and inspiring institutions in the country, and Daniels Fund is no exception. On November 19, 2014 at its third annual Funders Summit, United Way of Salt Lake was privileged to highlight a significant strategic partnership with Daniels Fund. Committed to fulfilling Bill Daniels’ vision to make life better for the people of Utah, the Denver-based foundation aligned a $5 million investment to strengthen United Way of Salt Lake’s Promise Partners and Community Schools—helping to ensure every child succeeds, every step of the way, from cradle to career. By aligning goals of both organizations to ensure the best possible impact when addressing the needs of our community, this investment in Utah’s future will make an impact on at-risk students, and their families, for years to come.

Daniels Fund New Scholars at Capitol

It is an honor to recognize Daniels Fund for its exceptional commitment to the community and to changing the odds with the 2015 President’s Awards for Excellence.

Zions Bank: Leading the Way in Our Community!

allison-tby Allison Temnick
Community Investment Advisor

As any Utahn knows, Zions Bank is one of the largest financial institutions in our area. With over 125 branches spread across Utah and Idaho, Zions has a huge presence in our community. Its impact spreads far beyond banking—you would be hard pressed to find a major sporting event or cultural activity in Salt Lake that Zions Bank did not help to support. What some people don’t know is that Zions’ impact in the community is about much more than sponsorships. Zions has shown its commitment by being one of United Way of Salt Lake’s biggest supporters, and this year’s United Way campaign was no exception.

Zions 1(1)Because of its huge size, Zions has various locations with significantly different styles for both work and fundraising. At the Zions Bank Building, Campaign Manager Stephanie Horne, invited employees to get a professional headshot taken for a donation to United Way. Additionally, executives like Scott Anderson, Harris Simmons, and LeeAnne Linderman promoted the campaign internally. At TOPS, a group that is a part of Zions Bancorporation in West Valley, employees purchased casual day stickers, hosted bake sales, and even manned a root-beer-float cart that they wheeled around the office throughout the week. The treasury management department decided to get involved with United Way year-round through volunteerism. They toured Guadalupe School, a United Way of Salt Lake Community School, and agreed to participate in the after-school program on a monthly basis. On top of all of these things, Zions hosted two leadership lunches, six workplace presentations, and hosted an online auction to raise additional funds for United Way. Clearly, Zions employees went above and beyond during this year’s campaign!

When it was all said and done, Zions raised over $30,000 more than they did last year for United Way of Salt Lake! Additionally, Zions organized United Way campaigns for all Zions employees, and Zions employees were able to raise over $730,000 for United Ways in Utah and Idaho.

LeeAnne 2Thank you Zions for LIVING UNITED and reminding us
that you haven’t forgotten who keeps you in business!

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