Cirris Systems – a Small Company Filled with Big Hearts

Mike Wattsby Mike Watts
Community Investment Advisor

Cirris Systems – a small company filled with big hearts, cables, wires, and toast.

Unless you are a cable testing enthusiast, you may not have heard of Cirris Systems. For over 30 years, Cirris Systems has been a world leader in manufacturing cable testers. For almost as long, Cirris Systems employees have been giving to United Way of Salt Lake. In fact, 12 out of the 50 employees at Cirris Systems are members of the Diamond Donor network. These are donors that have contributed to United Way for 20 years or more!!
So, why are Cirris System employees so dedicated to making a difference in our community? This is how they answer that question in their own words:

“I feel blessed with the job I have and the friends I work and associate with. I have been fortunate enough to meet my needs and fulfill many of my wants. There are people in our community that are not as fortunate and sometimes need a helping hand.  There are many worthwhile organizations that have been established to help those who may be in need of assistance, and as much as one would like to, it is impossible to give to all of them.  I like that United Way works with many different organizations to help individuals and families within a community become stronger and more self sufficient, rather than just apply a “band-aid” to temporarily fix a problem. I do not have the knowledge to do this, and the fact that 100 percent of my donation goes to meet community needs is a plus when choosing which organization to contribute to. Also the payroll deduction option makes donating easy and hassle free.” –Anonymous

“United Way of Salt Lake has always shown they do what they claim they do.”  –Tony

“I often see people in the community that need help. I feel that by giving through United Way of Salt Lake, my giving can be the most effective.”  –Kevin

“I want to help in the community but don’t know where the needs are. This is a perfect way to contribute to the community and know that my money is being used in the best possible way.”  –Annette

“Being able to see what United Way of Salt Lake has done for communities in need has been a major driving factor in my contributing. It is amazing to think that children and families are able to receive healthcare and get the education they deserve because of contributions to United Way!”  –Sheena

Thank you, Cirris Systems, for LIVING UNITED!!!

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Rocky Mountain Power Executives in Scuba Gear? Find Out Why!

allison-tby Allison Temnick
Community Investment Advisor

One of the biggest corporate benefits of a United Way campaign is the way it can boost the morale of employees. Rocky Mountain Power took it up a notch this year by hosting an online auction, a golf tournament, and a community giving festival!

This year’s online auction was a huge success, raising over $35,000 in just three days. Rocky Mountain Power had incredible items like hotel packages, tickets to sporting events, televisions, and even a guitar autographed by the Rolling Stones. Rocky Mountain Power also hosted its annual golf tournament recently, which was bigger than ever! More than 170 golfers showed up bright and early for a day of fun to raise additional donations for United Way of Salt Lake.

The highlight of all of these campaign activities was just a few weeks ago, when Rocky Mountain Power employees were invited to take some time out of their jobs to attend a Community Giving Festival. The event included a barbecue, DJ, and everyone’s favorite event – a dunk tank for executives from the company!

DSC_0458As you can imagine, the dunk tank was the highlight of the afternoon – one Rocky Mountain Power executive received 600 votes for the dunk tank before the festival even got started! To add to the fun, many executives dressed up in costumes and taunted employees who were trying to dunk them. Rocky Mountain Power’s CEO Cindy Crane took it to the next level by dressing up in a full scuba suit for the event!

DSC_0469Thank you, Rocky Mountain Power, for being a great example of corporate social responsibility and for putting the “fun” in fundraising!

You all know what it means to LIVE UNITED! 

DSC_0470Rocky Mountain Power

On Being a Fundraiser

Megan Richardsby Megan Richards
Community Investment Advisor

When people ask me what I do, the easiest answer is “I’m a fundraiser.”

This elicits varied responses with one of the most common being “good for you — but I could never do that.” When people try to envision themselves as fundraisers they simply think of how uncomfortable they feel asking colleagues for money, but I want to expand that view.

As a fundraiser, I get to see the best side of people. I get to see when people are generous, caring, and concerned — not only about those close to them but also our community at large. And this is not uncommon in my work. According to the 2014 World Giving Index, a comprehensive study of Gallup polls conducted each year by the Charities Aid Foundation, the United States ranks in the top ten nations in the world for citizens donating money, and we are first in the world of donations, volunteering, and helping a stranger are considered in unison (1). And I get to be a fundraiser here!
If people are going to give, then I as a fundraiser want to make sure their money is going to make a measurable difference. At United Way of Salt Lake we take our promise to change the odds for children and families very seriously. Every day we work with local schools, business, governments, and other nonprofits to align resources and bring services to where they are needed most. Best of all, we are seeing results and sharing them with those who donated to make change possible (2).

Parsons volunteer 1
So the next time your boss or your employees ask you to run a United Way charitable giving campaign and you feel a moment of panic thinking of asking your colleagues for donations, step back and remember this: we are a charitable nation. People – our friends, family, and colleagues – want to give and want to make a difference in their community!

Let’s open pathways for them to be part of something bigger and to make meaningful change. Let’s make it possible for everyone to LIVE UNITED.

Savage LIVE UNITED Volunteers

ˡ Charities Aid Foundation. (2014). World Giving Index 2014. Retrieved from
2 Promise Partnership Regional Council (2015). The promise of partnership: Aligning action for results. Retrieved from

Why am I Invested in United Way of Salt Lake?

SeanSlatter 5195 BWby Sean Slatter
CEO, Logistic Specialties, Inc (LSI)
Executive Committee and Davis County Chair
United Way of Salt Lake Board of Directors,
Guest Blogger


My involvement with United Way stems back more than 20 years, when LSI was looking for a way to better support the community—to build something to tie the company to the community. A small team was tasked with identifying opportunities and proposing recommendations. Reflecting back, it’s not a coincidence that United Way was presented as the best option for building a partnership in community giving.

Our first corporate campaign was nothing short of a success, with 100 percent participation and the highest per capita giving to United Way in Davis County. When these results were replicated the following year, I found myself on the receiving end of an eager invitation to join the United Way board!

LSI stamp copyWhat has drawn me to United Way, and what keeps this partnership energizing decades later, can be summed up in a word—innovation. United Way of Salt Lake has been at the forefront of efforts to address systemic social issues in our community in a more fundamental and effective away, and to execute best practices with better-leveraged resources to truly change the odds.

The essence of United Way is improving individual lives and building stronger communities. I’m honored to serve, and I look forward to what we can collectively accomplish over the next 20 years!

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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