At United Way, we spend a lot of time listening. We listen to the families in need who are navigating economic uncertainty and the lingering effects of the pandemic. We listen to our funded partner agencies and the data we gather about what is working and where more help is needed. These insights and observations are incredibly valuable. They help us focus our time and attention where we can make the biggest impact in the areas of education, income and health.
We also listen to our corporate partners and union leaders who collectively help us power this work. And, one refrain has emerged that has filled us with hope and pride: “Strong communities are important to corporate success.”
We caught up with a few of our connections at John Deere, Arconic, Russell and elsewhere around the community to help us unpack that idea and explore how our corporate partners show they care about their employees, neighbors and the health and success of the Quad Cities.
Deere’s Legacy of Leadership
A company is only as strong as the community that surrounds it. This is a powerful belief shared by John Deere.
“John Deere’s success is a reflection of the entire community’s success,” said Nate Clark, Global Director, Corporate Social Responsibility at John Deere & President of the John Deere Foundation.
John Deere has been a partner of ours since the very beginning, more than 50 years ago. Deere is the Quad Cities’ top employer, and this year it was honored in The Civic 50, which recognizes the 50 most community-minded companies in the nation each year.
In addition to being a top corporate partner of United Way, Deere’s union partners have helped strengthen opportunity through volunteerism and employee engagement, with 1,400+ employees volunteering across the Quad Cities in the last year alone.
“United Way allows the community to set the direction for what we wish to achieve to ensure equitable access to things like education, to things like access to job opportunities and access to health care — all things that we know are essential to the prosperity that we wish to enjoy and that we wish to see in the world around us.”
Arconic Takes the Long View
From helping neighbors in need to powering the future workforce, Arconic’s corporate philanthropy and investments have contributed to a healthier Quad Cities, in which more residents have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
According to John Riches, Communications & Public Affairs Manager at Arconic: “We understand the importance of United Way's focus on education, income and health that really makes a difference for us going forward to be able to make sure we can have the workforce that we need to be successful for the next decade or two, as well.”
Arconic has partnered with United Way for decades through employee giving campaigns and community volunteer projects. This Fortune 500 company sponsored United Way’s Fall 2022 Day of Caring and Campaign Associate Leadership Program that helps us provide crucial guidance and customer service to support about 250 workplace campaigns in the Quad Cities.
“The bottom line is, with United Way, people who need help get help,” Riches said.
“Giving is Good Business” at Russell
“We believe giving is good business.” That’s what Caitlin Russell, President at Russell Co., told us when she shared why her company gives back. Russell’s leadership and generosity help contribute to a safer, more prosperous community in which more residents have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
United Way partners are leaders in corporate citizenship who leverage their employee talent, business models and assets to create deep impact that drives transformational change. And Russell is a prime example through their annual workplace giving campaign and volunteerism in United Way initiatives.
“United Way is the organization best positioned to mobilize resources and people to make an impact in our community. At Russell, we participate in Read United, we participate in the Day of Caring and we host an annual campaign. We believe that the impact of education, income, and health has a ripple effect within our community and our team.”
A Community 250+ Strong
Across the Quad Cities, companies large and small across a variety of industries play a critical role in improving education, economic mobility, health and quality of life in the Quad Cities.
Thank you to John Deere, Arconic, Russell and the hundreds of companies across the Quad Cities who have chosen to invest in United Way’s community impact.
We understand that corporate philanthropy is a key driver in achieving business continuity, productivity and workforce development — especially during continued challenging times. And we serve as a trusted corporate social responsibility extension to hundreds of local businesses and organizations that represent over 15,000 employees.
Thank you to all our businesses, unions and organizations who show up for their community through their partnership.
Special thank you to union affiliates with John Deere: IAMAW Lodge 1191, UAW Local 281, UAW Local 434, UAW Local 79 and UAW Local 865; union affiliates with Arconic: IBEW Local 1379 and USW Local 105; and union affiliates with Russell: Laborers Local Union 309 and UBCJA Local 4U.