United Way of Iredell County announced Friday that Iredell Health System
has been awarded the Spirit of North Carolina Award.
The award, presented by United Way of North Carolina at its Spirit of
North Carolina Award Luncheon in Greensboro on February 17, recognizes
businesses and other organizations that are leading their communities
in embracing a united spirit of giving and volunteering that extends beyond
the traditional United Way campaign season.
Winners were determined by a panel of 18 judges from United Way organizations
across the state and selected based on seven “standards of excellence.”
They have not only demonstrated excellence in their United Way campaign
but also a strong philanthropic culture and community partnership. In
addition to campaign participation and donations received, winning organizations
received high marks for their overall organizational volunteer culture,
including collaborative work with United Way as well as other organizations
in the community; the benefit their employees receive from involvement
in the community; and the role their leadership plays in promoting a culture
of philanthropy and community support. Iredell Health System was the only
organization in Iredell County to receive the award.
“The Spirit of North Carolina Award captures the collective, hands-on
partnerships United Way of Iredell County is building with our supporters,”
said Brett Eckerman, Executive Director of United Way of Iredell County.
“We are honored to have Iredell Health System as a key partner in
making our community a place where everyone has the opportunity to reach
their full potential.”
Although IHS has been a leading donor to the United Way for many years,
the result of this year’s fundraising campaign was better than anyone
had expected. In about a month’s time, employees racked up pledges
of more than $107,000, a 40% increase over the level of last year’s
giving. It’s the largest employee-based donation from any group
to the United Way of Iredell County since 2008. More than half of the
1,570 IHS employees made a contribution.
“We are grateful for the overwhelming generosity of our employees,”
said Tom Sherrod, Director of Pastoral Care at Iredell Health System and
the Health System’s United Way chairperson.
Sherrod and a committee of other employees looked for ways to motivate
employees to give during the most recent campaign. There were incentives
like tumblers, free meals in the cafeteria and a chance to win Panthers
tickets. The most powerful motivation, however, came from awareness of
the United Way’s mission in the community. Business Office Director
Keith Williams said he knew that knowledge would inspire his staff.
“They’re the kind of people, if they know what they are doing
is going to benefit someone else, they are more likely to get involved,”
Williams invited the executive director of community outreach organization
I-Care to speak to business office employees. In the presentation, the
office staff listened to some of I-Care’s success stories, like
that of a homeless man who was able to find a job and housing with their
help. I-Care receives funding from the United Way.
“We passed out pledge forms not too long after that,” said
Williams. “When employees started sending them back in, many who
never gave before signed up to give for the first time.”
The donations will help 20 United Way partner agencies provide services
related to education, health and income-based needs. Eckerman said the
number on the check represents more than just a dollar amount.
“The most exciting thing about this check is the tens of thousands
of individuals who those dollars represent in services,” said Eckerman.
“Whether it's Meals on Wheels or afterschool care, those kinds
of services are made possible because of support like this, and this donation
is going to go a long way toward improving the lives of so many people.”
“Our employees are not just patient-focused, but are also community-minded,”
said John Green, Vice President of Professional Services and Facilities
Planning for IHS. “It makes us so proud.”
(Photo: Iredell Health System (IHS) received the United Way Spirit of NC
Award on Friday, Feb. 17 at an awards ceremony in Greensboro. Pictured
from left to right: Lisa Tate, IHS; Tom Sherrod, IHS; Brett Eckerman,
Executive Director of the United Way of Iredell County; Meagan Kowalski,
IHS; Bud Welch, United Way Board member; Jackie Sharpe, IHS; and Dorothy
Woodard, United Way Board member.)