Iredell News

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Iredell Health System Receives United Way Spirit of NC Award

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 said.

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.)

Categories: General News