2021 Stronger United Awards Celebration
On Thursday, March 18, we took to the Peace Center stage to celebrate and recognize the impact of our generous donors and volunteers during our virtual 2021 Stronger United Community Awards Celebration.
Among the awards presented were three United Way Spirit Awards, our highest honor for community service and leadership. Greenville County Schools Food and Nutrition Services and Director Joe Urban received the Spirit Award for quickly developing and instituting a plan to serve meals to students and families across the district after schools were forced to close in March to stop the spread of COVID-19. By May, they had served more than a million meals, and the number only grew as the team continued to provide meals all summer long at school drive-throughs, as well as 70 community bus stops across the county.
The County of Greenville was also recognized with the Spirit Award for its response to COVID-19. One month after the federal CARES Act was signed into law last March, the County received more than $91 million in aid and was tasked with developing a plan to distribute it. County Council approved a budget outline that prioritized small businesses and nonprofits, including $37 million for 56 community organizations providing much needed assistance for food insecurity, utility assistance, housing and more. Included in that total was $2.5 million to United Way that helped launch our Keep the Lights On initiative for families struggling to keep up with utility bills. Thanks to that grant, more than 3,600 Greenville County households – approximately 9,000 people – were helped.
The third Spirit Award honoree was the late Courtney Woods-Hastings, a longtime United Way volunteer who served countless hours supporting our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, assisting clients in free tax preparation and filing, as well as being a voice and advocate in the community for those in need. The award was presented to her husband, Phillip, on her behalf.
Michelin North America turned in the largest workplace campaign in 2020, followed by Prisma Health, Greenville County Schools, Publix Super Markets, GE, Canal Insurance Company, TD Bank, ITW Hartness, Fluor Corporation Greenville, and Mitsubishi Polyester Film, Inc.
Other honorees included:
- The Campaign Award of Excellence to 166 companies.
- The Chairman’s Award to 17 companies.
- The Campaign Award of Advancement to 16 companies for achieving a 25 percent increase in employee giving.
- The Premier Award to five organizations for running their first United Way campaign: Endeavor, Greenville Triumph Soccer Club, NCEES, Pacolet Milliken and Wabtec.
- The Most Creative Event Award to Resurgent Capital Services.
- The Outstanding Campaign Coordinator Award to Jacob Coursey with ITW Hartness.
- The Above and Beyond Campaign Award to UBS Financial Services
- The Rising Star Engagement Award to McMillan Pazdan Smith
- The All-Star Engagement Award to Prisma Health
The Rising Star Engagement Award recognizes organizations who were motivated to support United Way’s mission and needs in the community through volunteerism in 2020. During this challenging year, McMillan Pazdan Smith understood the true meaning of Living United by hosting a food collection in partnership with United Way’s Food First Drive, uplifting families facing food insecurity in the wake of COVID-19; through their School Tools collection drive, ensuring students have the supplies they need to be successful in school; and by making spirits bright for OnTrack Greenville students through their support of Project Joy. McMillan Pazdan Smith also recognizes the importance of growing the next generation of community leaders and supported several young professionals’ participation in That’s My Greenville and The Great Conversation. Their generosity is creating a better future for our neighbors and a better “right now” for those in crisis.
The All-Star Engagement Award recognizes outstanding organizations who deepened their investment in United Way’s mission by engaging in volunteer activities that impacted our community’s most vulnerable. Through their partnership with United Way, Prisma Health — including their medical students and Clemson Nursing students — conducted and staffed PPE drives across three of their campuses, packed hygiene kits and snack bags for frontline healthcare workers, and grocery shopped and delivered food to individuals and families without access to transportation. Their volunteers were also trained to make wellness calls to veterans. Prisma Health employees, along with the students of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and Clemson School of Nursing, made our community stronger by empowering others during a time of need.
Watch excerpts from our 2021 Stronger United Awards Celebration below:
Thanks to the collective support of this incredible community, we raised nearly $5 million through our COVID-19 Relief Fund to meet the basic needs of our most vulnerable neighbors. In total, we invested more than $13 million in Greenville County through grants, direct services, COVID-19 relief, and strategic programs that serve our community every day. You can learn more about our impact last year in our 2020 Report to the Community.
Thank you for making this work possible and continuing to support our mission to build a Greenville County where all people have access to the opportunities to achieve their full potential.
We truly are Stronger United.