A Spirit of Giving Permeates Autauga County's Corporate Community
Everyone has heard the saying, “It is better to give than to receive.” In Autauga County, several major employers consistently put that concept into action.
“Without a doubt, Autauga County is a community of caring and compassion,” says Melody Colvert, director of the River Region United Way-Autauga County. “Our businesses and citizens show it in so many ways, and United Way giving is just one example of that.”
River Region United Way
The River Region United Way helps fund 46 agencies in three key impact areas – education, income and health. In 2011, the organization served more than 140,000 people.
“Thanks to a company match of 60 cents for each dollar pledged by employees, International Paper collectively donated more than $131,000 this year,” Colvert says. “Publix pledged more than $51,000.”
Many of International Paper’s 500-plus employees volunteer with agencies that receive United Way funding, which gives them a personal connection.
“I am continually amazed by the commitment and generosity of our employees,” says Don Forst, mill manager at IP Prattville. “I – and the entire board – appreciate their dedication. The River Region United Way wouldn’t be as successful if not for IP employees who go above and beyond each year.”
International Paper Foundation
International Paper also provides thousands of dollars in grants each year to local organizations through the International Paper Foundation. Through various giving programs, IP Prattville donated almost $80,000 to the local community in 2011, in addition to its employees’ United Way contributions and hours of service.
“Corporate philanthropy is important to International Paper because our employees are the reason for our success, and supporting the communities where we live and work upholds our promise to do the right things in the right way and for the right reasons,” says Susan Poole, mill communications manager at IP Prattville. “We support, enhance and respect our community by being active citizens. With the goal of making people’s lives better, we continually strive to make an impact on the community.”
United Way Kickoff Event
United Way held its annual kickoff event in August 2012 at the Prattville YMCA Willis Bradford Branch, one of the 46 agencies that meet needs for local residents.
“This was the second year for the Bradford Branch to host this wonderful event,” Colvert says. “Alabama Power Co. employees volunteered their time to cook hamburgers and hot dogs for 200 people who attended. At our kickoff, International Paper donated 1,200 reams of copy paper to the Autauga County Board of Education. And Publix, Best Buy and community volunteers donated cases and cases of school supplies to our local school system.”
That kind of generous giving is common among Prattville citizens and businesses, where generations of families have been dedicated to supporting friends and neighbors.
“This is a special community,” Forst says. “Our employees and their families take such pride in this region, and IP is fortunate to be a part of it.”
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