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Sentry pledges record amount for United Way

By Brandi Makuski

The Sentry Insurance Foundation has pledged a record amount for the 2021 Portage Co. United Way campaign.

The Foundation made the announcement during a virtual event on Oct. 28. The record-setting total includes employee pledges, special events fundraising, and a matching donation from the foundation for both current and retired Sentry employees.

The $1.23 million in pledges accounts for 40 percent of United Way of Portage County’s 2021 community goal of $3,075,000.

Sentry employees and the Sentry Foundation have a long history of supporting our community’s most vulnerable populations. Since 2000, they have contributed more than $18.7 million to the United Way of Portage County.

With most of the company’s employees working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company employed a virtual fundraising strategy, replacing in-person cooking and other competitions with online silent auctions, a virtual trivia contest, organized a digital photo contest, and a virtual variety show, among other events.

“You make life a little easier and a little more manageable for so many of our most vulnerable populations here in Portage County and in so many other communities that you serve and where you give back,” said Sue Wilcox, United Way of Portage County executive director. “In many situations, your support changes lives. In some, you save lives. Thank you, Sentry, for another incredible year.”

Sentry Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO Pete McPartland shared his thoughts on this year’s campaign during the virtual meeting last week. 

“Sentry employees faced the challenges of the pandemic by uniting for a common goal—serving our customers and communities,” he said. “Knowing the lingering impact of the pandemic continues to cause hardships on so many fronts, our associates gave with their hearts. I’m not surprised by their generosity. It’s a great outcome and we’re going to continue to build on it year in and year out.”

McPartland also acknowledged the effort that Sentry United Way leadership committee chair Rob Yeiser and his team—Jeff Cole, Brenda Bierman, Holly Dimodica, Jeff Rasmussen, Carolyn Davis, Peg Zwicker, and Charles Staeven—put into organizing the campaign. Wilcox equated their effort to scaling Mount Everest.

To help celebrate the success of Sentry’s campaign, 2021 United Way campaign co-chairs in attendance included Ariel Welling, BJ Welling, Justin Adamski, Rachael Gadbois, Joe Kinsella Sr., Joe M. Kinsella, Marg Coker-Nelson, and Tina Peters. Two 2021 co-chairs unable to attend the check presentation were Dan Kinsella and Paul Adamski.

United Way of Portage County focuses on the most vulnerable populations in our community through collaboration with 30 partner programs and two initiatives with an emphasis on education, financial stability, and health—the building blocks for a good quality of life and a strong community.

The annual Sentry United Way campaign first topped $1 million in 2015.

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