Sentry pulls out all the stops to bring in $1.2M for United Way

Metro Wire Staff

Sentry employees and the Sentry Insurance Foundation have rallied to donate $1,225,000 in support of United Way of Portage County during its 75th year of existence in the community.

This year’s total announced late this week at a private virtual event—includes employee pledges, special events fundraising, and a matching donation from the foundation.

That total accounts for 40 percent of the United Way’s 2020 community goal of $3,050,000.

“We are continually amazed with [sic] the strength and fortitude shown by all Sentry associates in support of the communities where you live and work. This year, with a vast majority of Sentry associates working remotely, both here and in communities all around the country, and in addition to the many obstacles your team faced in rewriting your campaign playbook in the midst of a pandemic – we could not be more proud of you,” said Sue Wilcox, executive director of the United Way of Portage County. “Each one of you is a gift.”

Sentry presented a $1,225,000 check Thursday to Wilcox during a virtual campaign coordinators’ celebration. Later, Sentry Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO Pete McPartland shared his thoughts on this year’s campaign.

“When faced with the challenge of raising funds through virtual events, Sentry employees rallied to conduct a spirited two-week campaign,” McPartland said. “Recognizing the need in our community runs especially deep this year, they also stepped up their personal giving to United Way. Their generous level of giving reflects their community mindfulness and the trust they have in the vitality and strength of Sentry, which they’ve helped build and maintain year after year.”

McPartland also acknowledged the effort that Sentry United Way Leadership Committee Chair Linda Calnan and the 2020 Committee of Brenda Bierman, Holly Dimodica, Scott Hellberg, Dan Lau, Jeffrey Rasmussen, Robert Yeiser, and Dan Zastava put into organizing the campaign. Wilcox also recognized the extraordinary effort put forth this year by the 2020 Sentry campaign leadership team.

To help celebrate the achievement of Sentry Insurance and the stabilizing force it has been for United Way of Portage County, 2020 co-chairs in attendance included Lorraine Avery, Mary Berard, Jason and Jenny Blenker, Marg Coker-Nelson, London Cooper, Kathy Davies, Mike Hofmeister, Alex Okray, and Tina Peters. Two 2020 co-chairs unable to attend the check presentation were Jim Anderson and Den Brown.

Sentry employees organized virtual fundraisers that included a Sentry video competition, interactive social events, photo contest, scavenger hunt, trivia, wellness events, a cooking competition, and online sales.

United Way of Portage County focuses on the most vulnerable populations in our community through collaboration with 28 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. With this year’s donation, Sentry employees and the Sentry Insurance Foundation have contributed more than $17.5 million to the United Way of Portage County since 2000.

Wilcox included in her comments a quote from Stephen Hawking.

“Hawking once said, ‘Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.’ I believe this,” she said. “It’s clear that you believe it too—because you live it. It’s also clear to me that you are some of the smartest, and most generous people we could ever have as our friends—and as our champions. Please know that we love you and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”