By Patrick Lynn
Sentry Insurance and its employees topped a million dollars in their campaign for the United Way of Portage County for a fourth consecutive year.
This year’s total of $1.2 million was announced Nov. 1 during an event in the Sentry Theater and includes employee pledges, special events fundraising, and a matching donation from the Sentry Insurance Foundation.
Sentry CEO Pete McPartland said the company’s staff infused a great deal of “energy and enthusiasm” into the United Way campaign every year.
McPartland said the two-week campaign was organized by Sentry United Way Campaign Executive Sponsor Aaron Deering and his 2018 executive team of Charlie Hoyord, Kelly Kovatch, Carrie Dreger, Jeff Cole, and Dustin Loutsenhizer. The campaign took place in September during special events organized by employees, including a fall festival with music, games, and food; special dress-up days; silent auctions, trivia contests, and a golf tournament.
“This deep well of support for the United Way begins with a company that’s thriving,” McPartland said, “with leadership and associates who are passionate about their work and who take to heart what they can do for their communities.”
Sue Wilcox, Executive Director of the United Way of Portage Co., said strong community support made the organization was “the envy of other United Ways”.
“What you do is special,” Wilcox said. “Your record of creativity, hard work, fun, and compassion has [sic] built a reputation that each of you should be proud of.”
The 2018 contribution was a $50,000 increase over last year’s $1.15 million total. For the seventh year in a row, more than 90 percent of the company’s Stevens Point employees contributed to the campaign.
United Way of Portage County distributes the funds it collects to 30 partner programs focused on improving the areas of education, income, health, and community basics in the county.
The annual Sentry United Way campaign first topped $1 million in 2015. With this year’s donation, Sentry Insurance and their employees have contributed more than $16 million to the United Way of Portage County since 2000.