Sentry raises $1.215 million for United Way

Special for the Metro Wire

For the fifth year in a row, Sentry Insurance and its employees have rallied to top a million dollars in support of United Way of Portage County. This year’s total of $1.215 million—announced late last week at a private event in the Sentry Theater—includes employee pledges, special events fundraising, and a matching donation from the Sentry Insurance Foundation.

That total, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of the United Way’s 2019 community goal, was celebrated Monday at a United Way community goal post in Stevens Point. The donation—evidence of true public spirit—has helped the United Way reach 80 percent of its goal this year.

“This community has persevered for generations, always looking to reach out a hand to our most vulnerable populations,” said Sue Wilcox, United Way of Portage County Executive Director. “For many decades, Sentry and its employees have persevered and, in the words of Rollin Mabie, a community fundraiser from the 1940s, you should be proud of the unselfish work you do, and continue to do, on behalf of all of us.”

Sentry Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO Pete McPartland presented a $1.215 million check Thursday to Wilcox during a campaign coordinators’ celebration at the Sentry Theater.

“Our associates have a terrific time doing this campaign. Each year, they come up with new, inventive ways to help raise money,” McPartland said. “This contribution reflects their giving hearts and support of this great community.”

McPartland also acknowledged the effort that Sentry United Way Executive Sponsor Nick Saeger and his 2019 executive team of Becca Bertagnoli, Linda Calnan, Scott Hellberg, Dan Lau, Ethan Tonn, and Dan Zastava put into organizing the two-week campaign in September.

“It’s our fellow associates who do the work that [sic] make the campaign so successful,” Saeger said. “This couldn’t happen without their investment of time and resources. I’m extremely proud of their efforts. They have all helped make a great impact on the people of Portage County.”

Special events organized by employees included a Fall Festival with music, games, and food. Other fundraisers included silent auctions, a Cutie Pet Contest, Sentry’s Got Talent competition, special meals, and bake sales.

A Sentry employee and retiree golf outing at SentryWorld golf course raised $23,000.

The 2019 contribution was a $15,000 increase over last year’s $1.2 million total. For the eighth 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 and initiatives focused on improving the areas of education, financial stability, and health in the county.

The annual Sentry United Way campaign first topped $1 million in 2015. With this year’s donation, Sentry Insurance and its employees have contributed more than $17 million to the United Way of Portage County since 2000.