It’s no secret that we have great partners at United Way of Metro Chicago. We’re able to join forces with some of the best, brightest and most benevolent business leaders across the region in our fight for stronger communities. While there are endless ways that our corporate partners invest in the neighborhoods we serve, we wanted to highlight a few that are making significant strides toward improving outcomes.
BMO Harris Bank
Investing in communities and helping others is in the DNA of BMO Harris Bank, as reflected by their slogan “We’re here to help.” As a longstanding partner of United Way, BMO has gone above and beyond to contribute to thriving communities across the Chicago region. In 2013, BMO Harris Bank’s cornerstone investment was crucial to the launch of the Neighborhood Network Initiative. Since then, they have continued to support this community-based work, committing a total investment of $3 million over 8 years, which has enabled the expansion of our work within the 10 neighborhoods we serve.
Wells Fargo has been a champion of communities in need and a dedicated partner of United Way for years. In 2016, they decided to focus their efforts to strategically invest in bringing critical resources to one neighborhood. Their three-year financial commitment to the Austin Neighborhood Network has helped improve families’ access to quality early-childhood learning opportunities and job skills development and referral programs within the neighborhood. This focused approach is also reflected in their volunteerism, with Wells Fargo team members spending the majority of their volunteer hours in the Austin community.
Our partners at Target have fully “bought in” to the work of United Way. One of their greatest areas of impact has been the $100,000 back-to-school shopping sprees. This annual event provides 100 students in each of our 10 Neighborhood Networks with a $100 gift card to spend on supplies they need for the new school year. United Way works with the lead agency in each Neighborhood Network to identify the students with the greatest need, then Target organizes a shopping spree complete with healthy foods and drinks, free transportation, and a fun-filled day for the entire family. Local politicians, school leaders and agency partners all came out for last year’s shopping spree, truly making this a community-wide event.
A leading advocate of our work in education, Exelon partnered with United Way of Metro Chicago to create the Stay in School Initiative (SIS). This program selects students in 9th – 12th grade from some of the most underserved communities in our region and provides them with the tools and mentorship they need to make it to high school graduation and prepare for college or a career. A key element of the Stay in School Initiative is the Saturday mentoring workshops, which are lead by Exelon employees and help students learn basic skills such as resume writing, business basics, keys to networking and the dos and don’ts of interviewing. Since 2005, the Stay in School Initiative has served an average of 2,250 students per year.
UPS employees don’t stop at financial and time contributions – they are true hand-raisers who are quick to address immediate community needs. They have taken their role in the community a step further by connecting individuals in need of jobs to open positions within their eight regional facilities. Working directly with United Way of Metro Chicago’s Career Pathways funded agencies, UPS’s HR team has placed pre-screened candidates in open roles with a 100% success rate.
These are just a few of the ways our corporate partners are making an impact. There are countless others who are dedicated to the work of United Way and our agency partners and are instrumental in the work we do. If your organization is interested in partnering with United Way, contact Katie Jozwik at katie.jozwik@LIVEUNITEDchicago.org.