Game Changers: A Year in Review Recap

March 06, 2020 | United Way Team

Relive yesterday’s annual event, which was jam-packed with award winners, campaign champions, and Olympic-themed fun!

Bright and early yesterday, March 5, we held our annual Game Changers: A Year in Review event at the Cedar Rapids Marriott. This event—a combination of our annual meeting and 2019 campaign celebration—recognized individuals and organizations that are dedicated to ‘going for the gold’ in our community and highlighted last year’s campaign.

Guests started their morning with a “breakfast buffet of champions” as the winning companies ‘passed the Olympic torch’ throughout Cedar Rapids. Kristin Roberts, UWECI President & CEO, completed the torch run, lit the Olympic flame to begin the event, and dived into highlights from the last year, which include:

  • Education: Students in our Volunteers in Proficiency (VIP) program increased their reading scores by 52 points, thus increasing their high school graduation rate.
  • Financial stability: Individuals and families received $3.8 million in tax refunds through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), ensuring that each necessary document is filed for those who can’t afford tax preparation fees.
  • Health: Close to 13,000 un- or under-insured women received healthcare services over the last year.
  • Volunteer engagement: 3,269 people gave over $1.4 million in volunteer time to local nonprofits.

After telling the stories of last year, we announced and recognized our Annual Award winners. This included:

  • John B. Northcott Award: Dick and Kate Minnett
  • Community Philanthropist Award: Jim and Bonnie Beardsworth
  • Young Leaders Award: Jessica Horaney
  • Lynn L. Nichols Award: Phoebe Trepp

Last year’s campaign cabinet chair, Dennis Jordan, shared a glimpse at how UWECI is implementing new strategies when it comes to campaign season. UWECI recruited a team of 20 people to serve as last year’s campaign cabinet. As a team, the cabinet and participants achieved the following goals:

  • 71 companies increased their dollar amount by 10%
  • 47 companies increased their participation by 10%
  • 49 new companies ran a United Way campaign.

This hard work, along with others, led to almost $7.8 million raised thanks to you.

After highlighting the campaign year, 12 area companies received awards for their outstanding workplace campaigns and initiatives. Congratulations to the following companies and their dedicated campaign coordinators!

Once all awards were presented, we introduced our incoming campaign cabinet chair— James Klein from Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust! We are excited to have James on our team to lead the charge next year for United Way.

To close the event, the audience was surprised with a new fundraising event. Over The Edge—a fundraiser that allows participants to rappel down the side of a building—will be held on Friday, August 7, 2020 at the Dows Building in downtown Cedar Rapids. Stay tuned for more information on our events page!

Thank you to everyone who joined us at Game Changers, and to everyone who supports our mission. To watch our opening ceremony video featuring our 12 winning companies, check out the video below!