United Way of Logan County Executive Director Dave Bezusko unveils the 2023 campaign total — $1,050,000 — Tuesday morning at the LIVE UNITED Awards Breakfast. (EXAMINER PHOTO | Mandy Loehr)
The generosity of the community and the way employees and corporate partners band together to support many local needs took the spotlight Tuesday morning at the LIVE UNITED Awards Breakfast hosted by the United Way of Logan County at Green Hills Community.
United Way Executive Director Dave Bezusko reported that a dozen local workplaces achieved record-level giving for the 2023 campaign to help United Way of Logan County surpass its $1 million goal.
Officials announced that $1,050,000 was pledged by 166 businesses and 2,524 individual donors this year.
Logan County remains the smallest community in Ohio to ever have a $1 million campaign for its local United Way, and it’s now happened six years in a row, Bezusko noted.
To begin the breakfast, the executive director shared a personal story from his father’s life, which encapsulates the importance of human life and dignity that he also sees reflected in the many local United Way volunteers, donors and Funded Agencies.
Bezusko’s father was a volunteer at a community hospital in Warren, Ohio, and that’s where he met a cardiologist who made quite an impression on him, his patients and the community at large.
While the doctor’s job was quite impactful in improving quality of life for his patients, he still felt like something was missing — like he had a literal hole in his heart. So he made a bold move and traveled all the way to Calcutta, India, for a chance meeting with Mother Teresa.
Surprisingly, the doctor was able to secure a time to speak with the revered nun, and she read to him from Matthew 25, highlighting the importance of serving “the least of these.”
The cardiologist realized what was missing in his heart was a compassion for service. He went back to Warren, and then began coordinating food drives and medical drives to assist those living near Mother Teresa. However, she later told him, “There are people right in your community who need help. We need to recognize the human dignity that everyone has.”
Bezusko said it is inspiring to be behind the scenes at the United Way of Logan County and to experience the kindness of so many donors, and the practical impact that they make through the 32 programs of 21 Funded Agencies.
“Recognizing this human dignity is the motivation for so many of you who live united. It’s inspiring how our community, although small, is able to make such a big difference and raise over $1 million for these programs that help so many people. Be the source of inspiration to others around us.”
Relating to the awards program, all three of the Traveling Trophy winners set workplace giving records this year. The Traveling Trophies — the United Way’s most prestigious recognition of corporate philanthropic achievement — are awarded to Logan County workplaces with the highest giving per capita.
CenterPoint Energy of Bellefontaine reclaimed the Small Business Award for the first time since 2019, taking it back from its friendly rivalry with PCPI Plastics.
Total company support from CenterPoint Energy at $17,326 for just seven locally-based employees. The $1,468 average employee gift was boosted by a 100 percent corporate match and a $3,900 sponsorship toward United Way’s Dolly Parton Imagination Library.
Marker, Inc. retained the Large Business Traveling Trophy for the fifth year in a row.
Their employee participation was 78 percent, with matching corporate dollars taking pledges to $88,272.
NX Automotive Logistics in East Liberty is the overall top-giving workplace for the sixth year in a row, also checking in with a record-level combined associate and corporate gift of $209,961.
Record-level giving was also achieved this year by employees of the following workplaces: Bridges Community Action, The City of Bellefontaine, Daido Metal, Foster Logistics, Logan County Electric Cooperative, Smith Smith Chamberlain and Montgomery, Transportation Research Center, West Liberty-Salem Schools, and Zimmerman Realty.
Money raised is supporting 32 programs of 21 Funded Agencies that serve the health, education, and financial stability of Logan County residents. A complete line-by-line breakdown of allocations and program funding is available online at www.uwlogan.org/20-agencies-receive-2024-allocations.
The following workplaces earned Good Neighbor Awards, given to select entities that participate with United Way but do not qualify for a Campaign Award: AGC Automotive, American Honda Motor Company, Bellefontaine Examiner, Bridges Community Action, Community Health & Wellness Partners, Middlefield Banking Company, Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, Richwood Bank, Scott Family McDonald’s, Transportation Research Center, V-Teck Communications, World Class Plastics and Zimmerman Realty.
The following workplaces earned Gold Campaign Awards, achieving at least 60 percent employee participation, a $200 or higher average employee gift:
· Belletech Corporation
· Choice Properties Real Estate
· Citizens Federal Savings & Loan
· City of Bellefontaine
· CoverLink Insurance
· Daido Metal
· Foster Logistics
· Logan County Chamber of Commerce
· Logan County Electric Cooperative
· Logan County Government Offices
· Lutheran Community Services
· Marker, Inc.
· Mary Rutan Health
· NX Automotive Logistics
· PCPI Plastics
· Riverside Local Schools
· RTC Services
· Smith Smith Montgomery & Chamberlain
· Steve Austin’s Auto Group
· TDH Law
The following workplace earned a Silver Campaign Award, achieving at least 50 percent employee participation or a $150 or higher average employee gift:
· Bellefontaine City Schools
· Benjamin Logan Schools
· Indian Lake Schools
The following workplaces earned Bronze Campaign Awards, achieving at least 40 percent employee participation or a $100 or higher average employee gift:
· Green Hills Community
· Midwest Regional ESC
· West Liberty-Salem Schools
CenterPoint Energy reclaims the United Way of Logan County’s Small Business Traveling Trophy for the first time since 2019, with total company support at $17,326 for just seven locally-based employees. (EXAMINER PHOTO | Mandy Loehr)