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Philathropy

OlyFed and the United Way of Thurston County Partner for the Holidays

The holiday season should be a time to help those in need.

Montage of people wearing colorful and fun cloth masks for COVID-19 protectionGifts, family dinners and sparkly celebrations are delightful but for many—especially during financially stressful COVID‐19—they’re an impossibility in 2020. The best way to stretch dollars and donations is through partnerships with local businesses and nonprofits. This year, join OlyFed and the United Way of Thurston County to make sure all residents ring in 2021 with a smile.

Industry reports explain that “Nonprofits and NGOs have faced unprecedented challenges in 2020 with the pandemic triggering changes in the delivery of services, a massive shift to remote work, and a shake‐up of fundraising and philanthropy…As 2020 nears its end, organizations are striving to obtain support to keep them going through 2021.”

With this in mind, OlyFed stepped up even more this year to support the local United Way. Ryan Betz, OlyFed vice president of marketing and public relations, has a long history with the nonprofit. “United Way of Thurston County is an incredible resource for our community,” says Betz. “Now more than ever before, the importance and value of United Way is at play in our community. More people are relying on nonprofits for their services, while fundraising is incredibly challenging. Nonprofits need the security and support of United Way and donors need to know there’s one place they can go with their gift to ensure these diverse sets of community needs are met.”

Quarterly Celebration with employee LaurenBetz, also a member of the United Way Board of Directors, shared that OlyFed just recently kicked off a Workplace United partnership with their annual campaign to raise funds for the community. “We were so excited to be able to raise a record number of dollars for our community because of the amazing support of the United Way team.”

The partnership was simple. “They helped us design a virtual campaign with informative videos and access to a simple and easy to use online giving portal,” says Betz. The United Way team also assisted OlyFed in developing a volunteer roadmap for the year ahead with opportunities for all of their employees to get involved in projects and programs addressing some of the most pressing issues in the community. “It’s great to know we can partner with United Way to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our neighbors in need,” Betz said.

OlyFed volunteers at a Live United event

“Local businesses and nonprofits working together can result in powerful outcomes,” says Victoria Wortberg United Way of Thurston County Deputy Director and Chief Development Officer. “The benefits of partnerships between nonprofits and for‐profits cannot be overstated. Companies will see increased bottom‐line benefits after they start an employee volunteer/giving program. And a nonprofit can benefit from the new skills, funding, resources, and helping hands that a local business can provide. What’s most important, nonprofit and for-profit partnerships can result in happier, healthier communities. That’s a win‐win‐win! That’s why Workplace United is a core service offered through the United Way of Thurston County.”

Workplace United is the United Way’s tool for activating employees. It facilitates giving, volunteer programs and community engagement in a way that small businesses may not be able, or have the time, to do. “This past March, United Way of Thurston County conducted market research with area businesses to identify the barriers they faced when implementing company social responsibility (CSR) programs,” explains Wortberg. “While most companies are committed to the idea that business can be a force for social good, they may not have dedicated staff to manage workplace volunteer programs and other community outreach functions. Creating the right community impact strategy, telling the story of their commitment, and managing year‐round workplace volunteering is a lot of work. Workplace United, a service of the United Way of Thurston County, is designed to help businesses empower their employees, support area nonprofits and local communities, and drive positive change.”

OlyFed has long had a heart for the community for more than 114 years. Whether sponsoring The Community Foundation’s Annual Give Local Campaign, helped out during COVID‐19 or donated to hands‐on groups like the Habitat for Humanity’s Emergency Response Fund, they know that a strong, vibrant region supports all of its members. Follow their work on Facebook or at OlyFed.com.

Think your franchise or small business could use the United Way’s guidance this holiday season? Simple! Simply email Wortberg at vwortberg@unitedway‐thurston.org. Her team will be happy to schedule an introduction to Workplace United or other programming. At that time, you can share your company’s goals and interests related to social responsibility and develop a customized plan which helps the business meet those needs.

Giving is easy and every little bit helps. It’s what the United Way strives to do every day: Improve lives, strengthen our communities and advance equity by mobilizing the caring power of people in Thurston County.