United Way Honors It's Champions at Annual Meeting

United Way Honors Its Champions at Annual Meeting

(Stillwater, OK – Jan. 24, 2024) – United Way of Payne County (UWPC) held its annual meeting at Meridian Technology Center on Tuesday to highlight some of its valuable leaders of 2023 and to spotlight its partner agencies.

At the top of the meeting, UWPC outgoing president, Angela Vivar, spoke on each of the 23 partner agencies United Way supports. Afterwards, UWPC Executive Director, Ruth Cavins, acknowledged a variety of community leaders who made the greatest impact on the 2023 campaign.

“Payne County is an amazing place to live,” Cavins said. “Achieving our $1 million annual campaign stretch goal required the efforts, tenacity and generosity of many people. We are incredibly grateful and thrilled that we can now support our 23 partner agencies in their great work.”

Geoff Beasley of Cushing, Leon Jones and Julie Weathers of Stillwater, and Chris Petermann of Perkins all received an Outstanding Community Leader Award. Jones and Weathers served as OSU campaign chairs and set a record for the most money raised in OSU’s workplace campaign history.

Hilary Hunt, Stillwater Habitat for Humanity, accepts one of two Bennett Basore Awards from UWPC Board Member Clem Ward

UWPC awarded Board Member Clem Ward as Board Member of the Year. Tommy’s Express Car Wash received the Shining Star Corporate Spotlight Award for its proactive participation in supporting UWPC. Legacy Village of Stillwater received the Synergy Award, with special acknowledgement for the leadership of Legacy Village residents, Lou Watkins and Cara Beer.

The agency also honored the businesses that ran the top 10 grossing workplace campaigns, which included Frontier Electronic Systems, OG&E Energy Corp., Meridian Technology Center, Oklahoma CareerTech, BancFirst, Payne County Bank, Simmons Bank, Stillwater Designs / Kicker, Stillwater Medical Center and Oklahoma State University. These 10 campaigns raised more than half of the $1 million annual campaign goal.

Ward presented Stillwater Habitat for Humanity and The Saville Center for Child Advocacy with the Bennett Basore Award. This award was named after late UWPC Board Member Bennett Basore to acknowledge accountability and outstanding work among the partner agencies in Payne County. In a rare decision, UWPC chose two agencies to receive the award, which came with $1,000 grant each.

Ward served as Chair of Community Investment Committee, which not only performs a thorough review of each partner agency but also selects a Bennett Basore Award winner.

“Some years it seems like a particular agency may stand out for something that is unique to them in that particular time period,” Ward said in a video presented at the meeting. “This year, we had several nominations…we couldn’t decide for sure so we decided to do two.”

State Representative Trish Ranson and UWPC Board Member, Chris Stockton, each spoke about what it means to be a champion in the community.

Cavins provided an overview of UWPC through a series of fast facts, including that out of Payne County’s population of 82,794, there were 2,505 donors in 2023. These donors impacted about 75,000 individuals and 54 partner agency programs in areas of health, education and poverty alleviation.