United Way Kicks off 2020-21 Annual Campaign | United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

2020-21 Annual Campaign Kickoff

two boys reading a book

On Sept. 14, 2020, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas kicked off its 2020-21 Annual Campaign with a live, socially distanced event at AT&T Global Headquarters in downtown Dallas. The event focused on the importance of corporate philanthropy in achieving the Aspire United 2030 goals that were announced last week.

This year, with all the extra challenges stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, speakers said, needs in the community are especially urgent. And those needs are on top of decades-long systemic social and racial inequities in underserved populations.

The rallying themes for the kickoff were “giving back,” and connections.  As United Way annual campaign chair Anne Chow put it, “Connections are what make us come together, united by a common desire to do the best we can for our community both today and in the future. We’re here to work toward giving North Texans the tools they need to live longer, more prosperous, healthier lives.”

Those attending included:

  • Anne Chow, annual campaign chair and CEO, AT&T Business
  • Charlene Lake, senior vice president, Corporate Social Responsibility, and chief sustainability officer, AT&T; United Way Dallas board chair.
  • Jennifer Sampson, president and CEO, United Way Dallas
  • David Park, senior vice president, Utility Operations, Atmos Energy
  • John A. Paris, president, Mid-Tex Division, Atmos Energy
  • Steven Williams, CEO, PepsiCo Foods, North America
  • Curt Morgan, president and CEO, Vistra Corp.
  • Jim Hinton, CEO, Baylor Scott & White Health (attending via video conferencing).

In her welcoming remarks, Charlene Lake said that Mayor Eric Johnson, who spoke at the Aspire United 2030 goals kickoff on Sept. 11, put it well when he said, “United Way is a critical connecting point for civic groups, corporations and nonprofits that are dedicated to making a lasting impact.”

“Creating that impact takes a collective vision and a collective effort,” Lake said. “It also takes a collective commitment, and that’s where the United Way citywide annual campaign comes in.”

Lake noted that Chow is the first woman and person of color to chair the United Way Dallas annual campaign.


Aspirational and possible

Jennifer Sampson asked everyone watching to picture the North Texas community following the pandemic. “I’m talking about a community where all North Texans, regardless of race or ZIP code, have the opportunity and access to achieve their full potential.

“This isn’t some unrealistic goal. This is a lasting change that is within our grasp. But we have to get past some of the same stubborn obstacles that have impeded our progress for decades and generations.”

To achieve the Aspire United 2030 community goals, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas will focus on three key levers in education, income and health to drive progress over the next 10 years. Our executive summary explains these goals in detail.

“But goals don’t amount to much without action and resources to drive them,” Sampson said. “That’s why I’m excited to announce that a group of dedicated and forward-thinking companies (see list below) that believe in these goals have already come forward with generous seed gifts to launch this campaign.

Collectively, these leaders have helped United Way Dallas raise $12 million in just eight weeks. “This is the strongest statement ever made this early in the campaign about the commitment and resolve we have to build a stronger North Texas,” she said.


The value of connections

Anne Chow focused her remarks on the value of connections. She noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has made connecting with others more challenging this year, and that it has “exposed deep lines of inequality. We all know we have work to do for ALL members of our community.”

Because of this, Chow said, she’s decided to focus in her role as campaign chair on United Way Dallas’ pillar of health. “Healthy people and healthy places are critical for both a healthy economy and for each individual to thrive and reach their full potential.”

“We cannot go back to the way things were,” she stressed. “Our connections will help ensure that every person has the opportunity and power to thrive. Now is the time for Dallas to prove that ‘we’re all in this together.’ We are all united as North Texas—together we can accomplish anything.”


‘It’s the right thing to do’

Chow moderated a brief panel discussion with Jim Hinton, John Paris, Steven Williams and Curt Morgan. Highlights included:

  • Paris said Atmos Energy will donate $1 million to United Way Dallas and Vooks to provide virtual books to young children and their families to build the foundation for literacy, leading to reading proficiency by third grade.
  • Williams talked about how Southern Dallas Thrives has focused on erasing the legacy of generational poverty in this part of the city to help residents, especially women, thrive. “Because when women thrive, we know their households thrive.” He announced that Frito-Lay and the PepsiCo Foundation will commit to a $5 million match over the next five years to Southern Dallas Thrives.
  • In response to the PepsiCo match, Morgan announced that Vistra Corp. has committed $1 million over the next five years for Southern Dallas Thrives. “2020’s going to be known for COVID, but for me it’s going to be known for when corporations lifted their heads up and formed a new capitalism, a new bond that is all about community. We have an unbelievable partnership with United Way, and we want to step up and live that new capitalism—give back to the community, not only because it’s good business but it’s also the right thing to do.”
  • Hinton echoed that sentiment. “We need for the corporate community to do what they have been doing to build such successful businesses and apply that to the challenges here in Dallas. So, we invite them to be on the field with the rest of us to make a huge difference.”
  • On behalf of Mike Hsu, chairman and CEO of Kimberly-Clark Corp., Chow announced a $1 million investment by Kimberly-Clark to Aspire United 2030.
  • The panelists issued a collective call to support United Way Dallas and the Aspire United 2030 goals. “Every dollar matters; there are a lot of ways companies can contribute and the time is now,” Paris said. Williams added, “Give of your talent, give of your treasure and give of your time.”
  • Chow announced that AT&T is committing $1 million to support the campaign.

Sampson closed out the session, noting that the $12 million already raised is a more than 400 percent increase from where United Way Dallas was at this same point last year. “Following this strong start, I’m confident that with the continued support of our North Texas community, we will build upon these early investments and inspire even more generosity to help us achieve our impact goals.”
We want to extend a big THANK YOU to the following organizations for their generosity and commitment to strengthen North Texas. We are grateful to these leaders for giving the United Way Annual Campaign its strongest start ever:

  • AT&T
  • Atmos Energy
  • Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
  • Carol and Kevin March
  • City of Dallas (through Federal CARES Act funding)
  • Frito-Lay and PepsiCo Foundation
  • Hilti Corporation (employee giving campaign)
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Kimberly-Clark Corporation
  • Mike and Mary Terry Foundation
  • Rees-Jones Foundation
  • United Way of Metropolitan Dallas (employee giving campaign)
  • Vistra Corporation

We’re at the starting gate now for both our Annual Campaign and Aspire United 2030 goals, and we’re counting on everyone in our community to invest in this work to put opportunity in the hands of all North Texans. Can we count you in?



This article was published on: Sep 15, 2020