Posted by: Karen McKeever, Campaign and e-Pledging Director

People who give back to their communities are happier, healthier and more connected to the world around them. Companies with an employee engagement strategy also benefit.* As United Way staff members, we are fortunate to be in a position allowing us to connect local companies and their employees with opportunities that are rewarding for both the organizations and the individuals, as well as make a difference within our local community.

Companies in Berks County have discovered the benefits of embracing a corporate culture of philanthropy. It is a great way to attract and retain a committed work force by promoting a positive work environment, enable employees to learn new skills and enhance corporate image. Two stand-out examples of this are Penske Truck Leasing Co., L.P. and Reading Truck Group.

United Way and Penske Truck Leasing Co.

Penske Truck Leasing Co., L.P. puts this philosophy into action, and it all begins at the top level of leadership. As one of the 1,200+ employees, President Brian Hard leads by example and supports employee community involvement. Penske’s United Way committee develops a calendar featuring fundraising, educational and volunteer opportunities scheduled throughout the year. Committee members coordinate activities and promote these opportunities to their colleagues.

Penske team members continually participate in a series of projects to improve the lives of local children, families and older adults. Examples of their activities include providing dinner to children participating in youth-serving organizations, assembling and delivering Easter baskets to Olivet Boys and Girls Club and Thanksgiving dinners for 162 families at Salvation Army, coordinating collection drives, and helping package meals at the Big Cheese event.

Reading Truck Group Connects with the Community

At Reading Truck Group, the leadership and employee teams wanted to connect more with the community, specifically within the Oakbrook neighborhood surrounding their corporate office. About a year ago, with the support of the President and COO, Greg Freeman, they formed a committee of employees representing all departments. This committee works with United Way to identify philanthropic opportunities aligning with their company vision. Opportunities are advertised through posters displayed throughout their plant and office.

These activities have been funded through in-kind donations, as well as proceeds from employee-organized events such as pretzel sales and a chili cook-off. Prior to each event, information on the community issue and needs is shared with employees. Following the event, outcomes, along with photos and employees’ experiences, are shared. Their committee is busy mapping out activities for the remainder of the year.

Connect with Your Community

How can you and your company experience the benefits of community involvement? If you’re already connected to United Way, simply contact your representative. You can also visit United Way’s volunteer portal or call Darby Wiekrykas, our Volunteer Engagement Program Manager, at 610-685-4574.

* A Realized Worth Report states that “for companies where employees were more engaged than not, their profitability jumped by 16%, general productivity was 18% higher than other companies, customer loyalty was 12% higher, and quality increased by 60%.”