Barbara Couto Sipe speaking at the Steps to Success Awards

Stepping Up: United Way Recognizes Top Partners, Donors

Before a packed audience in the John Marshall ballroom, the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg shined a deserving spotlight on the MVPs of its annual fundraising campaign, a collection of individuals and corporate partners whose generosity and commitment helped the 100-year-old agency continue its impact throughout the Richmond region.

“I believe that United Way is more than an organization – it is a movement, a community asset,” said Barbara Couto Sipe, president and CEO of the local United Way, who kicked of the annual Steps to Success Award program. “We are an asset that is powered by the collective efforts of everyday individuals, strong community-minded businesses and people-centered governments.”

Last year, Sipe said, United Way’s work was fueled by more than 300 workplace partners, over 8,000 individual, corporate and foundation donors and in excess of 2,200 volunteers. The campaign helped to fund approximately 70 local agencies – including nonprofits, schools and governments, serving nearly 90,000 people with crisis support, housing, childcare, out-of-school-time learning opportunities, health and mental health services and more.

Corporate Partner of the Year: Publix Supermarkets

In-store donation drives and monthly volunteer events – along with strong support from senior leadership and a healthy dose of creativity – helped earn Publix Corporate Partner of the Year honors. Also nominated were Enterprise Mobility and Hunton Andrews Kurth.

Community Champion Award: Mikayla Hales, Pitney Bowes

In recognition of an outstanding Employee Campaign Manager, the Community Champion Award was presented to Mikayla Hales whose energy and spirit helped propel her colleagues at Pitney Bowes to a successful workplace campaign. Nominated as well in the category was Diamond Cooper with the City of Richmond.

Alexis de Tocqueville Award: Jonathan and Jennifer Leon

Honoring individuals who embody the American spirit of unparalleled generosity, the 2024 de Tocqueville Award went to Jonathan and Jennifer Leon. The couple’s commitment to the community – from serving on a variety of committees and boards as well as in other volunteer capacities and leadership giving – reflects their passion for quality education and health and human services.

Leadership Champion Award: Karen Whelan

Recognizing a donor who demonstrates a commitment to improving the region through generosity, advocacy and community engagement, the 2024 Leadership Champion Award was presented to Karen Whelan, who has been active with United Way for an incredible 50 years, having served on the board of directors, an engaged volunteer and a member of Women United and the de Tocqueville Society for the past 15 years.

Community Impact Volunteerism Award: Miki Annamanthadoo

Honoring an outstanding volunteer who embodies United Way’s commitment to community impact, the 2024 Community Impact Volunteerism Award was awarded to Miki Annamanthadoo, who has volunteered over 1,400 hours as part of United Way’s Tax Assistance Program. Over the past 10 years, he has helped file more than 4,200 tax returns that have returned $5.6 million to community members.

Steps to Success Award: Workforce Coalition RVA

In honor of an outstanding group that demonstrates commitment to lasting change across the Steps to Success framework, the 2024 Steps to Success Award was presented to Workforce Coalition RVA, a collaboration among the Capital Region Workforce Partnership, Chamber RVA, Community College Workforce Alliance, the City of Richmond’s Office of Community Wealth Building, Communities in Schools Richmond, the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond and United Way. The Coalition’s pioneering work is helping seamlessly connect job seekers, employers and resource providers.

The Steps for Success Awards program was sponsored by Molina Healthcare and Deloitte.

Editor’s note: United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg is a client of The Hodges Partnership.

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