Education Realty Trust employees use fun and a first-rate cooking finale to raise over $64,600 for United Way

Education Realty Trust is known as America’s leader in collegiate housing, and the employees who work at the company are also leaders in our local United Way campaign.

Education Realty Trust is a real estate investment trust that owns and/or manages many different communities in Mid-South. This year, their employee and corporate donations to the United Way campaign totaled $64,602. Susan Arrison, V.P. Human Resources for the organization, reports their campaign goal was $37,000 for employees this year but the employees’s charitable spirit blew past that and raised an additional $6,000 for a total of $43,068. The organization also proved a very generous fifty-cents-on-the-dollar matching corporate gift of $21,534.

For the company United Way campaign finale event, Education Realty Trust held a grand “cook-off” contest with 9 different employee groups creating a variety of fun and exotic dishes inspired by many different continents across the world. Winners were chosen based on food taste and decoration and the contest was held at Education Realty Trust’s offices in the Oak Court Mall area. (Photos provided at end of this story.)

Judges included United Way Loaned Executives Cindy Dewey, Lauren Hammond, Ryan Miller, Brenda Taylor and Lee Warren. The judges had a hard time determining a winner, as all 9 contestants did a great job.

The team used decorations and costumes to create “themes” for each team including Mardi Gras, Occupy Wall Street, Hawaii Five-0, The Seventies, Cows (think of Chick-Filet), University of Tennessee and University of Memphis football teams, United Way Café (think of a French café), cowboys and cowgirls with great chili and a Louisiana bayou team featuring jambalaya.

United Way thanks everyone at Education Realty Trust for their work to raise funds to improve education, financial stability and health across our community. We also wish to thank Susan Jennings, Vice President of Corporate Communications and Marketing at Education Realty Trust, for serving as a volunteer on our region-wide United Way marketing and communications committee.

From left, "Ken," "Barbie" and Shane Bills

From left, Traci Vinyard and Ross Shearhouse

Toni Payne (in mask)

From left, "protesters" Ryan Sullivan and Samantha Williams

From left, Shelia Tapplin, Vernita Jacobs, Latonya Pride and LaShara Strong

Kenneth Bernard talks to United Way Loaned Executives about what he has cooked up for United Way.

From left, Chefs Ken Metz and Tom Trubiana

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