Valero leaders and representatives from United Way network partner agencies spoke about where contributions are going and who they are helping.
This year marks the seventh year Valero has conducted its United Way campaign, with a cumulative $1.3 million raised over the last 5 years by the refinery company.
“I don’t give because I’m Valero,” said Keith Taylor, campaign co-chair, in his opening remarks to employees, “I give because I have it to give. None of us are beyond getting that phone call that could change your life one day, and you would need United Way.”
Craig Burns, operations manager at Valero and also this year’s campaign chairman, said
that with a goal of $260,000 for this year’s United Way campaign, employees are being asked to give a little more. Burns said he has given to United Way for the last 15 years, and has always seen United Way as a very worthy cause.
“There is always a community need for United Way. United Way does a lot of good and helps a lot of people,” Burns said.
Burns added that United Way of the Mid-South has many local agencies, thousands of volunteers and top-of-the-line agency support. He explained how programs supported by United Way are involved in numerous important activities including educating and mentoring children, providing youth after-school programs and youth readiness programs, youth skills training programs, special education programs to help children and adults with disabilities, adult education and literacy programs, housing and community development programs, assisting elderly and homecare and health issues, domestic violence and drug abuse programs and crisis intervention hotlines.
“If you look in your community, you will find someone you know who needs United Way,” Burns said. “It may be a friend, neighbor, or relative. We never think about that, because we are all very blessed to work at Valero. There are a lot of our needs that the company meets for us. But there are people out there with needs also, that cannot be met, except through a United Way partner agency.”
Clay Killinger, Senior Vice President and Controller at Valero outside of San Antonio,
Texas, urged employees to see the bigger picture of supporting the community.
“The money we continue to pour into this community is not going to stop,” he said. “In our own community, we are giving hand ups not hand outs. I’ve seen the profitability of this Memphis plant. I’ve seen it turn around. Refining is Valero.”
Other guest speakers at the event included Faye Carter, Senior Vice President Fundraising, United Way, Marlon Foster, president of Knowledge Quest and Amerah Shabazz Bridges, a spokesperson and once a client of the Memphis Child Advocacy Center.