United Way of Anchorage creates and fuels programs that drive positive, lasting change for thousands of Anchorage residents while also engaging volunteers and inspiring advocates. Through its strong partnerships with organizations like Alyeska, its staff is able to elevate work focused on homelessness, school preparedness for children and activities for youth, healthy families and much more.
Alyeska's work with United Way is nearly as storied as TAPS operations – Alyeska has hosted employee giving campaigns and providing matching corporate gifts for 39 years.
Brian Beauvais, Alyeska Sr. Health and Safety Manager, is co-chairing Alyeska's United Way Campaign for a second consecutive year. He appreciates the powerful impact that Alyeska, TAPS contractors and United Way can make together.
"Organizing each year as a company to support United Way makes a difference for families all over Alaska," Beauvais said. "We are a TAPS family that reaches out to our community members throughout the state. Alyeska cares about all issues that impact our communities. During the campaign each year, employees can choose a program to support through United Way, and they do a fantastic job dispersing the funding to those in need."
Elizabeth Miller, United Way's Vice President of Resource Development, shared what Alyeska's support, and 40 years of TAPS operations, has meant to her organization and the Anchorage community.
Tell us a little bit about the relationship between Alyeska and United Way.
"In addition to monetary donations, Alyeska company leaders and employees have generously volunteered at United Way. In fact, six of the nine presidents have served as Chair of United Way of Anchorage – including current president Tom Barrett. Susan Parkes, General Counsel of Alyeska, is the current United Way Board Chair. The volunteer efforts continue with other Alyeska employees participating in numerous United Way activities, including Walk for Warmth and Day of Caring."
What has the success of TAPS and the support from Alyeska as an organization and with its individual staff donors and volunteers meant to United Way of Anchorage?
"Alyeska and its employees and contractors have been some of the strongest supporters of United Way, with over $20 million in contributions to United Ways in Alaska. In recent years, approximately 45 percent of the funds raised annually are directed to the United Way of Anchorage and its partners. The strong partnership between United Way of Anchorage and Alyeska makes a better Anchorage by creating strategic, scalable solutions toward the goals that develop our community."
Can you share a few highlights that embody the strong relationship between United Way and Alyeska?
"In the mid to late 1980s, Alyeska led the community and the nation in United Way support. Under the leadership of George M. Nelson, the company and its employees gained national United Way recognition for their record breaking per capita giving rate of over $395 for three consecutive years. One year, as part of the campaign promotion, Nelson rode a white horse down the streets of downtown Anchorage calling out a fundraising challenge to his counterparts at the heritage companies of BP and ConocoPhillips."
"More recently, the 2013 Alyeska campaign coordinators knew that the Anchorage community needs were rising, and to help meet those needs the employees set an ambitious goal of $515,000 for their workplace campaign. This was a sizable increase compared to previous years of giving, but the coordinators came up with an innovative theme linked to the Olympics, including a torch which was a spray-painted gold torch made from a toilet plunger. The torch traveled from Pump 1 to Valdez and each pump station represented a fundraising milestone. The goal was to reach each milestone, resulting in the torch traveling all the way to the VMT. The campaign was wildly successful and the ambitious goal was far exceeded, totaling $644,000 for United Ways in Alaska that year."