Westby Creamery Employees Donated Over $22,000
Dec 11, 2019 (Westby, WI)
Over the last five years, Westby Cooperative Creamery has donated over $22,000 to the Great Rivers United Way as part of its ongoing mission to support the community’s economic, social and environmental life. These dollars represent the cumulative donation of dozens of employees and the Creamery itself.
Each November employees are given the opportunity to donate dollars via a payroll deduction. They can gift a one-time deduction from their paycheck or can elect to have dollars taken from each paycheck. This simple election makes it very easy for employees to share resources with the United Way, which serves a seven-county region of Wisconsin and Minnesota that includes La Crosse, Vernon, Crawford, Monroe, Buffalo, Trempealeau and Houston Counties.
The partnership began in 2015 when Ellen Mashak, Westby Creamery human resources manager, joined the team. Mashak was familiar with Great Rivers United Way from a previous employer and believed its mission and geographic coverage area aligned well with the Creamery. She presented the idea to the Creamery’s board of directors, who met with representatives from the United Way. “We felt it was important, not just from the employee side, but from our farmer-owner side as well,” Mashak said. “Our farmer-owners live in all those counties.”
Great Rivers United Way supports more than 75 area non-profits by providing grants for projects that focus on education, income, health and community basics, such as food, shelter, and safety. Each year over 100 United Way volunteers review the grant requests and select recipients. This ensures that every dollar donated addresses community needs and delivers measurable, lasting results.
During the fall fund drive representatives from United Way, as well as a representative from an organization they support, get to visit with Creamery employees to talk about how the dollars help in the community.
This year employees heard from The Other Door Family and Children’s Center. The Center provides Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, chronic illness support groups, Narcotics Anonymous meetings, a 12-step recovery women’s group and more. Dollars the Center receives from the United Way helps it maintain a presence in several communities, including Viroqua, Sparta, La Crosse and others.
In the early years, the Creamery had a handful of employees participate, but as time went on the number of employees sharing dollars grew from 19 in 2015 to 48 in 2018. Donating has an added element of fun for Creamery employees who, if they donated $52 or more, are entered into two drawings: one for gifts from the United Way, such as sweaters, mugs and more, and one from the Creamery that includes several gift cards. All employees who contribute, no matter the dollar amount, get a United Way/Westby Creamery t-shirt. Plus, the Creamery also contributes $1,000 to the campaign.
This partnership assures dollars are going to vetted programs that serve multiple community needs and continues the Creamery’s mission of supporting the community. To learn more about Great Rivers United Way visit www.gruw.org.