Stellar Campaigns

Corporate Caring Profile

Our “Corporate Caring” series seeks to share United Way of Greater Cleveland’s partners who hold workplace campaigns, special events, volunteers programs and more that work to make our community a greater place to live, work and play. We want to highlight the great works and charitable giving so many businesses strive to achieve in our great community!

Questions and Answers

Why is partnering with United Way of Greater Cleveland so important to the NRP Group?
One of the things that we do as a company is we build housing for those less fortunate than us. Part of our core values is really understanding that there are less fortunate in our society. I can think of no other group in Cleveland that really helps on a grand scale the people in our society that are left behind like the United Way. The employees at the NRP Group really understand that.
How have you reached 100 percent employee participation for your workplace campaign and for so long?
We’ve had that [100 percent participation] for over 12 years now, and I think one of the ways we’re able to achieve that is that the pressure has been taken out. We really explain to the employees, we take the time to work with them, bring in great speakers from the United Way and some of the agencies that are recipients, and we share the message with them. Because we have a compassionate and understanding organization of people that get it. We’re just asking them to participate. And once they participate, they begin to increase their gift year-after-year. I think it’s that increase that we’re most proud of in addition to the 100 percent giving.
What was your first experience with volunteerism and philanthropy?
I grew up in a family with a tradition of giving. I’ve been very involved in the Jewish community in Cleveland and from a very young age have been taught to give back and that there are people less fortunate than us. I’ve made it part of my life. I’ve made it part of my business. And it’s something that I’m very proud of personally. I’m proud to pass that tradition on to my children and proud to share it with my fellow coworkers.
What is a cause or issue that you feel is important to you personally?
I really believe that financial stability and financial education is something that’s very important. I’m very proud United Way is a part of that, because one of the things dealing in low-income housing for our residents, in our communities, is we realize that there is real financial illiteracy within the communities.

If people could start talking about what it means to have financial independence at a younger age, they can start to strive for that. That is something that I think is really important that United Way does that not a lot of people know about. But, here at NRP we understand that.

Why would you encourage other business leaders to partner with United Way?
My message to other small-business owners in the Cleveland area is to take that leadership; to give yourself, and to open up that giving to the rest of your employees. As a leader, I feel it’s incumbent upon me to share that message with my employees.

Because the reality is, we’re all recipients of United Way when you think about it. If we have a stronger society, we’re going to have stronger businesses; we’re going to have stronger family lives; we’re going to have less crime; we’re going to have a better society that we live in.

We’re going to be defined as a city by how we take care of the least well-off in our community. There’s no better intermediary than the United Way that understands the agencies, understands where the dollars are going, and has critical oversight. I think they do a fantastic job.

J. David Heller
Principal of the NRP Group
J. David Heller from the NRP Group - Corporate Caring
Cleveland Number of Employees (Cleveland Office): 119

Workplace Campaign Employee Participation: 100 percent for the past 12 years

Stellar Campaign Co-Chairs encourage companies to increase annual contributions

By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer

United Way of Greater Cleveland officially kicked off its annual fundraising appeal on Wednesday, August 31, but some companies have been running their Stellar Campaign since March.

Stellar Campaigns consist of participating companies and organizations who commit to increase their corporate or employee gifts by five percent, as well as run their campaign early.

Co-Chairs Terry Szmagala, senior vice president of public & community affairs for Eaton; and James Dougherty, partner at Jones Day, have both been involved with United Way for the majority of their professional careers, but it is their first time as Stellar Campaign co-chairs.

Dougherty has been with Jones Day for 12 years and was first introduced to United Way’s campaign by John Macintosh — this year’s campaign co-chair and managing partner at KPMG.

“I spent some time with John in the fall and thought it would be a really great way to get involved and help out, particularly on the corporate side where I’ve got a lot of connectivity with a number of the companies that work with United Way regularly,” he said. “So it seemed like a pretty good fit.”

Dougherty is trying to promote Stellar Campaigns by connecting with company CEOs to relay the importance of early, sustained giving and United Way’s work.

“I think United Way has the ability to do what other organizations would have a really hard time doing, which is to have extremely broad-based participation across the community,” he said. “When you think about a lot of great charities out there, they really don’t have the network and system United Way has to get a significant amount of participation.”

Szmagala has been at Eaton for the past 10 years, and has been involved with United Way since long before he came to the company, but it is his first year taking an active role in the campaign. He has donated at a leadership level since he started his career, as well as volunteered with the organization and has been able to see firsthand what United Way does.

“In my new role at public and community affairs, I’ve been able to see firsthand what United Way does and I wanted to get more involved,” Szmagala said.

He said the importance of running the campaign early is to set the bar high and encourage companies to get better every year. Eaton has been the top Stellar Campaign company for the last two years and they plan to defend their title, he said.

“Two things would be really great,” he said. “To see our traditional campaigns continue to grow at a healthy pace is important. But for me, adding new campaigns that might be smaller would be great to see. The reason I say that is if we can get more companies involved in holding campaigns, they’re setting a culture where, down the road, the campaigns might get bigger. “It’s really important to get Cleveland companies committed to the Stellar Campaign program, so we can add to the ranks of the KeyBanks and Eatons in the city that are already very generous.”