Premier Partners Event Highlights the Multiplier Effect of Corporate Partnerships

United Way recognized businesses across Pierce County with a fun and inspiring format at Foss Waterway Seaport in Tacoma on Thursday, September 13. Sponsored by NuStar Energy, U.S. Oil & Refining Company, WestRock and The Boeing Company, the event featured a scavenger hunt, networking and a unique blend of music from Lisa Donovan and Company, as well as a short recognition program. Guest sampled local food and beverage favorites thanks to the generosity of WilRidge Winery & Vineyard, Dystopian State Beer Co., Dave’s Meat and Produce and Corina Bakery & Bistro, Inc.

The event paid tribute to the companies that support quality United Way workplace campaigns, community service, in-kind support and sponsorship. According to Dona Ponepinto, President and CEO, United Way of Pierce County, “These businesses have joined the fight to end poverty and their employees are making significant investments in our community. By harnessing the generosity, talent and energy in local businesses with the power of United Way’s resources, together, we are helping to create a stronger, healthier community.”

Ponepinto was joined by Board Chair, Bill Berry, Tacoma Public Utilities along with United Way staff to welcome more than 180 guests including corporate teams, business and community leaders.

“Thousands of families in our community depend on critical services like our South Sound 2-1-1 and programs like the Center for Strong Families to help more local individuals and families gain stability and move into self-sufficiency as they create long-terms that will improve their families outlook. ,” said Berry. “Our community is depending on us to mobilize local resources to provide the vital services they depend on, while serving as a ‘backbone’ to bring the right people to the table to work toward lasting sustainable change.”

Campaign Award Winners Include: Small Company: APA-The Engineered Wood Company; Medium Company: Korean Women’s Association and Titus-Will Chevrolet – Tacoma; Large Company: DaVita; Public Sphere: Tacoma Public Schools; Inaugural Campaign: City of DuPont

Coordinator of the Year: Troy Christensen, Korean Women’s Association and Vera Brokeshire, NuStar Energy and Coordinator Team of the Year: Comcast Team Led by Chioni Ramsey


2017 Premier Partners include: A Step Ahead in Pierce County, APA - The Engineered Wood Association, Bank of New York Mellon, Baxter Manufacturing Inc., Bethel School District, The Boeing Company, CenturyLink, CHI Franciscan Health, City of DuPont, City of Tacoma, Cole Graphic Solutions, Columbia Bank, Comcast, Coordinated Care, Costco, DaVita, Employee Community Fund of Boeing, Puget Sound Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Heritage Bank, JayRay, Kaiser Permanente, Korean Women's Association, Korum Automotive Group, MultiCare Health System, Mutual of Enumclaw, The News Tribune, NuStar Energy, Pierce County Government, Pierce Transit, Port of Tacoma, Puget Sound Energy, Puyallup School District, Regence Blue Shield,, Russell Investments, Sumner School District, Tacoma Public Schools, Tacoma Public Utilities

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, Target, Titus-Will Chevrolet – Tacoma, TrueBlue, Inc.,

U.S. Oil & Refining Company, United Parcel Service and WestRock.

Many of United Way’s successful campaigns come from the generous support of corporate sponsorships and workplace campaigns. Hundreds of local firms have built long-term relationships with United Way. United Way connects companies and their employees to socially responsible programs and activities that have a positive impact on local residents.

The issue of poverty is complex so United Way is charged with bringing greater understanding of the issues in the community. Part of that understanding comes with engaging employees in volunteering and advocacy opportunities to bring the work to life.  

Ponepinto, who is also a member of the Governor’s Poverty Reduction Work Group shared with the group, “Last year we set a bold goal to lift 15,000 households out of poverty by 2028. This has informed our work to focus on two key strategies. We are ensuring people have access to basic needs through South Sound 2-1-1. This helps them stabilize and move into self-sufficiency. Our Center for Strong Families reaches people in low- income neighborhoods so they can get and keep better paying jobs and improve long-term economic mobility. Quite frankly, we could not do this without your support and belief in our work.”

About United Way: United Way of Pierce County has a bold goal to lift 15,000 households out of poverty and into financial stability by 2028. We will achieve this by mobilizing local businesses, community organizations, governmental agencies and individuals, to make a long-term measurable difference in our community. Together, we are creating a stronger community. To learn more or to join our fight against poverty in Pierce County, visit