United Way presents four awards at National Philanthropy Day celebration

Pictured Left to Right: Paige Stephenson, Jim Smith, Elaine Smith, Harold Chandler, Courtney Edwards, Wes Lehrer

Spartanburg, S.C. (November 16, 2017) – United Way of the Piedmont is pleased to announce our honorees for this year’s National Philanthropy Day Awards.
National Philanthropy Day® (NPD) is celebrated by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and hundreds of nonprofit and for-profit organizations throughout North America. This year NPD is November 15th and on this special day, we recognize the great philanthropic contributions to the community of philanthropy and those active volunteers who devote their time to advance the efforts of various organizations.
The local chapter of AFP, the Piedmont Chapter, held a special luncheon at the Embassy Suites in Greenville to honor this year’s award winners. As part of the event, United Way of the Piedmont was proud to recognize the following:
● Milliken & Company as the Corporate Philanthropist of the Year
Milliken & Company is a longtime partner of United Way, and continues to demonstrate their commitment to the community through corporate engagement, associate giving and community service opportunities. J. Harold Chandler, CEO, President and Chairman of the Board of Milliken & Company, says, “It is an extraordinary honor to receive the United Way Corporate Philanthropist of the Year recognition. The generosity of our Spartanburg-based associates enables us to demonstrate a strong commitment to the community through our partnership with the United Way of the Piedmont. As a company, we believe we are only as successful as our communities are successful - a sentiment which our associates embrace wholeheartedly. They are the true philanthropists of the year.”

● Elaine and Jim Smith as the Individual/Family Philanthropist of the Year
Jim Smith is one of the founders of Contec, Inc. and his wife, Elaine, is Contec’s Director of Human Resources. Both are active members of United Way of the Piedmont’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society and Elaine is also a member of Women United and the Board of Directors. Elaine says, “For us, philanthropic giving means we are recognizing and supporting the need for sustainable transformation in our community, the kind of transformation that leads to a better quality of life for everyone. While there will always be the need to provide for those unexpected short-term needs, real progress in our community happens when we come together to develop and support programs that drive that transformation. We love living in Spartanburg and doing what we can to support our community.”

● Wes Lehrer as the Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year
Wes Lehrer is the South Carolina Commercial Real Estate Manager at BB&T. Lehrer is the Chair of United Way of the Piedmont’s Board of Directors and has been instrumental in the strategic growth of the organization, championing its mission to connect, engage, and inspire people to transform our community. Lehrer says, “I'm honored to receive this award and represent United Way of the Piedmont. It is easy to advocate and fundraise for an organization when you believe in the work they do and have seen the positive impact firsthand. UWP is truly making our community a better place. I am so proud to be part of it and know the best is yet to come!”
● Renee Klein as the Young Philanthropist of the year
Renee Klein is a Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Klein is a member of United Way of the Piedmont’s Board of Directors and Chair of Young Leaders. Klein says, “I am honored to receive the Young Philanthropist of the Year Award. To me, Philanthropy is so much more than donating money; it is crucial to donate time, advocating for those less fortunate who truly need our help. I hope that my passion and energy for service can inspire others to want to engage in their community as well.”

About National Philanthropy Day®
National Philanthropy Day® (NPD) is the special day set aside to recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy – and those people active in the philanthropic community – have made to our lives, our communities and our world.
When NPD was first celebrated in 1986, then-President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation officially recognizing Nov. 15, 1986, as National Philanthropy Day®. Since then, the day has been recognized by numerous state, provincial and local governments across North America.
About United Way of the Piedmont
United Way of the Piedmont is a local nonprofit that fights for the education, financial stability, and health of every member of our community. Our mission is to connect, engage, and inspire people to transform our community. We are more than fundraisers. We forge unique partnerships, find new solutions to old problems, and mobilize the best resources by inspiring others to join the fight. We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to not just survive, but to thrive.