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2018 – 2019 Citizens of the Year

Wally and Barbara Weitz received the Citizens of the Year Award for their dedication to our community and its well-being.

There are so many caring and committed community members in our metro. With advice and counsel from the previous Citizen of the Year recipients, United Way of the Midlands is proud to name a special couple for this year’s recognition: Wally and Barbara Weitz.

Wally Weitz was born in Pittsburgh to a social worker and a college professor. He grew up in New Orleans in the 50s and 60s, where the roots of both entrepreneurial instinct and social conscience were evident early. He earned a B.A. in economics at Carleton College, where today he serves as the Chair of Board of Trustees, and went to New York to work for a small Wall Street firm. In 1973, Wally and Barbara moved to Omaha, in pursuit of Midwestern surroundings. Wally joined Chiles, Heider, a regional investment firm where he spent 10 years managing accounts for individuals and doing equity research. In 1983, he founded Weitz Investment Management, which now manages about $4 billion in assets through its family of mutual funds and separately managed accounts.

Barbara Weitz was born in Lincoln where she lived with her family until her father completed law school and they moved to Charleston, SC. Her family would relocate one more time – to Chicago – before they returned to Nebraska when Barbara was seven. She graduated from Westside High School in Omaha and earned a B.A. in political science from Carleton College, where she met Wally. With her degree, she entered the job market and worked as a speech writer for the Minnesota governor’s office. Shortly after, Wally and Barbara married and moved to New York City, where Barbara earned her Master’s in Public Administration from New York University. When they returned to Omaha, she began a career as a mother, volunteer and director of Christian Education for a local Presbyterian congregation. After she received her MSW from University of Nebraska Omaha, she taught in the School of Social Work for 15 years. Currently, she serves on the University of Nebraska’s Board of Regents.

Together, Mr. and Mrs. Weitz began the Weitz Family Foundation in 2000. The Foundation seeks to break the cycle of poverty in Omaha, NE, by empowering individuals, agencies and organizations to create a more equitable and peaceful society. Beyond the work of their foundation, the couple is active in the local non-profit community, focusing their efforts on education, social justice and the arts.

The Weitzs are most proud of their three children, Katie, Roger and Drew, and their six grandchildren.

Annual Meeting Award Winners

The UWM Campaign Recognition Awards honor those companies who went above and beyond to support United Way of the Midlands during the 2018 campaign.

Approximately 700 organizations generously dedicated their time and financial support to United Way of the Midlands during the 2018 campaign, empowering us to create lasting change within the community. To celebrate their efforts, we will present our 2nd annual Campaign Recognition Awards at our Annual Meeting.

While we wish we could recognize the contributions of every partner, we will present awards to those companies who have gone above and beyond to support UWM. We believe the following awards capture the unique and varied nature of our partnerships: Volunteer Organization of the Year, New Business Partner of the Year and Corporate Partners of the Year. Because we know small organizations can still make a big impact, the Corporate Partner of the Year award will once again be presented to companies within four different employee size categories.

Our intent is to award a single winner in each category, but we wanted to share the top contenders for each award with you as well.

Volunteer Organization of the Year

This award is presented annually to a company that consistently strives to improve our community through volunteerism. Selection is based on the percentage of a company’s total employees who participated in UWM volunteer events during the previous campaign year.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska

Blue Cross and Blue Shield has been serving Nebraskans for over 80 years and is committed to providing stability and security to Nebraska families and is leading the way in supporting patient-focused care. Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the state’s largest health insurance company, and the only one headquartered in Nebraska. Runners-Up: Sojern and OPPD

New Business Partner of the Year

This award is presented to a business that recently chose to invest in our community through United Way of the Midlands. Businesses that did not donate to UWM in the previous campaign year are eligible for consideration.

Midwest Maintenance, Co. Inc.

Midwest Maintenance held an engaging first-year campaign, raising an impressive sum for United Way of the Midlands. Midwest Maintenance is a building services contractor company that provides commercial cleaning services, janitorial services, floor care and much more.  The company’s goal is to make their clients’ surroundings healthy, welcoming and inspiring so that they can perpetuate that feeling in their work. Runners-Up: Siena/Francis House, The Standard, CBRE/MEGA and Completely KIDS

Corporate Partner of the Year

This award is presented to businesses in four different employee size ranges that have shown an exceptional level of dedication to United Way of Midlands and the community through their corporate campaign fundraising efforts. To be eligible, the organization’s total gift must exceed $3,000. Selection criteria include the year-over-year growth of their United Way campaign and per capita giving.

Under 100 Employees – IBEW Local 22

The IBEW Local 22 labor union has been a dedicated UWM partner for more than 25 years. During the 2018 campaign year, they exceeded the amount raised through their 2017 campaign by an impressive twelve times over. Local 22 is one of 2,376 local electrical unions across the United States and has been Omaha’s Electrical Construction Union since 1892. The union is designed to provide assistance and a voice for the local electrical worker in all matters and issues that affect their lives. Runners-up: Pittman Animal Hospital, TeamMates – Omaha Mentoring Program, BMO Harris Bank, N.A. and Greater America Distributing

100-199 Employees – Lindsay Corporation

With its Global Headquarters in Omaha, Lindsay Corporation, is a leading global manufacturer and distributor of irrigation and infrastructure equipment and technology. Established in 1955, the company has been at the forefront of research and development of innovative solutions to meet the food, fuel, fiber and transportation needs of the world’s rapidly growing population. Runners-up: Eaton Corporation – Omaha, Green Hills Area Education Agency, Aetna/Coventry Health Care of Nebraska and NAPA Auto Parts

200-799 Employees – Scheels

SCHEELS has generously donated to the community through UWM for 12 years. During the 2018 campaign year, they doubled the amount they raised for UWM in the previous year. ​SCHEELS is an employee-owned, privately held all sports retailer and entertainment destination with stores in 12 states including North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Nevada, Illinois, Utah, Kansas and Colorado. Runners-up: Cobalt Credit Union, Streck Inc., Tenaska, Inc. and Markel

800+ Employees – Valmont Industries, Inc.

Headquartered in Omaha, Valmont Industries is a leading, global producer and distributor of products and services for the infrastructure and agricultural markets. They have 87 manufacturing facilities in 23 countries, operate across 6 continents and do business in more than 100 countries. Runners-up: Lozier Corporation, Physicians Mutual, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska and Omaha Public Power District

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