For the past 26 years, I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the greatest people in our community as we prepare for United Way of Utah County’s annual Day of Caring event.

This event, which was held just last week, brings together dozens of corporate partners to complete volunteer projects across the county. This year, more than 30 local companies with more than 2,000 volunteers completed projects at 38 locations across Utah County. Thanks to their committed and generous service, thousands of children and families in our community will benefit for months and even years to come. It is remarkable to see what we can accomplish when we all come together!

This year, I was especially struck by the wonderful collaboration and support our partners provided to help make sure the event was a success. There are so many people who work so hard to organize and carry out these projects, and they often don’t receive the recognition they deserve. The amount of effort required to put on to coordinate this kind of project is truly amazing, and this kind of success would not be possible without the help of so many partners. Today, I want to highlight just a few of the many, many people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make the event come together.

For example, we all know about the great hotel and restaurant services the Provo Marriott Hotel and Conference Center provides in downtown Provo. But you may not know of their great generosity in providing breakfast for over 1,000 volunteers on Day of Caring each year. John Garfield, general manager of the Provo Marriott, has been a key partner in this donation, and we are so appreciative of his support for our community.

It is a powerful sight to see so many Marriott Hotel employees working side by side on Day of Caring, assisting our community and civic leaders who volunteer to serve breakfast to Day of Caring participants. Sometimes the Marriott employees even step in to teach them how to make the best pancakes for our volunteers! Thanks to them, all of our volunteers can head out to their projects with energy and enthusiasm.

Speaking of the kickoff breakfast, I would also be amiss if I didn’t mention Nu Skin’s generosity in hosting that event in their back yard for the past five years. Nu Skin has been a valued community partner for over 30 years, and their commitment to making a difference in our community is inspiring. We are so grateful to them for opening their doors and welcoming our volunteers and staff members for this event each year.

Another partner whose support is crucial to Day of Caring’s success is Brigham Young University. Not only did they host our breakfast event at LaVell Edwards Stadium for 20 years, but they continue to be engaged the planning, organizing, and coordinating of Day of Caring. Not only do they donate tables, chairs and canopies for the breakfast event, they also give generously of their technical expertise to help us design and complete our most challenging projects. BYU makes a significant impact on our community through this event every year. We are so grateful for the hundreds of volunteers they bring every Day of Caring and for their ongoing dedication to our community.

I also wanted to mention our friends at Jones Paint and Glass. We’ve been neighbors with Jones in downtown Provo for 30 years, and each year they help us prepare for Day of Caring. They’ve helped us not only by generously donating paint supplies and other materials for our volunteer projects, but also by using their expertise to help us identify the best supplies for each project. Each year, Mark Butler ,vice president of finance and marketing at Jones Paint and Glass, wanders the community with us. He looks over project sites and shares not only his time but his expertise. Thanks to him and the other staff members at Jones Paint and Glass, we can make sure that the work done on Day of Caring lasts for months and even years to come.

As I reflect on the successful completion of another Day of Caring event, I am humbled and inspired by the level of commitment our community partners show each year. Thanks to the hundreds of dedicated volunteers, local agencies have been refurbished. Schools have been repainted. Children have been read to and have spent time with caring adults. Each sector of our community has benefited from these committed efforts. And if we can have this much impact on one day of service, just imagine the impact we can have by coming together throughout the year.

To learn more about how to partner with United Way, please call (801) 374-2588.