By Maria Saporta
SunTrust Banks has entered into premier status with United Way Worldwide — announcing Wednesday that it has become a United Way Global Corporate Leadership Partner.
The Atlanta-based bank in 2010 gave a total of $8.4 million to United Way nationally, including $3.1 million to the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta through both the employee and corporate giving.
Of that, the SunTrust Foundation gave a total of $2.88 million in 2010. A supersized check of $2.88 million decorated the SunTrust board room during the announcement.
“The legacy of this institution with United Way goes back to the very beginning,” said Bill Rogers, CEO of SunTrust. “We believe United Way is the most effective way to contribute to the community.”
And it’s not just money. Last year, SunTrust employees volunteered 100,000 hours in the community. This year, the bank is on track to have 125,000 volunteer hours. SunTrust offers its employees two days with pay so they can volunteer in the community.
Rogers, and his predecessor Jim Wells, said the new global partnership helped SunTrust realign all of its United Way campaigns across its territory.
“We are going to run a more common theme across all our United Way campaigns,” said Wells, who currently is SunTrust’s executive chairman. He added that the bank has been eligible to become a global partner for years.
United Way has a $1.5 million threshold for national partners and a $2.5 million threshold for global partners.
“With SunTrust now becoming part of the global leadership community, it means a lot for the United Way system,” said Milton Little, president and CEO of Atlanta’s United Way. “I hope it will mean a lot for SunTrust’s employees as well.”
Brian Gallagher, the president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based United Way Worldwide, was supposed to be present for the announcement. But he had to cancel his trip because he got the flu.
SunTrust becomes the fifth Atlanta company to become one of United Way’s global partners. The other companies are: UPS, Delta Air Lines, Lockheed and NCR.