This year's celebration was held at the Delta Flight Museum and there were plenty of puns packed into the two-hour program. (Photo by Casey Sykes/Rank Studios.)

By Hannah E. Jones

On Thursday, Sept. 7, members of Atlanta’s business community gathered for the Corporate Volunteer Council of Atlanta’s (CVC) annual IMPACT Awards. Now in its 26th year, the IMPACT Awards recognize companies of all sizes that lend their talent, skills and resources to help their communities thrive. 

Cheryl Kortemeier and Imara Canady. (Photo by Casey Sykes/Rank Studios.)

The celebration was held at the Delta Flight Museum and there were plenty of puns packed into the two-hour program. The “captains” included 11Alive Morning Meteorologist Chesley McNeil as emcee, along with CVC Executive Director Cheryl Kortemeier and CVC President Imara Canady of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Live “on-flight” music was played by Cari and Cool Groove and Question ATL.

CVC Atlanta helps member companies deliver business results through their commitment to civic engagement and social impact. It’s the only CVC in the nation to be recognized three times as “CVC of the Year” by Points of Light.

“I remain encouraged when our CVC is continuing to evolve and to consider our influence on how the field of [corporate social responsibility] can be more inclusive and help improve workplace and community equity,” Canady said. “We also are continuing to inspire the next generation of civic leaders.”

There was plenty of anticipation as the finalists were announced, eager to be recognized for their commitment to corporate social impact. The companies were nominated for the awards and the nominations were then reviewed by anonymous panels with leaders in corporate social responsibility.

There were three awards up for grabs, including the Corporate Program of the Year, Innovative Corporate Project of the Year and Corporate Skills-Based Award.

Veritiv was named the winner of the IMPACT Corporate Skills-Based Award for its partnership with Girl Scouts. The company created the packaging for the Girl Scouts’ new cookie, the Raspberry Rally, and saved the nonprofit $15,000 in overhead costs.

IHG Hotels & Resorts was selected for the IMPACT Corporate Program of the Year for the team’s efforts in assembling and delivering meal kits for students in need, along with an additional 3,600 volunteer hours with local nonprofits.

Amazon was awarded the IMPACT Innovative Corporate Project of the Year for disaster relief efforts for Spalding County after a severe tornado struck in January. They also gave $25,000 to the local technical college to support scholarships for students with hardships.

Rose Scott and Stephanie Stuckey. (Photo by Casey Sykes/Rank Studios.)

Following the awards ceremony, WABE’s Rose Scott took the stage to chat with Stephanie Stuckey, CEO of Stuckey’s Corporation, to reflect on the importance of corporations having strong values and doing their part within the community.

Stuckey’s was founded by Stephanie’s grandfather in 1937 as a roadside pecan stand. The pecan treats began to grow in popularity, and the company expanded throughout the country. But by the 1970s, they had hit hard times and sold to an outside buyer. The business continued to dwindle — going from 368 stores to only 13 original locations still open — and in 2021 Stephanie purchased Stuckey’s, determined to revitalize her family’s beloved company.

When discussing social impact, Stephanie pointed to their manufacturing plant, located in Wrens, Ga. This is a small town with 2,100 residents, a median household income of about $31,300 and majority of the employees don’t have a high school diploma. Stephanie is committed to helping her employees thrive by providing fair compensation and a positive work culture.

Stephanie noted that Amazon also moved to town, offering slightly higher wages than Stuckey’s. And yet, the pecan company lost only two employees to Amazon and they both returned. She said her values of community and compassion were instilled by her grandfather, who lived by the mantra “every traveler is a friend.”

At the end of the program, the team announced that the 2024 IMPACT awards will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 10. If you’re interested in learning more about CVC’s work with volunteerism in Atlanta’s corporate world, click here.

Hannah Jones is a Georgia State University graduate, with a major in journalism and minor in public policy. She began studying journalism in high school and has since served as a reporter and editor for...

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