17:53 PM

TPA employees step up to give record United Way contributions

With its popular 5K on the Runway canceled and the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority facing a 97 percent drop in business due to COVID-19, Tampa International Airport’s United Way Suncoast giving campaign felt a little deflated compared to previous years.

When the campaign co-chairs urged that donations were needed now more than ever, though, Authority employees stepped up.

The final tally?

More than $66,500 in pledged employee donations – a 13 percent increase over last year and a record for the Authority. Of those that gave, 70 percent increased their giving or gave for the first time.

“In a year full of so much uncertainty and personal turmoil for many, our employees came through with an even more generous spirit than ever,” said Paul Ridgeway, TPA’s Director of Maintenance and this year’s giving campaign co-chair along with Police Chief Charlie Vazquez. “Even though the overall giving numbers are down because of the 5K cancellation, we’re thrilled with the outcome.”

The Authority will be donating more than $91,000 to UWS, thanks to the employee giving campaign as well as $3,500 from Sheltair and Transamerica, which donated their sponsorship dollars for the 5K despite the event’s cancellation. The campaign also collected $17,605 in airline raffle ticket sales and $1,500 in a “summer beard initiative” hosted by TPA’s Police Department.

Over the last few years, the UWS has named Tampa International Airport one of Tampa Bay area’s Most Generous Workplaces, and the organization praised TPA employees for their increased donations this year, despite the loss of the 5K contribution.

“On behalf of United Way Suncoast, we would like to wholeheartedly thank the Tampa International Airport team for giving more than you have ever given before,” United Way Suncoast CEO Jessica Muroff said. “We know this time has been tremendously difficult for you, too. It is devastating to too many individuals in our community. Your support could not be more important as we recover from this current crisis. It is inspiring that you have stepped up to support our work.”

To learn more about the United Way Suncoast and the work they do throughout the region, go to the UWS website.