Every year, perhaps the most special day at UMI comes during the “Jimmy Award” presentation. This award is named after our founder, Jim Young, who sadly passed away in 2011. The positive influence and charitable imprint Jim had on this world would be too long to summarize. However, one of the greatest qualities of Jim’s legacy is the impact he made in his community. The Jimmy Award does not just honor the individual who has had a profound effect in the workplace, but who truly dedicates themselves to a life serving others outside of the office. Whether that be through charity, church, coaching, or any other donation of time and/or money, Jim and UMI always believed that improving the lives of those less fortunate was of paramount importance.
This year, that award and honor was given to Ann Shields. In addition to being the EVP/Chief Customer Officer of Universal Companies, handling day-to-day interaction with clients, and being a prominent and highly skilled radio buyer, Annie dedicates herself to a life of giving. The below paragraphs outline Annie’s numerous involvements, written in her own words. Congrats again, Annie!
I was brought up to believe that God blesses us, so it is our responsibility to bless others. This was instilled in me at a very early age, by my parents who set a great standard for me. For example, growing up I used to go with my dad to the Mission for battered women and children, and give them food for the center. Not just at the holidays, but all throughout the year. When I first got married, my husband and I took it to the next level, and not only delivered food, but at Christmas, we would get the names of all the children and their Christmas wish list. We would go out to buy the gifts, and then do a wrapping party with friends to share the joy. The gifts were given to the children from Santa, and anonymously.
I was also brought up to show random acts of kindness or to pay it forward. Examples were paying for the coffee of the person behind you in line at a convenience or drive-thru, and prior to EZ-Pass, paying the tolls for the next car in line, or helping load groceries for an elderly couple. Most recently, started by my husband Don, we started picking up the tab in a restaurant for our military and the people with them. Again, whenever possible we do it anonymously. We never do these ideas for the recognition, but only with the hopes of brightening someone’s day, and in the faith and potential of paying it forward.
It was a combination of the way I was brought up, coupled with my beliefs in giving, that I started getting more involved in the community with specific organizations. In 2000, through one of our client’s, Giant Food Stores, I became introduced to the Children’s Miracle Network. I became involved in two ways. First, I was invited to come to one of their board meetings. I really appreciated the diversity of the board, the group’s compassion and driven leadership, it’s mission, and what the organization stands for. Later that year, I was invited to join the board. Since that time, I have held many different roles. I currently serve on the executive leadership committee and have just been elected as Chairman of the CMN board. In addition, I’m an active member with the Hummingbird Program committee. This program cares for children with serious health problems that can’t be cured. Moreover, the program offers palliative and supportive care that fits each family’s needs.
Through my involvement, CMN has been a major charity that our company gives back to you in both employee volunteerism as well as charitable giving. They are very few that we have not personally volunteered at. Such examples are: the annually radiothons and TV-telethon, fashion shows, and gala committees. We also serve Dairy Queen Blizzards for Breakfast every August during the DQ Miracle Treat Day, helping John and Pam Miller at the DQ in Roosevelt Avenue, York, to be the largest grossing DQ Miracle Treat Day provider nationwide. In addition, we participate in the Blizzard Run, the Hershey Company’s 5K and Half Marathons, IHOP National Pancake Day, the Extraordinary Give, Extra Life Game Day, Live 2 Lead Conferences, Tony’s Team, and the Giant Corporate Golf Outing.
Secondly, I became involved specifically with CMN, but also with pediatric cancer and research, fighting hunger with various local and reginal food banks as well as USO. I volunteer and serve on the AHOLD’s Our Family Foundation committee that hosts many events, including an annual golf outing that serves 1900 golfers across 15 courses across Central PA. I developed a proprietary vendor partnership program with all of our advertising vendors that helps raise over a million dollars annually to this foundation. Over the past 15+ years, our company has driven millions of dollars for this foundation.
Next, I serve on the Saint Arbogast for Kids’ Foundation, who principles are to help as many children as possible and keeping donations local to support kids in our backyards. In 2015, I was awarded the “Miracle Monk” award for appreciation in the support of the foundation’s mission.
Succeeding, I am a member of the Harrisburg Senators Sens Care program that is sponsored by The Burg. The Burg Foundation provides grants to nonprofits to allow them to improve awareness and educate the local community.
Through our company, we are strong supporters of CASA, the Capital Area School for the Arts. We participate in the Sunset Soiree, a fund raiser for the school as well as their Mid-Year Performance and Art Gallery events. These talented individuals are joy to be around and spread their enjoyment with their passion in the performing arts.
Finally, I am honored to serve on the Greater Harrisburg ASA board. This organization helps to promote opportunities for individuals with Autism to participate in the same valued life experiences as other citizens do. This is a foundation that is close to our hearts, as we have a high functioning autistic son. This organization has not only help us with our son with various programs and functions, but it’s a great way for our family to give back to an organization that has given us so much. I serve on the Logan Walk/Run committee as a supporter that helps fundraise for individuals with Autism, as well as the Giving Committees for the Annual Sensory Picnic, Camp Day, and Holiday party.
To receive the Jimmy Award this year, was an unbelievable honor, and one that I will cherish forever. Through the years, Jim was an active participant and generous donor to many local charities, primarily the United Methodist Home for Children, where he and his brothers grew up. Jim provided tremendous leadership in our company and to the community at large. Jim remains a true inspiration to us all, but I was truly blessed to call him a mentor, friend, and brother-in-law.