The Wendy's Company announced Wednesday that it has recognized 10 employees through its annual Community Ambassador Grant Program. Through this program, Wendy's celebrates and honors company employees for exemplary volunteerism and service in their local communities with a $2,500 grant to the organization they support with their time and talents. One Community Ambassador of the Year is selected from this group and awarded an additional $10,000 grant for their organization. Stephanie Shaw, Vice President of Enterprise Solutions & Analytics at Wendy's Restaurant Support Center, has been named Wendy's 2018 Community Ambassador of the Year for her leadership and support of Alvis in Columbus, Ohio. Alvis is a nonprofit human services agency, providing treatment programs, including research-based, comprehensive reentry and family support programs; behavioral health and substance abuse treatment services; recovery housing for women and their children; and services to individuals with developmental disabilities who are trying to live more independently.
"Giving back is deeply rooted in our brand's history and it's inspiring that Wendy's employees are using their personal strengths and passion to better the lives of others," says Liliana Esposito, chief communications officer. "The Wendy's family congratulates Stephanie Shaw for the impact she's made at Alvis, and recognizes all of our Community Ambassadors for living our brand values and dedicating their time and talents to positively impact our communities."
Company employees from across the Wendy's family—from restaurant team members, Restaurant Support Center staff, and field employees—can apply for a Community Ambassador grant. A committee comprised of Company officers, field and restaurant employees, and previous Ambassadors select ten individuals based on their level of personal commitment, leadership qualities, and efforts that enable the charity to succeed:
Stephanie Shaw supporting Alvis, Columbus, OH (Community Ambassador of the Year) —Stephanie was introduced to Alvis through a colleague at Wendy's and was immediately drawn to the organization's mission to help people turn their lives around after criminal justice involvement. Stephanie sits on the Alvis board of trustees, and in 2018, she assumed leadership roles in two key areas: as the co-chairperson of the annual Evening of Light fundraiser and as the chairwoman of the IT sub-committee. Stephanie's commitment to Evening of Light raised enough funds for nearly 400 women to participate in parenting classes and allowed for more than 800 children to engage in therapeutic activities with their mothers in safe environments. Stephanie is passionate about creating strong families, and with the funds from this $12,500 Community Ambassador grant, more children will be able to participate in Alvis' 10-week Family and Children's Program, which focuses on family reunification and provides resources to children and families left behind when a parent has been involved in the criminal justice system.
Deon Alexander supporting Columbus Gay Men's Chorus, Columbus, OH—A long-time supportive patron of the Columbus Gay Men's Chorus (CGMC), Deon decided to add his voice to the mix early last year to express his passion for advocacy and equality. Deon dedicates his time to rehearsals and performances, and volunteers on the CGMC's membership committee where he's responsible for planning social activities. Deon also participates as a "chorus buddy", a program that pairs CGMC vets with new members, and enjoys creating a welcoming and inclusive environment among the group.
Brianne Barcomb supporting Guardians for the Animals of Ohio, Westerville, OH—An advocate for at-risk dogs at the Franklin County Dog Shelter, Brianne was introduced to Guardians for the Animals of Ohio, an organization dedicated to saving dogs, through a local rescue event. Brianne spends time each week networking on social media to connect rescue dogs to foster homes, and even fosters dogs herself if there's a need. Brianne and the Guardians team work directly with other rescues, fosters, and adopters while encouraging positive, progressive changes at the Franklin County Dog Shelter.
Deneisha Franklin supporting BlackTech Columbus, Columbus, OH—Last year, Deneisha co-founded BlackTech Columbus with nine other members of the community to create a space for black technology professionals to connect, collaborate and create. Deneisha serves as secretary of the executive board and leads the planning and logistics committee where she focuses on creating quality programming and events for local IT professionals. She also helped BlackTech Columbus launch an educational series focused on three IT-related career paths—coding, data & analytics, and information security—that educates members on these subjects and provides networking opportunities with local industry experts to help members acquire the necessary skills to begin or advance their careers.
Marsha Gordon supporting Family Mentor Foundation, Columbus, OH—Marsha became involved with Family Mentor Foundation after learning about the organization's dedication to meeting the nutritional needs of children in our community. Each month, Marsha organizes volunteers to create Buddy Boxes—a box filled with kid-friendly, nutritious, nonperishable food items—that makes it easy for children to prepare food on their own at home. During the 2017-2018 academic year, Family Mentor Foundation provided nearly 18,000 Buddy Boxes to children in schools throughout Central Ohio.
Holly Hykes supporting Norwich PTO, Hilliard, OH—Holly became involved with the Norwich PTO two years ago and currently serves as both the secretary and treasurer of the board, and also organizes several events for the school throughout the year. Her passion for continuous learning has influenced the PTO to work with the school administration to implement several enrichment programs for students, including partnerships with JA Biztown and BalletMet. Holly also helped establish a new fundraiser for the school, The Big Give, which raised more than $15,000 last year.
Rocky Knepper supporting EAA Chapter 1240, Sebring, FL—Rocky became involved with the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1240 four years ago while searching for a place to continue private pilot flying. Recently, Chapter 1240 created a partnership with local organizations, including the School Board of Highlands County, FL, to develop a program dedicated to youth aviation education by incorporating the STEM curriculum. Rocky is passionate about supporting the Chapter's monthly pancake breakfast fundraisers and hopes Chapter 1240 can expand educational opportunities to additional school districts in the area.
Amber Parsley supporting AngelWorks, Gahanna, OH—Amber became involved with AngelWorks, an organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds for children with cancer, through friends who were purchasing gifts for families through AngelWork's annual Project Claus program. Last year, Amber spent two months arranging the first AngelWorks toy drive at her Wendy's restaurant, which brought in more than 450 toy donations for more than 80 families. Amber is extremely thankful to the team members and customers who supported her toy drive and hopes to help bring joy to even more families later this year.
Bryant Shumate supporting Heath Sertoma Youth Athletic Association (HSYAA), Heath, OH – For the past eight years, Bryant has used his technology skillset to support HSYAA, an organization dedicated to creating a positive learning environment for youth from different backgrounds through sports. Bryant helps to maintain the HSYAA content management system, as well as all web-based technology, which creates a better experience for the association's managers and participants. Bryant also assists with several annual HSYAA fundraisers and because of this fundraising, HSYAA is low-cost and available for every student to participate.
Heather Stanton supporting Arthritis Foundation, Columbus, OH – Heather began volunteering with the Arthritis Foundation in 2011 and has supported chapters in Louisville, KY and Columbus, OH. Diagnosed with osteoarthritis as a young adult, Heather has a personal connection to the Foundation's mission to find a cure. Heather is the volunteer coordinator for four of the Foundation's annual events in Columbus, and serves as an advocate for the Foundation by hosting an annual education event at the Ohio State University.