TSYS and United Way employees reveal a big check for the amount of $1,275,987.

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TSYS Unites in Support of the United Way

Dec 5, 2018

TSYS and United Way employees reveal a big check for the amount of $1,275,987.

From Boston to San Francisco, to Columbus and Canada, when it comes to giving back, the people of TSYS always step up for a good cause. Especially when it involves the United Way in North America.

Each year our team raises more than $1 million for the United Way and its respective agencies and has fun while doing it. From bake sales to volleyball to BINGO and Whiffle ball, we enjoy the camaraderie and friendly competition that takes place during fundraising activities.

This year, in fact, TSYS raised $1.7 million companywide for the United Way. That money pours back into our communities and helps transform lives through caring organizations such as Goodwill, Easterseals, Feeding the Valley Food Bank (Columbus, Ga.), Saint Louise House (Austin, Texas), Destination Graduation (Tempe, Ariz.), Safe Shelter (Broomfield, Colo.), and the Intercultural Senior Center (Omaha, Neb.).

As an example, at our corporate headquarters in Columbus, Ga., the United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley supports and funds 28 charitable organizations and 56 community programs throughout the area.

This year, our very own Keith Pierce, EVP and chief operating office for Issuer Solutions at TSYS, served as chairperson of the United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley, an organization that has funded local nonprofit agencies for nearly 70 years. Pierce said he is proud of the way TSYS team members step up every year to support the United Way through their gifts, service and volunteer work.

TSYS United Way campaign reveal video.

"TSYS partners enthusiastically with the United Way every year because we believe in helping others and giving back to the community," said Pierce. "Through its leadership and funding, the United Way positively touches the lives of thousands of people every year and we embrace and support that mission."

In celebration of the United Way and the good work they do in the community, we recently caught up with four TSYS team members who have been impacted by one of the organization's agencies. Here are their stories.

CASA helps foster parent adopt little girl

Little Lola Beth, 3, finally has a permanent home. She was adopted earlier this year by TSYS team member Melissa James.

James had been Lola Beth's foster parent since birth. Now she’s officially a parent thanks to the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), an organization that navigates the foster system on behalf of children. CASA's goal is to help ensure neglected or abused children are placed in a safe and healthy home environment.

Born addicted to drugs because her birth mother was a user, Lola Beth is a survivor. She survived nearly three years in the foster care and court system. She endured the scrutiny of the Georgia Division of Family and Child Services (DFCS).

Photo of Melissa James and her daughter LolaBut in the end, CASA fought for Lola Beth and convinced the court that the best place for her to be was in the loving and caring arms of James.

"I was ecstatic, over the moon," said James, a business analyst at TSYS. "We wouldn't be a family if it hadn't been for CASA."

These days, Lola Beth is doing well and stays busy in activities such as soccer and dance. She has little to no symptoms from drug addiction other than a low immune system, said her mother.

"I feel blessed to be her mother," said James. "She's legally and forever mine. I'm so proud of her. She’s right where she's supposed to be."

CASA is an arm of Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services Inc., which is an agency supported by the United Way.

Girls Inc. empowers young women

TSYS team member Gail Burgos gets excited when she talks about Girls Inc., the non-profit organization with the central goal of empowering and inspiring girls and young women.

For more than 20 years, Burgos has served as a volunteer at Girls Inc., which is an agency of the United Way. The organization provides after-school care, summer programs and other activities for girls ages 6 to 18 in Columbus, Ga., but also has programs across the country.

All three of her daughters were involved in Girls Inc. and participated in the many activities that the organization provides. These activities include sports, such as basketball, soccer and tennis, and other interests, such as computers and financial literacy classes.

Burgos, chief diversity inclusion officer at TSYS, said Girls Inc. had a significant impact on the lives of her daughters, who are all now adults.

TSYS team member Gail Burgos poses with girls involved with Girls Inc. in Columbus Georgia.

"It was a great place for them to be," she said. "I am so proud of my daughters and very thankful to Girls Inc. for helping them be the strong, smart and bold women that they are today."

The latest Girls Inc. initiative that Burgos is involved in is called Project Cookie Jar, a volunteer program that teaches girls about money management and other financial matters. The initiative is a 9-month program of Girls Inc. and has expanded into three locations.

"We need to plant seeds early with girls about saving money, financial literacy and preparing for college," said Burgos.

Easterseals helps daughter with autism

TSYS team member Marie Moncus said she was grateful for Easterseals, the nonprofit organization that cares for children with special needs. Moncus has a daughter, Amanda, with autism.

Now 21, Amanda attended Easterseals for after-school care and therapy for eight years. She often rode the bus from her school to Easterseals.

"It's a nice, calm environment with certified instructors," said Moncus, a business analyst at TSYS. "We had a good experience there and Amanda enjoyed it. Easterseals made a difference in our lives."

One of the activities that Amanda enjoyed the most at Easterseals was swinging on the swings on the outdoor playground.

Moncus said Easterseals was made affordable thanks to the funding provided by the United Way. "It cost less than the cost of daycare and they had special instructors," she said.

Children standing with TSYS team members as they reveal the 2018 campaign total of $1,275,987.

United Way crisis hotline sparks recovery

Pregnant with her fourth child, Tammie Daugherty was let go from her job more than a decade ago and didn't know where to turn.

"I went through a layoff that hugely impacted our family income," she said. "I was determined to continue to be a good wife and mother, but this was a very difficult time for our entire family. There were a lot of emotions, frustration and tears during this time."

A friend suggested she call the United Way crisis hotline, 211, to see if they could help. So that’s what Daugherty did – and she was pleasantly surprised. She was connected to specialists who gave her sound advice and needed encouragement.

"I didn't feel judged," she said. "In fact, I felt cared for. They listened and gave us hope."

They also sent Daugherty a gift card to help her get through the hard times, which included a hand-written note that read, "Tough times don't last, tough people do."

These days, Daugherty is back on her feet and working at TSYS as a contact center manager.

"My husband and I have bounced back and have become advocates of the United Way," said Daugherty. "Our experience reinforced the art of listening. And hope is the foundation of change that organizations like United Way are built upon. This is my story and this is why I give."

Giving back makes a difference

From our beginnings as a company, TSYS culture has always promoted giving back to the communities in which we work and live, and supporting the United Way is one way that we do this. Giving back helps improve the community's health – making it easier to create a better place to live, raise families and work.