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Merchants’ 2023 United Way Campaign

Merchants Continues Support for United Way

Merchants Insurance Group is proud to support organizations that make a difference in our local communities!

Our colleagues exemplify their compassion through their participation in many philanthropic initiatives throughout the year. They get active for good causes such as the Alzheimer’s Association’s Buffalo and Erie County Walk to End Alzheimer’s and the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge. They sustainably recycle electronics at Sunnking’s annual e-Scrap for Camp event to benefit Camp Good Days. They gather donations for our neighbors in need: families around the holidays, children at the start of the school year, and community members in times of distress.

One of the largest ways Merchants colleagues show their generosity, though, is through Merchants’ annual United Way campaign.

United Way’s Mission Statement:

United Way seeks to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good.”

In June, Merchants colleagues participated in United Way Day of Caring, an annual, single-day service event that encourages companies to take part in community service projects. See the recap and photo gallery here: United Way Day of Caring 2023 – Merchants Gives Back!

Each fall, Merchants’ United Way campaign provides an opportunity for Merchants colleagues to give back and to learn about the impact United Way has in our local communities. Colleagues generously elect to contribute to United Way through year-round e-pledges and other fundraising efforts, such as events at our corporate office.

Now that the 2023 United Way campaign has come to a close, let’s look back!


United Way Campaign Kickoff

The 2023 United Way campaign officially began on Thursday, September 21st, with a company kickoff event at Merchants’ corporate headquarters in downtown Buffalo, New York. Corporate colleagues gathered in the first floor common area, while regional colleagues joined in virtually.

This annual informational event serves as an introduction to United Way and its mission and outlines Merchants’ campaign goals and the ways in which colleagues can participate in the campaign. Heather Quigley, Account Executive at the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, visited to speak of the impact United Way has in each of our local communities and examples of the initiatives our United Way donations would support.

Merchants values our involvement with United Way not only because of the great work this organization does, but because each of our regions has a nearby United Way chapter. Funds raised by each of Merchants’ offices have a direct impact on initiatives in the respective office’s community.

Corporate and Western Strategic Business Center (WSBC) contributions support United Way of Buffalo and Erie County.

Eastern Strategic Business Center (ESBC) contributions support United Way of Long Island.

New England Regional Office (NERO) contributions support Granite United Way.

Midlantic Regional Office (MRO)  contributions support United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.

From left: Chris Brown and Rachel Reid, Merchants’ United Way Campaign Chairs; Heather Quigley, United Way of Buffalo and Erie County; Charles Makey, President of Merchants Insurance Group

2023 United Way Campaign

Each year, Merchants sets goals for the campaign: a target dollar amount for the entire campaign to raise and a percentage goal of colleagues who sign up for e-pledge donations throughout the following year. Most campaign donations come from colleague e-pledge contributions.

To encourage e-pledge participation and thank colleagues for their generosity, the United Way committee raffled off prizes throughout the campaign, such as Amazon gift cards, PTO hours, and tickets to local shows and sporting events. Colleagues who increase their e-pledge donation amount from the previous year have opportunities to win additional prizes.

Once again, Merchants colleagues rose to the occasion, and we reached our campaign goals!

Corporate Colleague Fundraising Events

At Merchants’ corporate headquarters, the United Way committee (comprised of colleague volunteers) hosted several fundraising events to rally additional support for the campaign.

Weenie Wednesday

Before the official campaign kickoff, Merchants got a head start on fundraising with a favorite summer tradition at the corporate office: Weenie Wednesday!

On three Wednesdays throughout the summer, the United Way Committee grilled and sold hotdogs and veggie burgers at lunchtime. All proceeds benefited this year’s United Way campaign.

Cheesy Chick Food Truck

On Wednesday, September 27th, Cheesy Chick visited Merchants! The popular food truck serves variations of classic cheese-based comfort foods, such as “The Cheesus,” a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with macaroni and cheese, and “The Pizza Sammie,” a pizza sandwich on garlic buttered Texas toast.

Colleagues enjoyed lunch from the food truck, and Cheesy Chick generously donated 10% of all sales for the afternoon back to Merchants’ United Way campaign!


Buffalo Bills “Tailgate” Fundraiser


On Wednesday, October 11th, corporate colleagues showed their team spirit at the second annual Bills “Tailgate” Event!

Decked out in blue, red, and white, colleagues gathered for a “tailgate” lunch and Bills-themed fun in the breakroom, all to benefit this year’s United Way campaign.

View the full gallery and event recap –  GALLERY: Merchants’ United Way Committee Hosts Bills Tailgate Fundraiser at Corporate Office

Basket Raffle

In November, the campaign events continued with another colleague favorite: Basket Raffle Week!

Various departments and individual colleagues generously donated baskets and other items to raffle.

Beginning November 7th, colleagues had three days to purchase and enter raffle tickets. There were 30 prizes available, including a 50/50 raffle.

By the end of the week, colleagues had raised an additional $2,500 for Merchants’ United Way campaign!


Holiday Bazaar

The final corporate event of our 2023 United Way campaign was a two-day Holiday Bazaar in the first floor common area.

At the Holiday Bazaar, colleagues could participate as both buyers and sellers. Shoppers supported their coworkers’ small businesses.

Colleagues were able to do some Christmas shopping, and sellers donated 10% of profits from the event back to Merchants’ United Way campaign!

2023 United Way Challenge

In 2023, United Way of Buffalo and Erie County issued a challenge to all participating Western New York companies; any employee to e-pledge at least $1 a week for 2024 was entered to win one of 16 prizes throughout the campaign! Prizes included $1,000 gift cards to Ashley Homestore, Wegmans, and Tops Friendly Markets – and, in the final week of the campaign, 2024 Buffalo Bills season tickets.

Joann Pinelli, Senior Claims Compliance Representative, was one of the lucky United Way Challenge winners!

She received a $1,000 gift card for Tops Friendly Markets in December 2023.

Congratulations, Joann!


Campaign Results

This year’s campaign was a massive success!

Between over 70% colleague e-pledge participation, corporate fundraising events, and a company match, Merchants Insurance Group’s 2023 United Way campaign raised $125,084.31.

All proceeds to United Way will impact initiatives to strengthen our local communities.

Thank You!

This campaign would not have been possible, nor would it have been such a success without the generosity and participation of our colleagues, volunteers, and our partnering law firms.

Partnering Law Firms

Many of our partnering law firms contributed generous donations to our campaign. We sincerely appreciate your support as we give back to our local communities!

Logos of law firms who generously donated to this year's Merchants' United Way campaign!


In addition to monetary contributions, many colleagues donate their time to Merchants’ United Way campaign!

Special thanks to…

Our United Way Campaign Chairs:

Chris Brown; Buffalo, New York

Rachel Reid; Buffalo, New York

Our United Way Regional Representatives:

Diane McIntyre and Vanessa Nove; Hauppauge, New York

Cate Tanzer and Kathy Landrigan; Bedford, New Hampshire

Lindsay Cotter and Maritza Santiago; Mt. Laurel, New Jersey

Our United Way Committee at the corporate headquarters in Buffalo, New York:

Robert Ader

Chris Brown

Stacey Clause

Erica Dalton

Pat Dobson

Charlene Guadagno

Aamna Hussain

Erin Kennedy

Ryann Kinyon

Kelly Kompf

Laurie Maniccia

Nicole Mindemann

Sherri Oliver

Rachel Reid

Jennifer Short

Katherine Trautwein

Merchants United Way committee at celebratory lunch!

Corporate colleagues on the United Way committee celebrate a successful campaign at lunch with Charles Makey, President of Merchants Insurance Group!



Thank you to each and every colleague for your participation in this year’s campaign! Whether you made e-pledge donations, attended a fundraising event, or bought football squares, you played a role in the success of Merchants’ 2023 United Way campaign.

Interested in learning more about the ways Merchants gives back? Visit our Philanthropy page!
Katherine Trautwein

Merchants Insurance Group

Merchants Insurance Group sells its products through a network of more than 1,000 independent insurance agents in Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. We sell our products through independent insurance agents because we believe they provide value to policyholders through their broad range of products and their insurance expertise.