DUBLIN, Ohio, March 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Give Something Back and Do The Right Thing are two core values important to The Wendy's Company, and employees live these values in a variety of ways. Each year, Wendy's is proud to recognize employees and all they do to make a positive impact in their communities through its Community Ambassador Grant Program. Ten Wendy's employees are recognized for exemplary volunteer efforts in their communities with a $2,500 grant to an organization they support with their time, talents, and resources. The Community Ambassador of the Year is selected from this group and awarded an additional $10,000 grant for their organization. Kelly Cole, Senior Financial Analyst at Wendy's Restaurant Support Center, has been named Wendy's 2017 Ambassador of the Year for her six-year involvement and leadership role with KidSMILES Pediatric Dental Clinic in Columbus, Ohio.
"At Wendy's, we believe our purpose is to create joy and opportunity through food, family, and community," said Liliana Esposito, Chief Communications Officer. "By supporting our employees and the charitable causes important to them, we are strengthening our bond as a Wendy's family and making a positive impact on the communities in which we operate. Congratulations to Kelly Cole, and to all of our Community Ambassadors, for your leadership, dedication, and volunteer service in the places you call home."
Company employees – from restaurant team members, Restaurant Support Center associates, and field and International employees – can apply for a Community Ambassador grant. While all 2017 applicants are worthy of recognition, a committee comprised of Company officers, field employees, and previous Ambassador of the Year winners chose 10 well-deserving employees for their leadership qualities and personal commitments to the organizations most important to them:
- Kelly Cole supporting KidSMILES Pediatric Dental Clinic, Columbus, OH (Community Ambassador of the Year) – Kelly became involved with KidSMILES, a non-profit dental clinic dedicated to providing quality dental care and education to children at an affordable cost, in 2011 as a fundraiser organizer. Kelly has organized silent auctions, football tailgate fundraisers, and an annual 5K race to benefit the clinic. In 2017, Kelly was voted to the Board of Directors as Treasurer, and her responsibilities include protecting the organization's financial resources by assuring proper maintenance of financial records, overseeing the integrity of the financial control systems, providing financial information for an annual external audit, and working closely with the finance committee and staff members on fiscal matters. Kelly believes that every child deserves to have a beautiful smile, and thanks to her dedication to KidSMILES, the clinic was able to provide nearly 600 dental appointments in 2017.
- William Portney supporting Lakeland Fire Department, Ronkonkoma, NY – William is a 23-year supporter of the Lakeland Fire Department and continues to dedicate 20 hours a week to the department. He is a qualified ambulance driver and scuba diver, was honored as Firefighter of the Year, and has been repeatedly recognized as the department's most active member. Lakeland Fire Department plans to use the Community Ambassador grant to provide specialization training for other department volunteers.
- Julia Larkins-Monahan supporting Run Down the Demons, Columbus, OH – Julia became involved with Run Down the Demons four years ago when her son founded the organization to support soldiers who return from war and suffer from PTSD. Julia has used her project planning skills to organize fundraising events, which are crucial for PTSD research. With Julia's help, Run Down the Demons donated $30,000 to the College of Social Work at the Ohio State University in 2017 to develop a new course for social workers to better support those suffering from PTSD.
- Alexis England supporting Pittsburgh Rotary Club, Pittsburgh, PA – The daughter of a former Rotary Club President, Alexis was introduced to Rotary at a young age. Alexis has served on the Pittsburgh Rotary Club Board of Directors and was recognized by Rotary International as a "40 under 40" member for her regional and international philanthropic work. She has served as the Shoes for Nicaragua Committee Chair for five years, where she led efforts to collect school shoes for children in Nicaragua. Additionally, Alexis's efforts in networking and soliciting have aided the Club to raise enough money to open a third free medical clinic in Nicaragua.
- Alyssa Creatore supporting LifeTown, New Albany, OH – Alyssa was first introduced to LifeTown three years ago through Wendy's employee volunteer program. For the last two years, Alyssa has participated in the LifeTown Mentoring Program, which matches students with special needs from Columbus City middle and high schools with business professionals to build job seeking skills. Alyssa has recruited three additional Wendy's employees to participate in the Mentoring Program and has built and maintained a trusting relationship with her mentees.
- Tim Enos supporting Dartmouth School Music Association, Dartmouth, MA – An active member of the Association since 1988, Tim believes it's important to keep the arts alive in our school systems and that music teaches important life skills such as teamwork, planning, friendly competition, and work ethic. Tim currently serves on the Executive Board as Ways and Means Chair and volunteers as the concessions organizer and prop coordinator for the school's indoor percussion program. With support from the Music Association, the Dartmouth High School Marching Band won back to back national titles in 2016 and 2017 and the color guard program placed second in their division at the World Guard International Championships in 2017.
- Melissa Stanton supporting Kaleidoscope Youth Center, Columbus, OH – Melissa was introduced to Kaleidoscope Youth Center, a safe place for LGBTQ+ youth to be themselves, in 2009 and became an active volunteer in 2015. Melissa volunteers at KYC every Monday to assist with youth programming, and she's currently working with the staff to develop an annual fundraiser, Sister Christmas. Funds raised from Sister Christmas will provide KYC youth with items such as job interview clothing, technology for education, or any other need identified by a youth to better their true selves.
- Clark Elms supporting The Human Impact, Dallas, TX –The Human Impact's mission is to create a space for the homeless, formerly homeless, and other community members to experience life together. Introduced to the organization by his daughter, Clark has supported the charity by sponsoring members of the Dallas homeless community to help them get back on their feet. Clark has driven individuals to rehab appointments, helped individuals save money, and at times, welcomed them into his home where he provided a safe place to stay. Clark is committed to providing support and resources to those in need.
- Ashley Sperling supporting Samaritan's Purse, Atlanta, GA – After learning about Samaritan's Purse from a Wendy's franchisee, Ashley has been involved in the organization's Operation Christmas Child program for eight years. Each fall, Ashley and her daughter prepare shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies, and personal items and ship them to need-based countries. Together they have shipped over 500 shoeboxes. Ashley believes the experience is teaching her daughter the importance of giving back and lessons in being kind and humble.
- Cathy Lewandowski supporting Heart of Ohio Ferret Association, Columbus, OH – Cathy became involved with the Heart of Ohio Ferret Association (HOFA) in 2015 after she adopted a pair of ferrets as her pets. Cathy's primary role with the organization is as a foster parent, and she has cared for ferrets who have been neglected or need extra care before being placed for adoption. Over the past year, Cathy has assisted in placing five foster ferrets in a forever home. In addition to fostering, Cathy has also volunteered for the organization's annual Buckeye Bash, which is one of the largest ferret shows in the country, and has organized public outreach events to spread awareness about HOFA.
About The Wendy's Company
The Wendy's Company (NASDAQ: WEN) is the world's third-largest quick-service hamburger company. The Wendy's® system includes approximately 6,600 franchise and Company-operated restaurants in the United States and 30 countries and U.S. territories worldwide. For more information, visit www.aboutwendys.com.
SOURCE The Wendy's Company