MEET THE BELIEVERS: I Believe in My Community Award recipients recognized

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Individuals and organizations who have shown extraordinary love for their community through supporting United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County were honoured at a media event and luncheon on Thursday, April 25 at Essex Golf Club in Windsor.  

The awards are a little different this year - instead of having separate award categories, each organization or individual received one of eight I Believe In My Community Awards for their ‘Best in Class’ achievement in giving and community involvement.

“This year’s I Believe in My Community Award recipients are reflective of United Way’s incredible network of champions who go above and beyond to support the community with their time, talent, and treasure,” says Lorraine Goddard, CEO of United Way.

“Acknowledging people who are doing important work in our community – people who believe in our community – is so important,” says Matt Brannagan, chair of United Way’s volunteer board of directors. “These partners are showing real leadership in driving change in Windsor and Essex County and we are committed to standing shoulder to shoulder with them, and all of our donors, to help those in need.”

These valued partners and award recipients include: 

  • Sal Albano, BMO Nesbitt Burns, Windsor
  • Libro Credit Union, Essex County
  • Michael Brieda, FCA Windsor Assembly Plant
  • Cavendish Farms, UFCW Locals 633 & 175,  Wheatley
  • Magna International-Integram Windsor Seating, UNIFOR Local 444, Lakeshore
  • ArcelorMittal Windsor, Windsor
  • Dr. & Mrs. Ross & Leane Moncur, Kingsville
  • Lynda Pizzolitto, Reliance Home Comfort, Tecumseh


United Way also wishes to thank this year’s presenting sponsor UNIFOR Local 2458, along with award sponsors, including Enwin Utilities, UNIFOR Locals 200, 444, 1959 and 2458, CUP-W Local 630, and Windsor Family Credit Union, as well as media sponsors AM800 CKLW and Windsor Star. Without their help, these awards would not take place.

If you want to express your love for your community, you can donate year round at  To find out how to get involved, contact United Way at 519-258-0000.

Congratulations to All the I Believe in My Community Award Recipients

Sal Albano, BMO Nesbitt Burns, Windsor

Sal is a long time United Way supporter.  Three years ago, during a visit with United Way, he learned about the Summer Lunch Program.

Sal was struck by the fact that local kids in some neighbourhoods struggle to be fed during the summer. Sal and his wife have four children and he said he couldn’t imagine not being able provide for them.  He immediately thought of his annual Tailgate Party held on the American Thanksgiving before the Detroit Lions game.  This party served as a thank you to clients and colleagues. He asked attendees to consider making a donation to the Program.

In year one he had a great response, over $3,000 was raised. In year two, Sal promoted the tailgate party earlier and included a pitch for the program in the invitation, asking attendees to contribute $25.  Going above and beyond to raise more, he reached out to business partners locally and in Toronto. Over three years he has raised… $24,000.

Sal and his team attended program sites to volunteer serving lunch & playing with the kids.  He encourages his colleagues at BMO Nesbitt Burns to see the impact of their support and understand the need to support the community through the annual Tailgate Party.

Libro Credit Union, Essex County

Libro’s financial contributions create prosperity by supporting United Way in many different ways - by providing sponsorship and grant funding for programing, events, and also by running a workplace campaign. Libro truly believes that their values align with those of United Way, and last year, Libro provided sponsorship for the Emerging Philanthropists program, provided funding for the On Track to Success career mentorship program through their Prosperity grant, donated $4,800 through their employee campaign, and provided sponsorship for the Battle of the Growers event. Libro also sits on the ProsperUs leadership table, helping to advance United Way’s Cradle to Career strategy

Lori Atkinson, Regional Manager, has advocated on behalf of the On Track to Success program by nominating the program for a Leamington Chamber of Commerce award where a student was able to speak and address the crowd.

Michael Brieda, FCA Windsor Assembly Plant

As Plant Manager at FCA’s Windsor Assembly Plant, Mike Brieda is used to being in a leadership role.  He extended that leadership role to the greater community through United Way. In previous years, Mike has participated in the Detroit Free Press Marathon, supporting FCA’s Michigan fundraising efforts. In 2018, he brought that support home to Windsor.

Mike led Team Pacifica, recruiting more than 40 hourly and salaried employees from the Plant (UNIFOR 444 members), Downtown office (UNIFOR 1498 members), and employees from FCA’s Automotive Research and Development Facility. 

Team Pacifica ran the Marathon, half marathon or 5K race.  Team shirts were created with the tagline “Run United” and a special team photo was staged at the plant. Through Mike’s example, Team Pacifica reached out to FCA colleagues, business partners, friends and family to raise funds for United Way. Using United Way’s local impact as motivation to give, Team Pacifica raised over $33,000!

At Mike’s request over 50 FCA staff and family members volunteered at Windsor Marathon water stations, keeping runners hydrated and cheering them on. Thank you Mike for your leadership, for keeping United Way top of mind and for finding fun ways to engage the entire team at FCA in giving back at home.

Cavendish Farms, Wheatley

Cavendish Farms and UFCW Locals 633 and 175 are proud to support the communities where they live and work. Cavendish Farms achieved an outstanding increase in their contribution this year. Their employee giving increased 92% from $6,543 to $12,569. The highest they have ever achieved!

They invited United Way to speak at their town hall meeting to communicate the impact the United Way has, particularly in Leamington. The Cavendish team secured 21 prizes from local vendors and any employee who gave to United Way was eligible to receive an entry to the prize draws. In addition to the prizes, they had a raffle for two paid days off and a VIP parking space.  They worked hard to increase communication with their employees and their commitment to one-on-one canvassing paid off. They had a record year! 

Magna International-Integram Windsor Seating, UNIFOR Local 444, Lakeshore

For Magna, sustainability is not just about the company and its processes and products; it’s about giving back to the communities in which they are based. This year they set a goal of $40,000, and blew it out of the water. 

This began with General Manager Mike and a canvassing team that consisted of both human resources managers and union representatives. The team canvassed the employees one-on-one as well as allowing United Way to attend their all employee meetings to share stories about United Way’s impact. In addition to the best in class campaign the company and the union were able to secure incentives and based the incentives on employee giving; if they hit their goal, the top prize was a one-week paid vacation for two! Their efforts resulted in an exceptional 192% increase in employee giving.

In addition, and on their own initiative, Mike and his team advocated to Magna Corporate on behalf of United Way and secured a $20,000 corporate gift. In total their donations went from $15,801 to $66,206.

ArcelorMittal Windsor, Windsor

In 2014 ArcelorMittal Windsor - you may remember them as DJ Galvanizing - was one of the first organizations to make a five-year commitment to support the On Track to Success program, with a generous gift of $50,000. Their gift sponsored two students, Jacob and Sindy, who are a part of this year’s first graduating Leamington cohort. Both Jacob and Sindy have been accepted to attend post-secondary education in the fall.

ArcelorMittal Windsor employees have an incredible passion and drive to help people in their community, especially youth, with a focus on education. They have been supporting United Way for over 20 years. They are dedicated to engaging all employees with presentations during campaign and this year they achieved a 20% increase in giving, raising $24,544.

ArcelorMittal Windsor’s dedication extends beyond the employee campaign. For seven straight years they have entered a team in iClimb to support mental health awareness. The amount the team raised this year is up by 32% and included a generous company match.

Dr. & Mrs. Ross & Leane Moncur, Kingsville

We often ask donors “what motivates you to give”? For Ross & Leane, giving to United Way is a one-stop shop with confidence their donation is being used wisely and the work being undertaken is necessary. Ross & Leane embody the spirit and passion of helping people locally - not only through their profession, but also through their philanthropy. They have given generously to United Way for years and inspired further giving with Ross mobilizing his colleagues, and hosting information luncheons and workplace kick-off events to encourage his colleagues to give. To ignite giving, this couple has personally matched employee contributions – growing from $10,000 in year one to $25,000 today.

Ross’s personal work with United Way doesn’t stop there.  As a young doctor, we took advantage of Ross’s expertise as a board member and impact council champion, where he contributed to decisions around what programming to fund, and as a board member, made decisions on how United Way is run.

We are fortunate to have Ross and Leane as donors who are confident in the work we do.  It is a pleasure when a donor’s interests and passions are matched to programs that help local people live better lives.  Thank you Leane and Ross for your generosity and steadfast support.

Lynda Pizzolitto, Reliance Home Comfort, Tecumseh

Lynda Pizzolitto is truly committed and makes excellence the standard for all she does to support United Way, starting with her role as United Way champion at Reliance Home Comfort, to Chair of the Women United program, to her role as a member of our Impact Council, and her four-year stint on Campaign Cabinet. Because Lynda is involved in many facets of United Way’s work, she really understands it well. She is dedicated to advocating for people in need in Windsor and Essex County and to advancing United Way’s fundraising efforts.

Lynda really exceeds expectations as an ambassador of United Way. She recently presented to an organization as part of their canvassing at 11 o’clock at night because she believes so strongly in sharing the United Way message. As a Champion and advocate, Lynda meticulously plans workplace kickoff presentations to inspire fellow employees and makes personal asks of them to give.

As Chair of United Way’s Women United program, Lynda’s passion is evident through the conviction with which she speaks about supporting vulnerable members of our community.

Lynda’s personal story about supporting the students in our On Track to Success program, and the passion with which she tells it, encourages women to donate and join this group. Lynda is involved in every aspect of Women United. She attends every event for both Women United and United Way and can always be counted on for support.


United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County
300 Giles Boulevard East, Unit A1, Windsor, Ontario N9A 4C4

t: 519-258-0000 | f: 519-258-2346 | | Charitable Registration #: 108160334 RR0001