Deere Hosts First Ever Play United Event

Sep 18, 2018

Ganesh Jayram, Deere & Co. vice president of information technology, takes his turn in the dunk tank.

Live music, food trucks, and dunk tanks filled with executives aren't usually seen at John Deere World headquarters. But Monday morning in Moline, the company kicked off Live United Week by hosting a Play United Event, part of its three-year campaign with the United Way. 

Last year, Deere raised $9 million.

Mara Downing, President of the John Deere Foundation, says Deere employees' contributions helped them reach that milestone.

"We provided over 53% of the funds for last year's campaign. Our employee contributions alone are 47% of them. And then the John Deere Foundation steps up and provides a significant, what we call, a block grant. We also cover administrative costs, so every dollar our employees contribute goes 100% to the campaign."

The primary focus of the partnership between the United Way and Deere is youth education.

Food trucks during Play United at Deere & Co. World Headquarters.

"...and it's been remarkable to see the impact that, through partnership with United Way and its funded agencies, have on kids being ready for kindergarten, reading at third grade, and ultimately, leading to greater success when it comes to high school graduation rates."

The kickoff event was also designed to educate employees about the work done by the United Way in the community. The nonprofit organization says 37% of area residents struggle to pay for their basic needs. And many times, education falls by the wayside.

The United Way is in the final year of their three-year campaign, and says it's on track to complete its $25 million goal.