I could see Larry Crocker was beaming with pride. And why not?
Both he and his daughter Leslie Anne Crocker have accomplished a rare feat. They have both served as Alabama Power sponsored Loaned Executives for United Way of Central Alabama.
Earlier this month, I met this dynamic father-daughter duo to talk to them about serving as a Loaned Executive and giving back to the community through the United Way.
Here is what I learned.
What is the United Way Loaned Executive Program?
First, some background information about the loaned executive program.
One of the reasons our local United Way is ranked annually as one of top nonprofits in the nation is because of this successful campaign strategy.
How does it work?
Each year, the United Way asks local businesses and organizations throughout the six-county region to select valued employees to participate in the Loaned Executive Program for 13 weeks. This year, 27 executives from all walks of life in the Birmingham community stepped forward to serve, including Lesiie Anne, who was sponsored by her employer Alabama Power.
A Four Decade Long Journey
Larry Crocker’s relationship with the United Way of Central Alabama began nearly four decades ago during his first year at Alabama Power when he attended a campaign event.
“I remember the speaker was from Children’s Hospital,” Larry recalled. “It was just one of the agencies supported by United Way— along with 80+ other organizations. You know, I was taken by that presentation and became a supporter financially of United Way at that time and have consistently done so for the past 40 years.”
Throughout the years Larry attended United Way campaign events and annual meetings, but it was not until he neared retirement in 2017 that Alabama Power offered him the opportunity to serve as a loaned executive.
“It took me a moment to think about it. I didn’t know very much about it (loaned executive program). I had always been supportive but never involved with the staff and leadership at United Way.”
Once he accepted the loaned executive job, he immersed himself in the program. So much so, when the campaign ended Larry received the Crawford T. Johnson Loaned Executive of the Year Award, the highest honor given to a participant in the program.
Love Your Neighbor
When Leslie got the call from Alabama Power that they had chosen her to represent the company as their 2021 loaned executive, she couldn’t wait to call her dad.
“I couldn’t wait to tell him. It was absolutely the first phone call that I made. He really charted the path before me.”
She credits her parents for instilling the values needed to become a successful United Way loaned executive.
“I was raised with the knowledge that helping the community is important. Being involved in the community is important. And we need to be loving our neighbor as ourselves. I’ve grown up seeing how generous my parents are with their resources and with their time and with their talents. Because of that, having the opportunity to be a United Way loaned executive after my dad is something very special to me.”
Serving as a loaned executive has been life-changing for the Crockers. It means supporting Meals On Wheels, the Crisis Center, 80+ charitable organizations and countless neighbors in our community.
“I think as a family we’ve put our heart into lots of different community efforts,” said Larry. “The United Way is special to us because it helps so many different people with different needs throughout our community. It’s rewarding.”
When you know the impact that the United Way of Central Alabama makes on our six-county region, it’s easy to see why supporting them becomes a family legacy.