WEX, Inc.: Deeply Engaged in Volunteering, Advocating, and Giving Back

WEX, Inc.: Deeply Engaged in Volunteering, Advocating, and Giving Back

Header Photo Credit: Maine Life Media

We’re honored to have the support of WEX, Inc. on several fronts, as a supporting sponsor, a multi-year sponsor of the WinterKids Downhill 24, a team who has competed and raised significant funds at the D24 for several years, and by lending Gabriel Weiss to be a valued member of the WinterKids board.

We wanted to learn more about WEX’s commitment to giving back to programs like WinterKids both regionally and nationally, so we reached out to Gabriel Weiss – Legal Director, North America Fleet (and WinterKids Board Member), and Melissa Dudley – Manager, Philanthropy & Community | WEX Compassion Fund. Here’s what they had to say…

What was Wex’s first introduction to WinterKids and how has this partnership evolved over time?

Gabe: When I first moved back to Maine in 2012, I started work as an associate at the law firm of Verrill Dana, where the founding president of WinterKids, Will Stiles, practices as an attorney. One of the joys of moving back to Maine for me was to be able — and encouraged by Verrill Dana — to participate in philanthropic activities and organizations. Thanks to Will, I got a spot in 2015 on Verrill Dana’s Downhill 24 team and very much enjoyed the fundraising and team-building element of the D24 event. Shortly thereafter, I left Verrill Dana to work for WEX, and shortly after that, Will asked if I would consider championing the first-ever WEX Downhill 24 team.

Gabe Weiss
WinterKids Board Member, Gabriel Weiss,
and his “Why WinterKids!”

Now, five years later, WEX enters four separate teams into the Downhill 24 event, we are a season sponsor of Winterkids, and I joined the board (again thanks to Will Stiles’ encouragement). Winterkids has a lot of visibility at WEX, and spots on the Downhill 24 teams are highly coveted. I feel supported by WEX leadership to roll up my sleeves and participate in a meaningful way in my role as a board member, and I sense the same positive energy toward WEX coming from the Winterkids’ side.

Ramone Jones WEXER at Downhill 24
Ramone Jones, a WEXer who won the title of “Rookie of the Year” during the Downhill 24 in 2018.

Why was that important?

Gabe: I think WEX’s involvement with Winterkids is important because it reinforces WEX’s identity as a true Maine company, headquartered here and driven by true Mainers. Although WEX continues to grow by leaps and bounds and to expand internationally, it continues to nurture its relationships with and support of local organizations, and the leadership clearly recognizes the needs of many people within the state.

WEX’s involvement with Winterkids is important to me because I am motivated and fulfilled by engaging in philanthropic activities. I am a native Central Mainer, and I have seen first-hand the challenges many of our fellow citizens face. Maine is not a wealthy state, and I believe it is the responsibility of those of us who are more fortunate to do our best to make the lives of the less fortunate better.

Talk to me about Wex’s local and global philanthropy initiatives.

Melissa: WEX has been engaged in our local community for many years, and it’s important for us to broadly support non-profit organizations that create vibrant and healthy communities.  We fund primarily in the areas of the arts, education (with a focus on STEM), financial stability, and wellbeing. These are intentionally broad, but that gives us the space to provide assistance to a wide variety of community organizations, increasing both our philanthropic impact and overall community engagement efforts.  In Maine, where the majority of our community impact is allocated, and in other global locations, we have deeply engaged WEXers who volunteer, advocate, and give back. Our dollars, time and resources are delivered through philanthropic programs from Maine to Fargo to London, and many offices in between!

WinterKids is important not only for the reasons above but also because we value the power of healthy lifestyles to create a healthier community.  We know that good habits and physical activity lay the groundwork to help kids to have a strong start in life. The work that WinterKids does in this space, in a state where the winter months present challenges for so many families, is key to creating healthy habits and values.

How has Wex’s experience at D24 affected your employees in terms of teamwork, morale, and connection?

Gabe: The Downhill 24 is a very competitive event, and this dovetails with the WEX ethos. As a growing company operating on a global scale, competitiveness is in WEX’s DNA. In the past years, WEXers have not only relished in competing in fundraising and skiing against other corporate teams, but also against each other. The D24 has also been an opportunity for WEXers who work in different departments to get to know each other and make meaningful connections outside of the office. This is very important for a company so large and busy.

WEX team members at D24 Stephen Davis Phillips Photo

We are so grateful for WEX’s ongoing partnership and dedication to WinterKids programs! To learn more about WEX, Inc, visit wexinc.com.

WEX Downhill 24 Sponsor

1600 1200 WinterKids
Start Typing

MOBILE, KID-CENTERED, TEACHER-APPROVED, RESULTS-DRIVEN, AND AWARD-WINNING

229,428

Students, Teachers, and Families Impacted in Maine & New Hampshire since 2010!

WinterKids is the only nonprofit in Maine dedicated exclusively to increasing outdoor physical activity in children and families during our longest, most sedentary season.  

The shorter, darker, and colder days of winter and the increasing allure of screen time make it all too easy for kids and families to “hibernate.”  At WinterKids, we make it our business to provide kids, parents, and teachers with the right option: to get outside, get active, and have fun in the winter – and year-round.

Outdoor kids are active kids. Active kids are healthy kids. Healthy kids are happy kids. Happy kids are “winter kids.”

SEASON WRAP UP

FY2021

With outside being the safest and best place to be, WinterKids has truly thrived during the pandemic! We were able to reach nearly 27,000 kids, teachers and families in Maine and New Hampshire with creative adaptations for safe, outdoor adventures. Check out our 2020/2021 Season Wrap Up Report!

annual report

FY2020

We are so thankful for our WinterKids Family – sponsors, foundations, teams, friends, volunteers, board and staff – and most important, the KIDS we serve. 2020 was a fantastic year for our organization, reaching over 35,000 (!) kids, family members, and teachers with innovative, outdoor education programs.