Triumph Aerostructures presented a check for over $33,000 to United Way of Ellis County Wednesday — a donation so generous it makes up 10 percent of the organization's annual allocation budget.

“To see a company this big and complex participating like this is incredible,” said Alfred Vega, 2018 incoming chairperson on the United Way Board of Directors. “You’re leading the way for others.”

Triumph’s Red Oak location raised the money for United Way by launching a two-week campaign during which employee volunteers and members of the company’s leadership sold food to employees on break, and participated in activities like "throw a pie in your bosses’ face." One activity that Braden Lathram, Chief of Staff to the site president, said was a huge hit was locking your boss up in jail. Employees could donate to the campaign, fill out a fake arrest warrant, and another employee, dressed as an officer, would bust into the leader’s meeting and arrest him or her.

“Everyday everyone was grinding, trying to incorporate as many things as possible,” Lathram said. “We wanted to give everyone a chance to interact with each other no matter what level you’re on. It’s more than giving back to the community it’s connecting the community of us.”

United Way of Ellis County supports 27 partner agencies by annually dishing out between $350,000 and $370,000. Some of these organizations include Court Appointed Special Advocates, the Salvation Army, Waxahachie CARE, the Boys and Girls Club, Daniels Den, and senior centers across Ellis County.

In order to get employees interested in the campaign, United Way led 10 – 15 interested employees at a time on a tour of many of the organizations they serve. In doing so, employees were able to see where their donations were going, and exactly who they might be helping. Casey Ballard, United Way of Ellis County executive director, said this is the second year Triumph has campaigned with United Way and has tripled their attendance.

Tricia Green, the outgoing chairperson on the United Way of Ellis County Board of Directors, said receiving donations from large corporations isn’t hard but getting them involved can be.

“It can be hard to partner with bigger corporations, they donate, but they are reluctant to campaign,” Green said. “Normally corporations will offer the payroll deduction to employees, but don't often launch a campaign.”

Green added that they hope once other organizations see Triumph’s campaign; they will choose to start a campaign as well.

“We’re trying lead the way in the manufacturing sector to get involved,” Lathram said. “Our goal was to raise one penny more than last year, and we surpassed our goal by $10,000.”

Leaders from Triumph said they would be more than happy to show other large companies how they campaigned, and how they could implement a similar thing at their own plants.

To donate to United Way of Ellis County, or learn how you can get your business involved, visit

“We are so grateful,” Ballard said. “It tells us a lot about the corporate culture at Triumph. Being a part of a campaign, where everyone pulled together to give such a large contribution makes the employees feel good. You don’t have to give thousands of dollars, but when everyone comes together and gives even $10, it makes a difference in the community.”