Mackenzieby MacKenzie Knight
Community Investment Advisor

Zions Bank and Zions Bancorporation’s week-long United Way Employee Giving Campaign ended last week and, as always, it was an incredible success. As a new Community Investment Advisor, I was thrilled to be able to work with Zions on its campaign for obvious reasons; the company culture is incredibly positive and its entire business model is focused on building strong, united communities – values that we couldn’t agree with more at United Way of Salt Lake.


The theme for its employee giving campaign this year was “LIVE UNITED: Because It’s Personal.” Employees choose to engage in United Way of Salt Lake’s work and the community at large because it means something to them – because they truly care about changing the odds for kids and families in our communities.

Throughout the last couple of weeks, we featured a few Zions’ employees on our social media accounts and highlighted why they choose to support the work of United Way of Salt Lake. Jennifer, Ali, and Derek shared the inspiring and compelling personal experiences that have motivated them to be engaged in our community and help others make a commitment to philanthropy through contributions and countless volunteer hours.

AliAli Wilkinson, Senior Vice President, Retail Lending Manager, Salt Lake Northeast Region

“As I reflect on my life and what I am grateful for, it reminds me why giving back to our community is soimportant to me. I have been fortunate to be able to live through and grow from some tough times in my life. As a single Mom, I remember how important simple things were. I remember teaching my son about the importance of saving for things we want, and being grateful for what we were lucky to have. Now, as a young man, and with great opportunity, it is very important to him to give back and he makes it a priority — even when as a college student he could only give a little!

It is so important to find what you are passionate about, and when you do, it will bring great joy to your life. For me, it was giving back. I participate in many ways with United Way of Salt Lake and have for as long as I can remember. I started as a United Way of Salt Lake Young Leaders and still participate in United Way of Salt Lake Leadership Circle with some outstanding community leaders that have become my good friends. It is such a great way to make a difference! With the facilitation of collective impact, UWSL has allowed so many important organizations to collaborate and make a larger difference, together. Every single dollar counts and it is the decisions we make now that will impact future generations!”

Jennifer SmithJennifer Smith, EVP and Chief Information Officer

‘Last week the Wall Street Journal highlighted that the conservative state of Utah was taking a different approach to welcoming refugees than other states. Not so long ago, national publications also highlighted Utah’s leadership with the Utah Compact in providing a welcoming and reasonable approach for immigrant integration.

I get a little emotional when I think about what a group of courageous women started 10 years ago. We were a bold voice on the controversial issue of how to welcome strangers in our state. We were the founding members of the Women’s Leadership Council. We stepped into the fray, with almost a million in our own funding, to establish immigrant and refugee welcome centers. We testified during legislative sessions on controversial immigration issues. We worked to create long term success for the more vulnerable members of our community. UWSL’s WLC made a difference for future generations in our state, and I get choked up about that legacy!’


Derek Loutensock, Senior Vice President and Compliance Manager

Participates in Mentor 2.0 – an amazing mentorship program that truly helps put kids on the path to graduation and college!

“Each time I see my mentee, who I was paired with through United Way’ and Big Brothers Big Sisters’s Mentor 2.0 program, I’m able to put down my work, tasks, and worries and focus on someone else. And somehow, through the laughter and fun, I still get so much more out of mentoring than I put into it. Do you want to lift yourself by lifting others? Than getting involved as a mentor or tutor with United Way of Salt Lake is for you. Come join likeminded professionals who are making a difference!”