By Kelly Schmidt, content manager at United Way of Salt Lake

United Way of Salt Lake announced its United for Change Changemaker award honorees for 2018. United Way will honor Gail Miller, owner and chair of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies; the Promise Partnership Regional Council’s Co-Chair Kirk Aubry, and Founding Co-Chairs Martin Bates, and Mark Bouchard; Debbie Koji, principal of South Kearns Elementary School; and Zions Bancorporation and Zions Bank.

These outstanding organizations and individuals will be honored at the third annual United for Change breakfast on April 10 at the Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek. For event and RSVP information please visit

“United Way of Salt Lake is privileged to honor the 2018 Changemakers. These individuals and organizations exemplify the passion, long-term commitment, generosity, hands-on involvement and collaboration necessary to shift ideas to action,” said Bill Crim, president and CEO of United Way of Salt Lake. “By collaborating with United Way and many others to address our community’s toughest issues, these Changemakers have multiplied the effects of positive change and have made Utah a better place to live. We are grateful for their efforts that inspire the Changemaker in everyone.”

The 2018 Changemaker awards are given to businesses, civic leaders, and organizations that work with others to create measurable change in the community. Through dedication and teamwork, they create lasting impact, inspire action, and are a transformational force for good.

Gail Miller, Owner and Chair, Larry H. Miller Group of Companies

Gail Miller’s commitment to giving back to the community stems back to when her late husband, Larry, opened their first business in 1979. That dedication grew with their businesses, which now include more than 60 car dealership throughout the West, sports franchises such as the Utah Jazz and other companies. Not only does Gail preside over the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, she also is at the helm of the Larry H. Miller Education Foundation and the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation which support a wide range of charitable, education and humanitarian causes. Much of her philanthropic efforts over the years have aligned with the work of United Way of Salt Lake, particularly through providing education opportunities for all Utah children. Gail continues to foster a strong legacy of giving back to the communities in which she does business and has instilled that same dedication in the thousands of employees who work with her.  

Promise Partnership Regional Council

Kirk Aubry, Co-Chair

Martin Bates, Founding Co-Chair

Mark Bouchard, Founding Co-Chair

The Promise Partnership Regional Council (PPRC) was created to align systems, resources and community efforts to create lasting social change on some of our region’s toughest challenges: poverty, poor health and inequitable educational achievement. Co-chair Kirk Aubry and Founding Co-Chairs Martin Bates and Mark Bouchard have been and continue to be instrumental in leading the PPRC in its efforts toward systematic change in these areas through a collective impact approach. They are all not only committed to seeing all Utah kids succeed in and out of the classroom, but also believe that no one organization or sector could have such widespread impact alone.

Kirk Aubry is President & CEO of Savage Companies, a privately-held transportation, materials management and logistics company. Martin Bates has been the superintendent of Granite School District since 2010 and  Mark Bouchard is the co-head of the Southwest Market Area for CBRE, which includes Arizona, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico.

South Kearns Elementary

Debbie Koji, Principal

Debbie Koji is an innovative leader, inspirational educator and tireless advocate for students and their families. She has worked in education for nearly 30 years, with 18 of those as an administrator in Granite School District. Most recently, Koji was selected to lead South Kearns Elementary School — one of  United Way of Salt Lake’s community schools — through the turnaround process as principal. In just one year under her leadership, the school’s overall grade moved from an “F” to a “C,” which was the highest rate of growth within the district. Principal Koji believes that every child deserves a chance to succeed and is determined to make South Kearns Elementary a place where that belief will come to fruition.

Zions Bancorporation

Zions Bank

Community engagement is in the DNA of Zions Bank and Zions Bancorporation. It’s part of their guiding principles, which encourages it’s nearly 2,000 employees in Utah, Idaho, and Jackson, Wyoming to find ways to get involved and become part of the solution to community issues. That foundation has spurred a culture of community involvement from the top down at Zions. In 2017, Zions Banks’ employees donated an estimated 100,000 hours toward community projects and served on more than 160 different nonprofit boards and committees. Employees also donated more than $765,000 of their personal funds to United Way of Salt Lake and other nonprofits during the bank’s 2017 Giving Campaign.

Kelly Schmidt is the new content manager at United Way of Salt Lake. She can be reached at and followed on Twitter and Instagram @kelgiffo.