A Hip Way to Fight Poverty

On January 16th the United Way office was buzzing with anticipation.  It was the first time United Way held an online auction and no one knew what to expect. We had spent the previous week promoting the opportunity for 24 people to see The Tragically Hip from the luxury suite at Rexall Place through emails and social media and we all were excited to see the auction, appropriately titled, A Hip Way to Fight Poverty take off.

When Andrea Saruk, the marketing manager from Design Group Staffing, the parent company of Inteqna Edmonton, received the information about the auction she was attracted to the opportunity because it was a great way to support the United Way in a different way than she was used to.  Her company had run an annual workplace campaign for many years. "Our president, Mike Duff, really encourages us to participate and donate," says Saruk.  

Saruk was the driving force behind her company participating in the auction. I knew whoever purchased this and brought their clients and staff, that it was going to be a great and worthy event. "It was a wonderful team building experience for all of us", says Saruk.  

From Left to Right: Mike Duff, Sandra Ernst, Andrea Saruk, Mike Kluttig, Sharon Osmond, John McCarron (Practice Leader, Inteqna). United Way's Mike Kluttig presents the tickets to Inteqna Edmonton, a division of Design Group Staffing

The auction ran from 9am to 4pm with companies bidding for the luxury package generously provided by Northlands.  Bidding started at $1,000 and the package was sold to Inteqna Edmonton, who is a division of Design Group Staffing, for $3,050 when the clock struck 4p.m.

When asked how they enjoyed the concert Saruk jokes, "Yeah, it wasn't that fun... COME ON, it was awesome!"


The Tragically Hip rock Rexall Place on January 23, 2013.

Levi Saunders has been part of the United Way committee at Design Group Staffing for the last three years and has seen incredible growth during that time. "This year we raised almost $10,000 versus three years ago when we raised about $3,000", says Saunders. Because of the company's sales culture, Saunders finds that food events work well for them. "Anytime someone can stuff something in their face it works out," he jokes. The prize package included $750 worth of food.

United Way campaign manager Kristy Jacklin who works closely with Design Group Staffing to support their campaign had a different thought when she learned they won the auction. "Design Group is highly engaged in our community and their United Way committee is extremely organized. It makes perfect sense to me that this group of people has come together to win this great prize, I’m very excited for them!"