Edward Jones Region 227 stays committed through the pandemic

The Alzheimer’s Association® is excited to partner with Edward Jones, for our fifth year. This year is special because Edward Jones has extended their commitment to the Alzheimer’s Association for an additional five years.

We are fortunate to have many Edward Jones associates in our chapter doing their part to support Walk to End Alzheimer’s®. We spoke with members of Edward Jones’ Region 227 to hear how they are participating in Walk during a pandemic.

2019 Chico Edward Jones Team

Region 227
Edward Jones Region 227 spans a large chunk of Northern California. The region includes the area between Gridley and Yreka, starting at the coast and continuing into the Sierras. There are more than 70 branch offices, most of which support their local Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Donna Harter is the Senior Branch Office Administrator based in the Chico office. She has been working for Edward Jones for 11 years and, for the last four years, has been the Region 227 regional coordinator for Walk.

“The first year Edward Jones participated in Walk to End Alzheimer’s, no one was familiar with what the event was,” said Donna. “The home office decided we needed to have a concerted effort and created the position of Regional Coordinator for all of the Walks. I was asked if I was interested in the position and said of course!”

With such a vast region, it’s no surprise that Region 227 covers three Walks: Chico, Redding and Humboldt County. Since Donna is based out of Chico, she relies on the support of fellow coworkers located closer to the other Walk locations.

“I have three coordinators,” said Donna. “One in Humboldt County and two in Redding. They reach out to the branches within their cities and encourage them to start teams and fundraise.”

2020 Redding Edward Jones team

A region ravaged by fire
Region 227 has had its share of struggles. In 2018, they were hit by two devastating fires, first the Carr Fire in Redding followed by the Camp Fire in Paradise. Now with a global pandemic, the region continues to struggle.

“In these times you have to look at the good we can do instead of the bad,” said Donna. “It’s hard not to be able to get together with everyone. Normally we get everyone pumped up and have them sign up for Walk. Now we’re having to rely on emails and phone calls. It has been very difficult.”

Staci Amaral, a Business Office Administrator in Redding, is the one of the local coordinators in her area. She has been with the company for 13 years and considers herself lucky to work in Region 227. “Through all of this hardship, it’s wonderful to have a region who is so supportive of the staff and the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.”

Renewing their dedication to the cause
Every year Edward Jones has a nationwide kickoff week, in order to get their associates excited about Walk. This year they announced their decision to renew their commitment with the Alzheimer’s Association by promising to donate $25 million more over the next five years.

Laura Middlemiss, a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones for seven years, is the regional coordinator for her area in Humboldt County. After the announcement she felt even more motivated than before. “I’m always motivated and inspired when I connect to our home office,” shared Laura.

“I always come out of our meetings seeing the bigger picture. Edward Jones is all in and we as staff need to be all in as well. We’re really well supported both by Edward Jones and the Alzheimer’s Association.”

In Redding, Staci took the excitement around Walk as an opportunity to encourage the offices in her area to start a team. “I personally spent three days calling each office, making sure they were able to register,” said Staci. “I helped returning teams reactivate their team from last year and walked new teams through the sign-up process.”

2019 Humboldt County Edward Jones team

Motivating associates to participate
“We were pretty certain, despite the pandemic, that Walk would continue in some capacity this year,” said Donna. “Once our home office gave us the okay, we hit the ground fast and furious.”

Prior to the kickoff Donna was sending out emails to her entire region once a month, but now, with the first Walk in her region coming up in September, she’s sending them out weekly.

“We want to have as many teams and participants as possible,” said Donna. “Right now, we have 40 teams in the region. I’d like to get more so we can do better than last year.”

Staci is also motivating her area by sending out emails. She reports on their progress and includes awareness ideas. “I made sure everyone in my office either started a team or joined my team,” said Staci. “I offered to personally sign them up myself. This is why we have 28 Edward Jones teams in Redding!”

In Humboldt County, they’re doing things a little differently. Laura and her coworkers combined all of their local branches into one big team. “We felt and believed that we should be a unified team,” said Laura. “We combined our efforts because we want to show the full impact of what our team can do.”

Laura meets twice a month with her marketing team and they always leave room on the agenda to talk about Walk and the opportunities they have to serve their community. “We use social media to promote our team,” said Laura. Right now, we have 14 team members.”

Donna and her coworker Cari

Raising Awareness
Each branch in the region is responsible for coming up with their own ideas to bring awareness to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. “Our approach is do whatever you can,” said Donna. “This cause is so important, whatever you can do to raise awareness is going to help. It’s going to take a team effort to find a cure for this disease.”

Here are some ways Region 227 is helping to raise awareness:

  • Sending out Edward Jones approved emails to their clients with a link to join their team
  • Mailing postcards with information about Walk and a link to join their team
  • Utilizing Edward Jones’ social media accounts to engage with clients

Supporting the cause
When companies like Edward Jones participate in Walk, they fuel our mission-related initiatives of care, support and research. Donna says, “There are so many support systems that run 24 hours a day, like the Alzheimer’s Associations 24/7 Helpline.”

While both Donna and Laura also want to support research, Staci reminds us that a pandemic doesn’t stop Alzheimer’s. “It has to be scary right now for caregivers and those living with the disease,” said Staci. “We need to keep walking, and raising awareness.

“The disease doesn’t stop for a pandemic and if anything, it has made it harder for us to help people get the support they need. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s can support the programs that help caregivers and those with Alzheimer’s”

Staci (middle) and her coworkers

This year’s Walk
In a typical year, you’d easily spot the Edward Jones teams amass in their bright green Edward Jones Walk to End Alzheimer’s shirts under their company tent on Walk day. However, due to social distancing guidelines, walkers will not be coming together as one big group.

This year, Walk is everywhere, on every sidewalk, track and trail in your hometown. “What’s great about this year is you don’t have to find parking,” joked Donna. “You don’t even have to get dressed, just pop on some sweats, your new purple shirts and walk in your neighborhood.”

Laura says, “I’ll miss coming together because it’s so moving, emotional and powerful to see everyone in the same place. However, I see this as an opportunity to connect with people in our communities.

“People are hungry for connection. When they see us out in the community wearing our purple shirts, it will help raise awareness for others who might not have even known about the Walk in the first place.”

Edward Jones is encouraging everyone to attend the virtual Walk Ceremony and make your neighborhood a part of Walk day. Donna hopes to see Walk flags and people in Walk shirts in every neighborhood. She says, “Even though it’s different this year, we’re still together, we’re still a unit and we’re working towards a goal.”

“We are encouraging everyone to download the Walk to End Alzheimer’s app too,” said Staci. “We’re asking everyone to take pictures and videos while they walk to use on our Edward Jones Facebook page to show our support for the Alzheimer’s Association.”

Supporting their clients by supporting Walk
Financial services companies like Edward Jones work with all types of clients, including families who may have a loved one with dementia. “We have a lot of clients who are dealing with this disease,” said Staci

“They need all of the help and resources they can get, and Edward Jones is here to help them with what we can. We want to make sure we can help spread awareness about the disease to the public.”

Laura believes that participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is a responsibility organizations like Edward Jones have to their communities. “It’s the heart of a company’s culture to be a responsible citizen,” said Laura.

“We’re leading by example, and by backing the Alzheimer’s Association we’re making a statement. It’s the right thing to do. If we don’t do it, who will?”

Edward Jones renews their contract
Despite the global pandemic, Edward Jones boosted their support of the Alzheimer’s Association through a five-year commitment totaling $25 million, effective January 2021. The commitment matches the $25 million already raised by Edward Jones, its associates and clients since launching their partnership in 2016. The $50 million investment spanning 10 years is the largest commitment received by the Alzheimer’s Association from a corporate partnership.

Edward Jones will maintain their involvement with Walk to End Alzheimer’s as a national presenting sponsor and will engage their associates and clients through the Walk National Team program. More than 65,000 Edward Jones associates, clients, friends and families over the last four years participated on Edward Jones teams at more than 600 Alzheimer’s walks held nationwide each year.

As the number of people affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementia continues to grow, Edward Jones’ commitment to the cause is crucial in funding research, supporting education, advancing access to care and broadening awareness of this disease.

You can join an Edward Jones team participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

You can Walk with Region 227 at one of our three local Walks:

Important Information: Edward Jones cannot accept gift cards, cash or checks as donations. All donations must be made directly to the Alzheimer’s Association.