When the Nebraska State Fair moved from Lincoln, Neb., to Grand Island in 2010, the Principal Financial Group®, one of the larger employers in the community, wanted to get involved and support the effort.
Densel Rasmussen, operations manager for The Principal® at the Grand Island office, worked with the state fair staff to find the best fit for the company to get involved.
“Volunteerism came up in our discussions about the fair,” says Rasmussen. “The state fair staff really wanted to grow the volunteer effort for the fair, and we felt like it was a good fit for us.”
As a result, the $5,000 sponsorships by The Principal in both 2011 and 2012 contributed to the volunteer program at the fair, with the money being used to provide training, a volunteer center at the fairgrounds and bright yellow T-shirts for every volunteer.
“In 2012 there were more than 880 volunteers who gave more 12,000 hours of their time to the state fair,” says Rasmussen. “It’s become a bit of a phenomenon in Grand Island and across the state because of all the bright yellow T-shirts people see on the fairgrounds.”
Rasmussen says many of the volunteers are employees of The Principal who work in Grand Island, including one employee who is loaned to the fair for all 11 days to help at the volunteer center and train the volunteers.
“The fair is the event in Grand Island, so there were a lot of people who really wanted it to be successful, and it’s really provided a great sense of pride here. It’s really surpassed everyone’s expectations,” says Rasmussen.