Corporate Spotlight: Get to Know Bridgestone’s Gord Knapp
Why do you focus your support and believe in United Way?
United Way has a strong network of partnerships across the United States – they truly ‘advance the common good in communities across the world.’ This is important to Bridgestone, as we have a strong footprint across the U.S.—and globally—in addition to our corporate home in Nashville. Many of our manufacturing facilities and other sites across the U.S. also embrace United Way in their communities, giving our partnership larger scale and impact.
Additionally, United Way is a strong steward of the donations entrusted to them. As an organization, they have a very low operating cost, which allows them to do the greatest good for the greatest number with the donations they receive. And United Way takes a strategic focus to doing good by delivering outcome-based, measurable results, aligning all their efforts very closely with key stakeholders in the community.
What motivates you to serve on our board, and now lead as Chair?
I welcome the opportunity to lead and see it as an important obligation. As one of the largest private employers in Nashville, we have a responsibility to ensure that the community in which our teammates live, work and raise their families is the very best it can be.
In what ways do you see United Way impacting our community?
There are so many examples of United Way’s impact in and around Nashville. Specifically, I see United Way’s strategic focus on early childhood education making a foundational impact on the community. Programs like Read to Succeed, the Imagination Library of Middle Tennessee and others supported by United Way are critical to providing resources to children and their families. I sincerely believe our ability to ensure that all children have access to education and get off to a strong educational start is key to a strong community.
Are there any United Way programs, initiatives or partner agencies that speak closely to you?
As I mentioned, United Way’s focus on early childhood education resonates closely with me. I believe that the educational opportunities and access to those opportunities is critical to the long-term success of individuals and communities. Stuff the Bus is a great example of a United Way program that supports this focus, and our Bridgestone teammates always look forward to the annual campaign. It is a privilege to be able to help more than 10,000 Nashville students with backpacks full of supplies they need for a successful school year.
How would you encourage others to join our fight?
I would encourage other business leaders to get involved and support the health of the communities in which their employees live and work. It is all in our best interest, both as citizens and employers, to set the community up for long-term success. I would ask all leaders to join me and United Way in making Nashville a great place to work and an even greater place to live.