Robert Demere, Jr.’s humility extends even deeper than his pockets. He has been nominated and awarded this honor several times before, but always has quietly declined. His respect for United Way of the Coastal Empire’s retiring CEO, Gregg Schroeder is what changed his mind for this year’s acceptance of the Spirit of Giving award. United Way of the Coastal Empire would not be as successful as it is today without Robert Demere. Since 2002, he has provided the necessary strength we may need to help close the campaign gap to meet our goal.
Demere grew up in Savannah and after serving in Special Forces during Vietnam, he established his own roots here in the community. He started working at Colonial Oil in 1974 for working on odds and ends until he finished what his father called his, “Executive Training Program”. Watching his father and other local powerhouse companies, like Savannah Foods, Union Camp and Chatham Steel, heavily influenced his own giving spirit. Demere, Jr. observed these business leaders establish a pecking order of United Way contributions. Demere Sr. allowed only the United Way to solicit employee giving to his employees. Demere Jr. took it one step further when he became leader of Colonial Oil to personally speak to his employees about the importance of giving back to the community that they work and reside in.
Robert Demere, Jr. is both a provider and a protector of what is important in our greater Savannah area.