Last Thursday I spent the day with over a thousand like-minded folks as we culminated a year-long effort to support our community and use our time, skills, and resources to change lives for the better. As the 2015 United Way of Dane County Campaign Chair, I am extremely moved by and proud of the members of the community who came out to support us!
We wanted to emphasize the ‘party’ in participation this year, and chose a rock n’ roll theme to energize the entire campaign. And continuing in that spirit, we wrapped up the year with the local rock band, Lube, along with Madison’s WJJO radio hosts Johnny Danger and Greg Bair, bringing that rocking energy to our event at the Monona Terrace!
We were so incredibly pleased to announce some fine numbers for the 2015 Campaign. Our community raised a whopping $19,540,000! And that number doesn’t include the additional $1.3 million donated directly into the United Way’s Lasting Impact Foundation. Add together those figures: our friends and neighbors contributed a total of more than $20 million! True, that number is certainly impressive, but of course we’re focusing on what we can do with it. These funds translate into more families living in stable housing, more children getting the academic support they need to succeed in school, and more adults learning valuable job skills so they can find employment at a family-sustaining wage.
As for me, I couldn’t stop smiling… It was heartwarming to see all the faces in the crowd as we came together to celebrate this accomplishment, and it was important to acknowledge the dedicated efforts of the United Way leadership, staff, and “loaned” executives. Along with altruists from organizations all around Dane County, these tireless folks worked hard throughout the year to drive the Agenda for Change and move people on Pathways out of Poverty. It was more than heartwarming, it was overwhelming.
At this time of Thanksgiving let us never forget to be grateful for the blessings in our lives. And let us be reminded that the true measure of gratefulness is sharing those blessings with others who may be less fortunate. As my time as campaign chair is wrapping up, I challenge you to never stop looking for ways to improve the human condition for the better. You can make the difference. You can truly impact lives. You can be a game changer for so many in need.
I wish you all a blessed and bountiful Thanksgiving!