United Way kicks off its $2.6M campaign

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Photo provided The United Way Blackhawk Region's Community Campaign Champions are, from left, Marc Perry, director of planning and development at Community Action Inc., Regina Dunkin, community relations and volunteer coordinator at Beloit Health System, and Steve Pophal, superitentent of the School District of Janesville. The United Way Blackhawk Region kicked off its community campaign this morning with a breakfast at the Eclipse Center.

BELOIT - The United Way Blackhawk Region announced this morning its goal of raising $2.6 million in this year's community campaign.

The campaign kicked off at a breakfast sponsored by Kerry Inc. held at the Eclipse Center this morning.

At the breakfast buffet, United Way urged the 450 attendees to give, advocate and volunteer, in order to Live United. To reaffirm donors' commitment and to inspire new financial support, United Way unveiled its 2018 campaign video, introduced this year's campaign champions and announced the community fundraising goal.

"While volunteers contribute so much, we know that volunteering is not enough. A financial investment is required to deliver effective programming and accomplish measurable results," said United Way Blackhawk Region Board Chair Jon Schlemmer. "That's why United Way's Board of Directors has committed to investing $2.34 million to help fight family violence, poverty, hunger, homelessness, and many other daunting problems families face in the Blackhawk Region. And, we need your generous support to keep fighting."

Champions of United Way's 2017 campaign, Lori Curtis Luther, Mark Freitag, Al Hulick, and Ted Rehl, were on hand to recap last year's success in meeting the goal of raising $2.5 million and to introduce the local leaders championing this year's campaign.

"In a creative spin on the champion concept, each of our newly appointed campaign champions represents one of United Way's three impact areas: health, education and financial stability," Hulick said. "Securing high visibility advocates in this role sends a clear message to our community that creating real and lasting change requires collaboration, innovation and strong leadership."

Regina Dunkin, Community Relations and Volunteer Coordinator at Beloit Health System, School District of Janesville Superintendent Steve Pophal, and Marc Perry, Director of Planning and Development at Community Action, Inc. were announced as champions for United Way's 2018 community campaign. Each champion shared information on how United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in the Blackhawk Region, including coalition work, community grant investments, launching Dolly Parton's Imagination Library and United Way's refreshed ALICE® Report.

Held every year in conjunction with the campaign kickoff, United Way's Day of Caring will surpass 2017 numbers with another record-breaking year of participation. Organizers thanked sponsors and participants for another meaningful day of volunteerism, boasting 916 volunteers, 163 corporate teams from 34 companies, 117 projects slated at 44 local nonprofit organizations.

The event concluded with an upbeat breakdance performance by the "BBoys": Ethan Hough (6th grader at Marshall Middle School), Alexz Pfeiffer (freshman at Parker High School) and Wyatt Flann (homeschooled student).

The United Way Blackhawk Region helps fund 62 human services programs at 28 agencies in Rock County in Wisconsin and in northern Winnebago County in Illinois.

To learn how you can give, advocate or volunteer, visit LiveUnitedBR.org.

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