United Way of the Wabash Valley hosted it’s 2021 Annual Meeting virtually on Thursday, April 8th. The virtual event, presented by Union Health, was able to bring together donors, volunteers, and community partners in a safe way to celebrate overcoming the challenges the past year has presented and how United Way has worked together to provide assistance to over 100 organizations across the Wabash Valley. This past year has highlighted now more than ever the need for United Way’s work as they focus on their bold goal of moving 10,000 families out of financial struggles and into stability.
As a matter of business, new Board Members were elected by the donors and included, Kelsey Chase with Wright, Shagley & Lowery, P.C., Amy Haworth a Community Advocate, Kristi Howe with Vigo County Public Library, John Lange a retiree from Eli Lily, and Amy Naidu with Indiana State University. A new slate of officers was approved to include Hicham Rahmouni of Lugar Center for Rural Health as president, Kristin Craig of the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce as secretary and B.J. Riley of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College as treasurer. Recognized for his service to the Board was outgoing member Bill Riley.
The United Way also recognized outstanding volunteers for their work supporting the organization. Awarded annually since 1968, the Richard D. Newport Award recognizes individuals for exemplifying an outstanding commitment to advocate, collaborate, and support the organization’s mission resulting in the growth of United Way resources. This year’s winners are Christian and Alia Shuck of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, for their work as the Vanguard Society chairs. The Vanguard Society includes United Way donors of $1,000 or more per year. They took on this role in an unprecedented year and created unique approaches to grow the number of leadership givers.
The Solomon Award has been awarded annually since 1991 to an individual for their leadership and demonstration of extraordinary wisdom, responsiveness, and flexibility in investing United Way donor resources to create the greatest impact in our community. This year’s winner is Kristi Howe of the Vigo County Public Library, the co-chair for the United Way’s Community Impact Committee. Her work as the chair of the Wabash Valley COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund was pivotal in awarding 20 rounds of grants to organizations across the community.
The United Way also created two new awards this year to recognize community partners participation in giving and impact. The Live United Partner Award was given to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology to honor their dedication, innovation and success in giving through their United Way Annual Resource Drive. They truly embraced the new virtual giving platform and increased their employee’s overall giving by 40%. The Impact Champion Award, sponsored by Thompson Thrift, was given to Next Step Foundation for their extraordinary collaboration and dedication to strategically addressing systems-level community-wide issues using a collective impact approach. Their work on the United Way’s Substance Use Disorder Impact Council is creating new partnerships across the Wabash Valley to creatively tackle a very complex problem.
The United Way also recognized Terre Haute Chevrolet for their generous sponsorship of $10,000 for the Annual United Way Resource Drive Incentive, with the winner, Paul Lapp, announced earlier in January. The giveaway is the 10th year Terre Haute Chevrolet has partnered with the United Way in donating an incentive to encourage community members to donate.
Highlighting the event were two videos featuring the impact of the work of the United Way. The first focused on the work of the United Way Impact Councils. The mission and progress of each council was given and featured testimonials from grantees, council leadership, and community supporters. The second video highlighted the United Way’s work surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the organization’s response. The video included community partner’ s stories of how the pandemic affected their organization and how United Way was able to help support them and their community in their time of need.
The Annual Meeting event wouldn’t have been possible if it were not for the community support and sponsors. A full list of sponsors, additional honorees, links to the videos, and a full recording of the event are available at uwwv.org/event.