New Year ~ New Directions

As we rang in 2017, we rang in changes for our local United Way as well. Continuing our path of determining strategic goals for our organization, we met several times with local consultants and assessed current efforts. Our Board of Directors came up with strategies around resource development and assessed what our staffing needs would be for the New Year. We determined that two new positions were in order – a part time Finance Assistant and a Community Engagement Coordinator. And, just like that…the process of hiring began! We put the word out locally, and listed our positions. We will keep you posted on updates. Meanwhile, our friends at Target Distribution granted us funds for a mini Day of Caring Event in January – Target United Way MLK Winter Work Days! We completed projects at 10 local agencies, and supplied the sites with mini-grants to help with projects like: thanking mentors, stocking food pantries, fortifying agency supplies and adding value to several of our local nonprofits in this way. On the heels of this great effort, I was able to travel to the great city of Green Bay (Great city because I am a die hard Packer Fan…woo hoo!) for my annual regional United Way Great Rivers Conference. As a member of the Conference Planning Team, I get to network with other United Way staff in the system, learn about projects, initiatives and strategies from peers and leaders in the United Way system, and get re-energized about our local work. (Bonus: The host City reception MIGHT have occurred at Lambeau Field in the Packer Hall of Fame.) Much time was spent post-conference prepping for our annual financial literacy work – Money Smart Week DeKalb, Lee & LaSalle. Meetings were held with partners, and session ideas were generated for a week of great community outreach at the end of April. If that was not enough greatness, we had the honor or recognizing another set of community movers and shakers this year at our Annual Meeting– individuals and companies that invest in our mission in a meaningful way and help us to do the good work that we do. Longtime volunteer (and unicorn-lover) Ms. Bridget Carlson from First National Bank was the first recipient of our annual Leo Olson Award. We were happy to recognize her years of service, and at the same time saddened to have to send her off to a new employment opportunity out of state. We also were pleased to honor First Midwest Bank for their commitment of both monetary resources and their commitment to allow various bank staff to serve with us on committees, on our Board of Directors and in numerous other capacities. What a great start to what promises to be a great year. Looking forward to move adventures and forward progress this spring!

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