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United Way celebrates successes, looks toward new campaign

The United Way event committee, decked out in their ’80s attire, takes the time to pose for a photo in front of Pac Man during the annual dinner on Tuesday.
The United Way event committee, decked out in their ’80s attire, takes the time to pose for a photo in front of Pac Man during the annual dinner on Tuesday.

MINOOKA – The 1980s theme at the United Way of Grundy County’s annual campaign celebration made for a fun Tuesday evening, with local notables decked out in Miami Vice clothes or Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” get-up.

“This is the third year we did a theme and everybody’s asking what the theme is next year,” United Way Executive Director Karen Nall said.

The annual campaign celebration, held at Chapin’s East in Minooka, is a time to thank the community, partner agencies and donors for their support throughout the year, Nall said.

“It’s nice way to let our hair down, or up,” Nall said, referring to the big-hair styles of the ’80s.

United Way Board President Dan Duffy led the evening with a roundup of the decade and challenged guests to remember songs like “Walk this Way” and events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall. He also included tidbits about board members and where they were during the ’80s.

WCSJ morning show host Kevin Schramm was the perfect voice for the trivia game, booming over the top of 1980s music.

There was a silent auction and raffle prizes, true to the agency’s fundraising focus.

Money raised at the celebration will go to helping the 27 community partner agencies who provide services to over 38,000 people in Grundy County.

“This is our only fundraiser this year,” said Nall.

Many of the people helped by partner agencies utilize more than one type of service.

“That’s why they are called community partners,” Nall said. “They partner together so they can see the whole family. That’s a great partnership we foster and are so lucky to have in Grundy County.”

Nall introduced two new partners for the upcoming year, which starts Oct. 1 – YMCA and NAMI Will-Grundy (National Alliance on Mental Illness).

United Way is at 90 percent of its campaign goal for 2013, which is $455,000, Nall said.

The agency’s goal for 2014 will be raised to $475,000.

“We are confident we will make our current goal and next year’s with the two new agencies this coming year,” Duffy said. “We are very, very fortunate to be located in Grundy County, which is a very generous community – both monetarily and with people who give time to volunteer.”

While United Way event planners handed out awards to donors, everyone enjoyed a fine Chapin’s dinner, conversation and more than a few laughs over costumes.

“We are so pleased to have you with us; you being here [Tuesday], you being here [Monday], and you being here every day for Grundy County,” said Nall. “Each and every one of you plays such an important role in the services we provide throughout Grundy County.”

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