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Transformation at heart, on mind of community

This commentary was originally published in the Racine Journal Times

What a year it has been, Racine County! This is a community full of people who never fail to inspire me with their commitment to creating change. As transformation occurs through United Way, such as creating new channels for philanthropy and establishing partnerships to improve education outcomes, the community has been there at every step to contribute to these accomplishments. From philanthropists to volunteers and all others who work to improve the lives of everyone in Racine County, our community demonstrates on a daily basis what it means to Live United.

Our community’s strong philanthropic spirit results in outstanding support to United Way’s campaign each year. As our 2018 campaign concludes, we hope to build on the previous year’s success: In 2017, more than 6,300 donors gave back to the community by donating to United Way.

I can never express enough gratitude for this generosity. I want to take this opportunity to thank every community member who supports United Way of Racine County. Thank you to the 200+ organizations that galvanize their employees in support of our mission to build an educated workforce—led by companies like SC Johnson, Twin Disc, Andis, and Modine, among others, that run local United Way campaigns. And thank you to those give back by offering their time through volunteerism and sharing their voice through Community Conversations.

In 2018, the community rallied behind some exciting new fundraising efforts. This was the first year we introduced DoMore24, a 24-hour giving event, to Racine County. From noon to noon, May 17-18, United Way led the charge to crowdsource online donations for more than 50 Racine County nonprofits. This event forged new connections between a diverse range of organizations, demonstrated the impact that 24 hours can make, and raised $36,000 in support of Racine County nonprofits. We plan to make this event bigger and better next year, so stay tuned for further news about DoMore24 in 2019.

The funds we raise each year support the programs our impact partners manage, as well as our own initiatives, all of which focus on building an educated workforce. One example of how this is accomplished is the Knapp community school. Along with RUSD and other key partners, we implemented the community school model at Knapp in 2016. In just two years’ time, the school’s state report card grade and students’ math and reading scores have significantly increased. In addition, parents, students, and neighbors of the Julian Thomas community recently participated in Community Conversations to shape the implementation of our second community school, scheduled to begin services in August of 2019.

United Way is driven by those who give, advocate, and volunteer for a cause much larger than themselves. As you make your final preparations for holiday gift giving, I encourage you to continue to put your money where your heart is and support our community through a gift to United Way. Twin Disc, in celebration of its 100th anniversary, is offering United Way donors the chance to win $10,000. A donation of $100 or more, or a 10 percent increase over your previous donation—whichever is larger—will automatically enter you into the sweepstakes if you give before the end of the year. You can donate now at UnitedWayRacine.org/give.

Thank you, Racine County, for all you do to create positive change. I am grateful and proud to live and work among people who consistently demonstrate how to Live United.

Rodney Prunty is the president of United Way of Racine County.