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Happy New Year from United Way of Rock River Valley

Posted on

It’s that time of year. The time when we take a moment to reflect on the past year and look forward to a new year full of possibility and promise. At United Way of Rock River Valley, the end of 2019 has significant meaning for us as we continue to celebrate our 100 year anniversary and begin our next 100 years with renewed purpose and energy.

Alexis de Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America and for whom United Way’s Tocqueville Society is named, said, “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” In that spirit, I believe that United Way has been instrumental in making our community good. You, who live, work and raise your families here are good, kind and generous. You see the problems we face as a community and you want to help – and you do – as United Way donors, volunteers and advocates for change. All of this makes the Rock River Valley great.

At a recent staff retreat a question was posed to our team, “What would this community be like if United Way wasn’t here?” Our thoughts went to the thousands of people who wouldn’t have received help from the myriad programs United Way has supported or implemented over the years. Or the many organizations under the United Way umbrella that would not have received funding for their services. We thought about the children who wouldn’t get extra reading help or school readiness support, the seniors who wouldn’t receive nutritious meals and the neighbors who wouldn’t have the resources to make their neighborhoods strong and vital. I could go on and on.

Fortunately, we only have to imagine what life would be like without a United Way. Because on December 4, 1919, members of our community had the foresight to come together to form this charitable organization - one that could make a collective impact on the community and give everyone an opportunity to be everyday philanthropists.

We coined the term everyday philanthropists when we began looking back on our 100 year history and saw the prominent names listed in the minutes from that first meeting 100 years ago. Names like Ingersoll, Smith, Fulton, Forbes, Dickenson, Gorham, Connolly and Spafford. And over the years, other names like Dargene, Eggers, Gaylord, Gloyd, Packard, and Ritter have helped ensure United Way stayed strong and vital.

But quite frankly, it’s the names that aren’t readily recognized, our everyday philanthropists, who make the biggest impact. Beginning with our first campaign in 1920 to our 100th campaign in 2019, donors give what they can and it all makes a difference. We have donors who have faithfully given $1 every week, and we have Tocqueville Society members who give $10,000 every year. Whatever the amount, it all matters. It’s giving of time and talent too. If you’ve served on a committee or the board you are United Way. If you are a coordinator for your company’s campaign, you are United Way. If you volunteer for IREAD or Success by Six, or at a Strong Neighborhood House, you are United Way.

All of us together represent the good works of United Way, the impact it has made for the last 100 years and the impact it will continue to make for the next 100. All of you make this area great!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you and to you and yours we wish you a peaceful, prosperous and purposeful 2020.

Paul Logli
President & CEO, United Way of Rock River Valley

For highlights of our programming, partnerships, initiatives, and events throughout 2019 — click here.

To give to United Way of Rock River Valley — click here.

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