Nearly 300 suburban leaders from businesses, human services, foundations and government joined United Way North-Northwest Thursday, June 19, for the annual Community Celebration.
The event celebrated community collaborations that are making measurable change in increasing high school graduation rates, building financial stability, improving health, and meeting basic needs.
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The event also honored top corporate partners, volunteers, board members and donors who support UWNNW's work in education, income, health and safety net.
"This truly is a communitywide celebration, said Marcia McMahon, regional chief professional officer at United Way North-Northwest.
"United Way is about all of us playing our part in creating lasting solutions to the problems our region faces, particularly in underserved neighborhoods. We honor all of our partners today, and the progress we're making on behalf of individuals and families."
Clinical nutritionist Dr. Sandy Goldberg, a regular contributor to NBC 5 News, was the master of ceremonies.
"The success of United Way is not only measured in dollars raised but how those dollars are used," she said. "When caring people work through United Way to unite their passion and resources, solutions to our region's issues are possible."
Through the LIVE UNITED 2020 community-impact plan, United Way North-Northwest, as a member of United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, takes the most successful strategies in education, income, health and basic needs to leverage its resources for maximum impact in the North and Northwest region.
To date, United Way investments have assisted 19,330 middle school students, helped 49,380 households improve economic stability and assisted nearly 800,000 people in crisis with food, shelter and safety.
The agency also reports that more than 40,000 United Way volunteers saved partner agencies $314,200 through 14,065 donated hours.
The 2014 award winners are:
• The 2014 Top Corporate Citizens were Wheels Inc. and Schwarz Supply Source; each raised more than $100,000.
Raising more than $50,000 each were Tenneco Automotive, Woodward, Zurich North America, ADP, Schawk! and the Auto Truck Group.
• The Great Beginnings Award went to Texas Instruments and Skokie/Morton Grove District 69.
• Eight Heart of the Community awards were given out: Community Spirit Award, Zurich North America; Corporate Support Pillar Award, Woodward; Employee Support Pillar Award, American Agricultural Insurance Co.; Communications Pillar Award, Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300; Diversity Award, ADP; Innovation Award, Wheels Inc.
One new award has special poignancy. The Heart of the Community Catherine Lee Award is named for Catherine M. Lee, a lifelong advocate for women and education and a member of the United Way North-Northwest board of directors, who died in January. The recipient of the first Catherine Lee Award is Comcast.
"We believe this award truly carries on the legacy of this remarkable woman," said Deb Price, president of the board of United Way North-Northwest.
• Municipalities raised more than $46,500. The top four were: Gold Award, Skokie; Silver Award, Evanston; Bronze Award, Mount Prospect; and Honorable Mention, Niles.
• School districts raised more than $46,000: The Gold Award went to Northwest Suburban High School District 214; the Silver Award to Community Unit District 300; the Bronze to Wheeling Township Elementary District 21; and the Honorable Mention to Arlington Heights Elementary District 25.
• Retail businesses raised $71,000. Top honorees: Costco of Glenview, Gold Award; Macy's at Old Orchard, silver; Costco of Mount Prospect, bronze; and Costco of Niles, honorable mention.
• Pinnacle Awards, for in-kind donations, went to three businesses: the JohnsByrne Co.; Northbrook Bank & Trust; and ADP.
• Spotlight Awards were given for both Campaign Growth and for Engagement. Campaign Growth honorees were Duke Realty, Global Payments, Johnson Controls Inc., Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, PACCAR Financial Corp. and World Kitchens LLC. Engagement winners were Catamaran, Jennings Chevrolet-Volkswagen, Lawson Products Inc., Opus and Topco Associates LLC.
• The following companies, charities and individuals were honored for being Community Champions: The Goulden Touch (founded by Bears kicker Robbie Gould); Thermoflex; Deloitte; Allstate; Wintrust Financial; Big Tuna Marketing; Meltzer, Purtil & Stelle LLC; Littler Mendelson; Discover; Reed Smith; Fox, Swibel, Levin & Carroll, LLP, Rosewood Restaurant; Baxter; FedEx; Woodward; PotashCorp; musician Ray Silkman and Topco.
• The Above & Beyond Award went to Sara Truszkowski, senior analyst for infrastructure support with United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, and Kristen Johnson, engagement coordinator for volunteerism with United Way of Metropolitan Chicago.
• Grants funded by the Buchanan Family Foundation have been awarded to: Family Service: Prevention, Education and Counseling; Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association; the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Senior Citizens Foundation; and the Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center.
• Three graduating seniors are winners of George Gattas scholarships: Kelly Kons of Maine South High School; Nicholas Vucovich of William Fremd High School; and Carmen Bustamente of Buffalo Grove High School.