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A million reasons to aim high

October 7, 2018

MICHIGAN CITY – If you’re gonna go big, go really big. That seems to be the motto of the United Way of La Porte County, at least in terms of raising money.

The agency this week announced the kick-off of its annual fundraising campaign with an ambitious $1 million goal – money to be used for programs to support local services in early childhood development, youth development, financial stability and basic needs across La Porte County.

“United Way is a vital partner in developing a strong quality of life for everyone in La Porte County,” said Tom Dermody, 2018 Annual Campaign chair. “They lend a helping hand to those who need it the most, and community supported funding is a key component to the future success of these programs and the future of our community.”

People from across the county are being brought in for the campaign, with a goal of “creating pathways to success for local youth and building bridges to financial stability for adults and families,” according to Kris Pate, United Way executive director.

Collaborative community impact projects will include:

• Preparing pre-K children for school success;

• Supporting youth throughout their school years to gain the knowledge and skills needed to lead a quality life after graduation;

• Bringing financial stability to struggling individuals and families; and

• Providing basic needs to our most vulnerable citizens

More than 30 local service providers partner with United Way to “build collaboration, fill service gaps, and reduce duplication using their newly developed collective impact model,” Pate said.

By running a strong and successful campaign, United Way can better support these local agencies, who can tin turn spend less time and effort devoted to independent fundraising and more time focused on serving the community, she said.

With partners and supporters, United Way is addressing some of our community’s toughest challenges, and improving lives and empowering every family to succeed by uniting around education, financial stability and health — the cornerstones of a strong, equitable community, according to the agency.

This year’s annual campaign and fundraisers will focus on the positive impact United Way brings to La Porte County by uniting organizations and volunteers to change lives for the better.

“We are very excited about this year’s goal,” Pate said. “We have an energized and dedicated group of campaign cabinet members and many additional volunteers campaigning for us throughout the county.

“With the level of organization and enthusiasm throughout this year’s campaign leadership, there is no doubt – it will happen!”

Pate said the other “absolutely vital element in this effort is the participation of caring, generous La Porte County individuals and businesses, and I’m proud to live among people who continually reach out their hands to help others.”

The 2018 United Way Annual Campaign will be led by Dermody, a former Indiana state representative; and vice-chair Jim Arnold, former state senator and current La Porte Community School Board member.

Campaign Cabinet members include: La Porte Mayor Mark Krentz, Jim Kaminski of Newby, Lewis, Kaminski & Jones, Jack Arnett of the La Porte County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Betsy Fleek of the Ivy Road Group, Dr. Rob Jeffs of Ivy Tech Community College, Rita Mrozinski of the La Porte Chamber of Commerce, La Porte County Commissioner Rich Mrozinski, Craig Menne of General Insurance Services, Bill Hackney of The News-Dispatch and Herald-Argus, Angie Nelson Deuitch of NIPSCO, Michigan City Fire Chief and La Porte County Councilman Randy Novak, Michigan City Area Schools Supt. Barbara Eason-Watkins, Bill Gertner of Horizon Bank, Dan Dobbins of Fiber Bond, Gene Simmons of the Michigan City Common Council, Kelly Woloszyn of 1st Source Bank and community advocates Dick Pilcher, Nancy Wendling and Bobbi Petru.

The group last met on Sept. 19 to strategize on priorities. Campaign reporting and update meetings are scheduled on Oct. 17, and 31, Nov. 14 and 28; and Dec. 12.

—From staff reports

Leading the charge

The 2018 United Way Annual Campaign will be led by Tom Dermody, former state representative; and vice-chair Jim Arnold, former state senator and current La Porte Community School Board member.

Campaign Cabinet members include:

• La Porte Mayor Mark Krentz

• Jim Kaminski of Newby, Lewis, Kaminski & Jones

• Jack Arnett of the La Porte County Convention and Visitors Bureau

• Betsy Fleek of the Ivy Road Group

• Dr. Rob Jeffs of Ivy Tech Community College

• Rita Mrozinski of the La Porte Chamber of Commerce

• La Porte County Commissioner Rich Mrozinski

• Craig Menne of General Insurance Services

• Bill Hackney, publisher of The News-Dispatch and The Herald-Argus

• Angie Nelson Deuitch of NIPSCO

• Michigan City Fire Chief and La Porte County Councilman Randy Novak

• Michigan City Area Schools Supt. Barbara Eason-Watkins

• Bill Gertner of Horizon Bank

• Dan Dobbins of Fiber Bond

• Gene Simmons of the Michigan City Common Council

• Kelly Woloszyn of 1st Source Bank

• Dick Pilcher, community activist

• Nancy Wendling, community activist

• Bobbi Petru, community activist

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