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United Way’s Spirit of the Community Breakfast recognizes donors, volunteers

Nearly 200 people gathered at Crystal Gardens on Wednesday to celebrate the work of Livingston County United Way and its commitment to improving the community.

Jeff Blagg, Pastor at SonRise Church and current United Way Board President, kicked off the annual meeting by recognizing outgoing board members, Carole Damon and Brian Jonckheere, for their years of service and dedication.  He also welcomed newly elected board members; Carol Griffith, Co-owner of Griffith Realty; Frank Mancuso, Attorney and partner at Mancuso & Cameron, P.C.; Jenny Nash, Livingston County Treasurer; Joseph Ptolemy, software developer with X by 2; Karen Rex, Master Gardener and Beekeeper; and Bob Musch, Retiree from Dow Corning and Community Volunteer.

Rena Pomaville of Tsunagari Services, Inc. and Nicole Mandziuk, Development and Marketing Director at United Way, shared the success of United Way’s Community Events: Day of Caring, Tour de Livingston and Matching Money Monday.  

They also recognized Workplace Campaign Successes:  

15 Top Partners who are the largest donors for the campaign each year

13 Campaign Champions who had 100% participation of their employees

75 Campaign Champions who increased their donations this year over last

Rick Todd of Pinckney Community Schools thanked both Ore Creek Craft Cidery & Tap Room and Uptown Coffee for holding the first “round-up at the register” campaign, which allowed customers to add some change to their bill to support United Way.  As he continued to discuss how the donated dollars make a difference, local school mascots interrupted his speech to fire up the audience.

“Even though the important communication about tackling hunger, helping older adults age in place, ensuring people are safely housed and addressing mental health were emphasized, the mascots really brought home the positive IMPACT we can have when we work together to support our community.  Amazing things happen when we stand UNITED,” stated a press release.

Anne Rennie, Executive Director of LCUW had the honor to present the 2022 Volunteer of the year awards.

o Mariana Rossi, Exchange Student from Brazil– Young Person of Distinction Award

o Fowlerville High School Interact Club – Youth Organization of the Year Award

o Hayley Trombley, Livingston County Catholic Charities –  Charles W. Itsell Volunteer of the Year Award

o Carole Damon, Community Volunteer–  Donald Epley Lifetime Service Award

o Michigan Rod Products  – Randy Rudisill Business-of-the-Year Award

Jeff Blagg then introduced the incoming Board president, Katie Pikkarainen, with Katie Pikkarainen State Farm Insurance.  Katie thanked the staff, participants and community.  

Katie and Anne Rennie, Executive Directior of Livingston County United Way, recognized 2 valuable community leaders who are retiring this year:

• Mary Nye – Finance Director at United Way for 34 years

• Mark Robinson – Executive Director at Livingston County Catholic Charities for the last 22 years

 The program ended with three calls to action.  One was to provide a round-up Campaign at their business.  The second was to hold an employee campaign at their business.  And lastly, she invited the participants and all members of the community to be a part of the Community Investment process, which determines how donated dollars are invested. The CIC presentations are held at the end of April. To get involved in the CIC process, please contact Liz Welch at lwelch@lcunitedway.org.

 To learn more about the different ways to get involved or donate to the Livingston County United Way, visit www.lcunitedway.org. The 2022 Annual Report and list of LCUW Board of Directors can also be found on the website.

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