Serving Monroe, Owen, and Greene Counties

Celebrating Volunteers, Businesses & Successful Campaign

April 12, 2018  – Volunteers, donors, and supporters joined United Way of Monroe County in celebration of the conclusion of its 2017-2018 “United We Fight. United We Win.” fundraising campaign on Wednesday, April 11 at Hoosier Energy. Additionally, several workplaces and volunteers received recognition for their outstanding contributions.

The excitement was evident as Campaign Co-Chairs Wendy Hernandez and Denise Lessow announced the campaign total of $1,315,200.

Donations support effective local programs that help people learn more, earn more, and lead a safer and healthier life. United Way works with 25 member agencies and many other partners to help everyone in the community with opportunities to improve their education, increase their economic mobility, and have access to life’s essentials like housing, food,
health care, and help during a crisis. United Way supports initiatives and member agency programs designed to strengthen the Monroe, Owen, and Greene communities in the long-run, while also helping people get back on their feet today.

During the celebration, Efrat Feferman, United Way Executive Director, reminded attendees, “In September, we asked each and every one of you to join the fight. The fight to assure that kids enter kindergarten ready to succeed and that teens graduate equipped for the future. We asked you to fight so that our neighbor living with a developmental disability can participate in all aspects of our community, including meaningful employment and so that seniors can remain independent and healthy in their homes. We asked you to fight so that those at risk have healthful and nourishing food and homes that are stable and free of violence. We asked you to fight with us to assure our neighbors have access to health care and mental health services. We asked you to join with us to fight so that no one goes uncared for.”

Efrat continued, “And you did just that, you stepped forward and said, these things matter, these friends and neighbors, and community members matter, and these things are worth fighting for.”

Mike Rampley, Hoosier Energy Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, welcomed guests to the event, “Hoosier Energy is a proud member, as well as
supporter, of our Bloomington community. We are pleased to offer our facilities for this celebration. Together, we can build our community up, making it strong for years to come.”

Speaking about the continued relevance of United Way, Denise Lessow, Campaign Co-chair and Realtor with United Country, Coffey Realty & Auction, remarked, “United Way did its job thirty years ago and it does its job, a really key job, now. Planning for this critical campaign began a year ago and, when you were asked, you responded with generosity.” She continued, “Thank you for contributing time, energy, and funds and, most of all, recognizing and appreciating the difference this organization makes in the future success of our community and everyone in it. United, we do win.”

Wendy Hernandez, Campaign Co-chair and VP of Professional and Support Services at IU Health, shared with the audience, “One of my favorite quotes is, “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go” – Dr. Seuss.
Growing-up, I was lucky to have a great family that stressed the importance of reading, learning and exploring. Through my involvement with United Way, over the past 28 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many great organizations that provide families the prospect of establishing financial security and assist with preparing our children for success though reading and learning.”

United Way and its member agencies touch the lives of one in three people in the community. " United Way’s powerful impact is visible in our community every day,” remarked David Johnson, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and IU Campaign Co-Chair. “I am pleased that IU is helping to further that impact: we not only reached our pledge goal but surpassed it."

It takes the entire community coming together to achieve results. Idie Kesner, Dean, IU Kelley School of Business, who served as an IU Campaign Co-Chair commended the efforts of the IU Bloomington campus, “I want to thank and congratulate all of the IU team who rose to the occasion. This effort added a greater number of donors and more young leaders who gave to this campaign because they truly care about
community and the impact of United Way.”

Jim Grandorf, Leadership Giving Chair, thanked those committed to giving generously so United Way and its member agencies can help people throughout the community succeed. “Vanguard contributors continue to be an important segment of our United Way campaign. Overall 379 Vanguard contributors donated $760,788.” The Vanguard Leadership Giving Programs recognizes gifts of $1,000 or more and the Young Leaders Society is comprised of those under age 40 who donate $500 or more.

Several workplaces received awards for their outstanding contributions to the campaign. United Way honored their five largest workplace campaigns with the Community Builder Award: Indiana University, IU Credit Union, German American, Cummins, and IU Health Bloomington.

Duke Energy, a sustaining sponsor of United Way’s Real Men Read program in Spencer-Owen and Richland-Bean Blossom School Corporations, received the Business Partner of the Year Award for contributing significant time, treasure, and talent to help United Way positively impact the community.

Two organizations that ran exemplary workplace campaigns were recognized. Old National Bank received the Workplace Campaign of the Year as their corporate gift matched employees’ enthusiastic support for the community. Shalom Community Center received the Member Agency of the Year after achieving 100% participation by employees.

Michael Shermis with the City of Bloomington and Maarten Bout with Indiana University were each 
of a Spirit Award for their inspirational leadership that energized colleagues to make their workplace campaigns more successful. Both campaigns exceeded internal goals of participation or funds raised.

The Mary Alice Gray Memorial Award for extraordinary volunteer service was presented to Wain Martin. This award recognizes United Way volunteers who have made a significant and sustained contribution to the organization. Wain has been involved with United Way for decades. As a leading member of the IU Retirees, he has inspired increased giving and involvement. In addition to his United Way volunteer work, he gives of his time to numerous local organizations and inspires the best in those around him, closing most meetings with “Never tire of doing good.”

United Way of Monroe County improves people’s lives by addressing critical needs today and working to reduce those needs tomorrow. Through its Community Action Fund and grant initiatives, United Way works with 25 member agencies and community partners to focus resources on the building blocks for a better life: education, earning, and the essentials.


  • Born Learning
  • Financial Stability Alliance
  • Monroe Smart Start
  • Familywize Discount Prescription Card
  • Bank On Bloomington