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United Way of Portage County Honors 2017 Blenker Workplace Campaign

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The United Way of Portage County honored donors and supporters of the 2017 campaign at a Recognition Luncheon at noon on Jan. 23 at the Holiday Inn & Conference Center in Stevens Point.

The 2017 Recognition Luncheon took place a month after the announcement that the Blenker family, who led the United Way of Portage County as a drive chairs for 2017, broke campaign records with corporate, organizational and individual donations totaling $3,048,991.

The 2017 United Way of Portage County campaign was recognized as the biggest campaign per capita in Wisconsin and the 16th largest in the nation.

In recognition of the money raised, the United Way of Portage County presented tokens of appreciation to the Blenker family, which included a caricature portrait and photo books. Throughout the Recognition Luncheon, awards were given out to donors who made the campaign a record-setting success.

Scott Steuck, communications and marketing director of the United Way of Portage County, said it’s important to honor and reward the hard work of these leaders and highlight what they have done in their efforts to LIVE UNITED, so others can follow their examples.

Individuals who were recognized for their workplace campaign contributions include Jessica Anunson, project management clerk and Crystal Rowland, administrative assistant at Blenker Companies, Inc.

Tina Peters, co-chair of the Stevens Society of the United Way, was there to honor Anunson and Rowland with the Special Recognition Award, an award given to them because of their compassion, empathy and understanding of others based on their unique experiences along with their record-breaking contributions to the 2017 United Way of Portage County campaign.

“In the case of Jessica and Crystal, both have been extraordinary campaign coordinators for multiple years,” Steuck said. “They attend every training, share what they know, and then absorb what others share with them. They take this knowledge back to Blenker Companies and make it part of that workplace campaign.”

Overall, Blenker Companies, Inc. raised $25,097 for their workplace campaign.Employees pledged $14,650 with the company matching $5,000. In addition to this, there was a corporate pledge of $5,000 and a company community fundraiser during September 2017, called the Bucket Ball Challenge, which garnered $447 for the United Way of Portage County 2017 campaign.

On top of that, Blenker Companies, Inc. had a 72% workplace participation rate, an increase of over 20% from 2016.

8 new workplace donors contributed $52 or more to the total workplace donation amount.

The total donation amount from Blenker Companies, Inc. is a 55% increase from 2016.

“Those are incredible results that deserve to be recognized,” Steuck said. “They were making the campaign fun, but it took a lot of hard work on their part to do so. That’s LIVING UNITED.”

Anunson and Rowland said the success of their workplace campaign can be attributed to the generosity and dedicated individuals at Blenker Companies, Inc. and they added that without their support, their achievements would not have been met.

“I am proud of not only myself but that I work with such a giving group of people,” Anunson said. “Most of our employees are young men and to see them with their giving is wonderful. They really pulled on my heart strings with every donation that made our totals go up,” Anunson said. “They didn’t just donate the minimum amount to qualify for prizes, but they went above and beyond. It’s these young men who really should be receiving the special recognition. I do it to give back for what I received in the past. They do it because someone else needs it. That’s when it becomes special.”
Anunson said it’s these kinds of actions that define what it means to LIVE UNITED: to give your own time and resources for the better good of the community that you live, work and play in.

Now that the Blenker family passed the leadership torch to the 2018 campaign drive chairs at the 2017 Recognition Luncheon, both of the workplace campaign coordinators hope to see the LIVE UNITED message further fulfilled and improved upon for future generations.

“I just hope that by sharing my own personal experiences that people will be able to relate to the stories and see the personal benefits of the organizations that the United Way supports locally and they will continue to give in the future,” Anunson said.

“Each organization that the UWPC helps receives a portion of the campaign money,” Anunson said. “It would be terrific to see at least one of these organizations say that they have enough funds to carry them through the year.”

Rowland said she hopes to see the LIVE UNITED message further fulfilled with continued positive support and improvement within Portage County communities.

“It’s the compassion of the people who build the growth and improvement to these communities,” Rowland said. “When we come together in support of one another—we can achieve anything.”

And to make anything happen, Rowland said the community must live each day to the best of their ability.

“To see an obstacle and know you can overcome it,” Rowland said. “It’s seeing a neighbor struggle with shoveling or raking and lending a hand—just because. To accept everyone as they are and not pass judgment on anyone that may be different. To give without expecting anything in return. Spreading happiness to strangers just to brighten their day. LIVE UNITED—a community united is a community of strength.”



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