The Star-Herald

United Way hosts annual meeting and awards

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The United Way of Aroostook hosted its annual meeting on July 7 with a breakfast and awards presentation at the Presque Isle Snowmobile Club.  

About 80 guests attended to celebrate making it through a difficult time and celebrate the work that has happened over the past two years to make lasting changes in Aroostook County. Last year’s annual meeting was canceled due to COVID-19.  

The 18 members of the board of directors were announced for this coming year. United Way Executive Director Sarah Ennis said a number of new members were added over the past two years. Denise Plourde of NorState Federal Credit Union completed her term and was thanked for her outstanding service.

Board President Jon Gulliver spoke about how, in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, the United Way of Aroostook was able to maintain its focus to help the people of Aroostook County.   

“I have been involved with the United Way of Aroostook for nearly 30 years.  In those 30 years I have seen firsthand how the United Way of Aroostook rises to an occasion, which is certainly true this frightening and challenging year,” said Gulliver.

 He thanked all the donors and corporate partners for how they have stepped up during this difficult time. 

The top 10 campaigns for the 2020 Campaign year were recognized. Katahdin Trust was the top-performing campaign, followed by Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital, MMG Insurance, Versant Power, Smith & Wesson, Central Aroostook Association, The County Federal Credit Union, Maine State Employees Combined Charitable Appeal, Fish River Rural Health and SAD 1. 

“Their generosity and caring have made a difference in thousands of people in Aroostook County this past year,” Ennis said. 

 Versant Power received the Campaign of the Year Award for the excellence in their campaign but also for their strong philanthropic culture and community partnership.  This organization was selected because of their organizational volunteer culture, including collaborative work with United Ways as well as other organizations in the community, the benefit their employees receive from involvement in the community and the role their leadership plays in promoting a culture of philanthropy and community spirit. 

 The Campaign Excellence Award was given to MMG Insurance.  They have been a longtime leader in supporting the United Way of Aroostook and despite a pandemic continued to do everything possible to support the vibrancy and health of the community continuously and generously.

 Fran Gill was named the Volunteer of the Year for the work she did and the countless hours she donated to the United Way of Aroostook.  

“She took on a lot of work to make sure the Aroostook CA$H Coalition was able to still run in a reimagined way when people could not meet face-to-face,” Ennis said. “She could be called on anytime to come help with anything needed and is very deserving of this recognition.” 

 The United Way of Aroostook Community Spark Award is the most prestigious award given.  This was awarded to Kelly Landeen from WAGM-TV, who has promoted the work of United Way of Aroostook with the help of WAGM. 

“She has shown a high level of motivation and energy to spread the Live United spirit throughout Aroostook County,” Ennis said. “She has rallied people all the County and has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.”  

Ennis reported the 2020 campaign had raised $782,094. The goal had been set at $650,000.  

“When we set the year’s campaign goal, we anticipated that giving would decrease due to so many experiencing the negative effects of COVID in the community.  The community did not disappoint, and companies and organizations continued to pour out their generosity through workplace campaigns, telethons and events that had to be reimagined,” said Ennis.  

Gina Leblanc-Eggert was thanked for being this year’s campaign chairwoman.

 Finally, the agencies were announced that would receive funding over the next year as funded partners of United Way of Aroostook.  They are: Aroostook Area Agency on Aging – Nutrition Services, Aroostook Area Agency on Aging – Aroostook Retired Volunteer Program, Aroostook County Action Program Early Care and Education, Aroostook County Action Program Family Coaching, Aroostook County Action Program WIC, Adopt-A-Block Aroostook, Boys & Girls Club of Presque Isle, Catholic Charities Hunger & Relief Services, Central Aroostook Association, Homeless Services of Aroostook, Hope & Justice Project, Maine Families Aroostook Home Visiting Program, Salvation Army – Houlton Emergency Services and St. John Valley Associates/Independence Plus.  

The United Way will also fully fund Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which is sending out more than 2,200 books a month to Aroostook County children from birth to age 5, and will also give Community Building Grants, support Aid for Kids, and give a significant donation to keep 211 Maine available for 24/7 support to Aroostook County residents. 

 For more information on the funding process, partners, campaign and the organization, visit unitedwayaroostook.org.

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.