2018 United Way Community Celebration at
Despite this difficult time, Sentry Insurance persevered and generously continued to support the Dane County community by giving more than any previous year.
The People’s Choice Award was interactive, and attendees were able to choose their favorite throughout the evening, ultimately agreeing that Sentry Insurance was
Mary Romolino and Michael Flaherty of Acme Nerd Games introduced the attendees to “Dane Changers,” a turn-based, educational game where players “spend
resources” through giving, advocating and volunteering to improve the lives of families in Dane County. Dane Changers was shared at more than 300 company
kickoffs and played more than 500 times.
Flaherty shared, “The development of Dane Changers was a true collaboration — United Way staff supplied all of the facts and figures within the impact scenarios
and player choices. And our job, besides making sure it functioned properly, was to make it engaging and fun, too.”
Rajesh Rajaraman, a volunteer on United Way’s Affordable Housing Fund Committee and board of directors, shared that the community has invested $119,000 in the
Affordable Housing Fund. “These investments are used to help close the funding gap for affordable housing projects. As you are aware, there are close to 100 Dane
County families that are acutely homeless, which means they are living in places like shelters, cars and on the street.”
Those families include Monicka and Johnny, who were able to move into housing that the Community Development Authority made available in 2016 for a year.
Working with the United Way, The Road Home Dane County and other non-profit partners, they were able to give a jump start to Monicka and Johnny. Monicka took
the stage, following a video of her story, escorted by her youngest daughter.
Monicka shared that she had secured employment after taking classes at another partner agency, the Urban League of Greater Madison, which partners with the
United Way on the HIRE Initiative. She and her family had finally made their way off the waiting list for housing assistance and had moved into a new home and her
children were thriving.
Monicka was embraced by United Way CEO Renee Moe who shared a final thought, “We are all in this together — the families working toward stability, the donors
who invest in them, the partner agencies who facilitate, and the community that ultimately thrives when we all work together.”
The employer groups that were there, along with volunteers and donors were able to intersect with those they helped and celebrate the work that the United Way of
Dane County facilitates on behalf of all of us. When we lift those who are struggling, our whole community will thrive.