United Way’s 80th Anniversary Celebration concluded with spectacular event with more than 450 community leaders in attendance raising over $140,000!

On Wednesday, April 25th, United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region threw itself a birthday party and more than 450 joined in the celebration! For the fourth year, United Way has presented a dinner event at the conclusion of its annual workplace campaign that allows supporters, business and nonprofit executives to meet, mingle and learn about more about the work of United Way. 

“We knew our 80thAnniversary was going to be a blast, but to have more than 450 people join us to mark this occasion was amazing,” exclaimed Jeannie Montano, President & CEO of United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region. “Our Celebration is also one of our main fundraising events of the year and, together with the Communty Breakfast held in September, raised $192,000 for our 80thAnniversary year. This will help us continue to expand our reach that last year helped 166,122 in Dutchess and Orange counties!”

80th Anniversary Celebration 2018 - Nicole Puckette Photography

This year, in celebration of 80 years, United Way honored a longtime volunteer, advocate and community leader, Denise Doring VanBuren with its Distinguished Leadership Award. Denise joins past honorees Steve Lant (2015), Dr. Daniel Aronzon (2016) and Steven Howell (2017) in receiving this award. 

In a tribute video, created with Marist College’s Media Center, friends, family members and colleagues of Denise VanBuren recognized her for her devotion to the Hudson Valley, its history and inhabitants, both through her career at Central Hudson and through her volunteer work. Mike Mosher, Central Hudson’s CEO, said of Denise that, “She’s just been everywhere in the Hudson Valley. I don’t think there’s anybody that doesn’t know Denise VanBuren.”

In addition to the Distinguished Leadership Award, the top six workplace campaigns were recognized for their strong support of United Way’s work in the community. Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation was the number one top campaign, with contributions from its employees totaling $232,000 this year. The other top campaigns, in order of contribution level, were: IBM, UPS, C&S Wholesale Grocers, RBT CPAs, LLP and Orange & Rockland Utilities. Together these six organizations and their employees contributed $661,735 to United Way’s 80thAnniversary workplace campaign.

United Way presented creative campaign awards to six organizations. Adams Fairacre Farms received the Teamwork Award for its campaign that engaged its three stores and employees in Dutchess and Orange Counties. Dutchess County Government organized Penny Wars and received the Creating Change Award. Orange Bank & Trust Company received the Most Creative Campaign Award that included turning down the temperature in campaign presentations to show what it would be like to live without heat during winter months. The Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie received the Out of the Box Campaign for their energetic campaign that included a Halloween party. Rhinebeck Bank took home the Community Engagement Award, in part for their new partnership with United Way in presenting Financial Literacy workshops. The Rookie of the Year Award went to Pine Bush Central School District whose new campaign raised almost $9,000 this year. 

The evening opened with a cocktail reception that featured a cider rosé, the event’s signature drink provided by Walden’s Angry Orchard . Guests enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere, visited some of United Way’s nonprofit partners participating in the nonprofit showcase, and bid on the more than 70 silent auction packages and birthday bonanza items featuring 147 items donated to United Way for the auction. During the dinner program, a new component was added with a live auction of four fun packages. Bidding was encouraged by guest auctioneer, JWill of KISSFM. His iHeart Radio colleagues, Joe Daily and Michelle Taylor of Q92FM served as the 80thAnniversary Celebration program’s masters of ceremony and filled the evening with fun. Millbrook Winery and Vineyards donated the wine served with the dinner that finished with birthday cake to celebrate the occasion.

Representing one of the more than 50 programs that United Way supported this year through its Community Fund, Tina Lee of National Alliance of Mental Illness recounted how important United Way’s funding was to her program Ending the Silence. The funding allowed it to expand to new schools – and directly helped several students that reported they were contemplating suicide. 

Three nonprofit partner organizations were honored with the annual Nonprofit Spotlight Award. Catholic Charities Community Services of Dutchess County was recognized for its work with individuals in times of crisis and helping them become financially stable. Big Brothers Big Sisters was lauded for its work with pairing youth with mentors and helping the next generation succeed. Dutchess Outreach was commended for its work to bring healthy, affordable and even free food to the Poughkeepsie area community it serves as well as for its work stabilizing people in times of crisis.

“When you see so many people come together for a common cause, you go home feeling so energized and hopeful that we will positively impact all the lives of those in need,” remarked United Way’s Rachel Johnson, Vice President of Resource Development. “We are grateful to all our sponsors whose contributions are invaluable to our organization.”

The key sponsors for the 80thAnniversary Celebration 2018 are: Orange and Rockland Utilities (Platinum), Poughkeepsie Journal (Platinum Media), Central Hudson Gas & Electric Company, IBM and Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union (Silver), Adams Fairacre Farms, Bonura Hospitality Group, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, Catholic Charities Community Services of Dutchess County, Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange and Sullivan, Health Quest, The William and Elaine Kaplan Family Private Foundation, Lakeland Bank, Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages, M & O Sanitation, McHoul Funeral Home, Inc., Orange Bank & Trust Company, Precision Pipeline Solutions, RBT CPAs, Th!nk Dutchess and With You Lockets (Bronze). 

The Auction Sponsor is D’Arcangelo & Co. LLP; the Student Performance Sponsor is Merrill Lynch; the Centerpiece Sponsor is TOPS Friendly Market; the Parting Gift Sponsor is Minuteman Press. 

To learn more about the work of United Way, its events, volunteer opportunities and to see photosand videosfrom this year’s 80thAnniversary Celebration, please visit www.uwdor.org.