“Celebration of Service: A CommUNITY United” award dinner on April 19th raised close to $136,000 with over 450 attendees!

United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region raised close to $136,000 to continue its fight for the health, education and financial stability of residents in Dutchess and Orange counties at the “Celebration of Service: A CommUNITY United” award dinner on Wednesday, April 19th at Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor. Over 450 community members attended the event that recognized key members of the Hudson Valley community, including volunteers, donors, community partners, and sponsors as well as long-time volunteer and community leader, Steven E. Howell, the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Leadership Award.

“Every year we honor those people who make it possible for United Way to support key community programs that enhance the lives of our children, families and elders,” said Jeannie Montano, President & CEO of United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region. “This year, during the event we highlighted a new program to help area veterans, called MISSION UNITED™. Thanks to community support of United Way, we were able to positively impact almost 125,000 individuals in our community last year. Our annual celebration, “A CommUNITY United” recognizes the key individuals who push the needle forward and who have helped raise the almost $2.5 million that we will reinvest in the community this coming year.”

Orange & Rockland Utilities was the Platinum Event Sponsor and Poughkeepsie Journal Media was the Gold Media Sponsor. There were four Silver Event Sponsors – IBM Corporation, Merrill Lynch, Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, and RBT CPAs, LLP for a total of 43 event sponsors and supporters.

“All the money raised from this event will get poured back into the local community helping children and families in need. I am grateful to all our event sponsors for believing in the work that we do,” stated Rachel Johnson, United Way’s Vice President of Resource Development. “You often hear people say, ‘We couldn't do what we do without you’ but it is so true. The things we do, the lives we change, would only be dreams without our supporters.”

The program opened with a reception that included a nonprofit showcase highlighting 21 area nonprofit partners as well as a silent auction. The Marist Army ROTC Color Guard posted the colors as Sakima Brown, an Iraq war veteran and the first African American female from New York to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point, sang the National Anthem, opening the dinner program. Denise Doring VanBuren, Vice President of Public Relations for Central Hudson, returned as the very popular emcee. Program highlights included a Mission Moment by Greenwood Lake resident and US Navy veteran Robert R. Fisher, which helped introduce United Way’s new MISSION UNITED™ initiative for area veterans.

The program concluded with the presentation of the 2017 Distinguished Leadership Award to RBT CPAs, LLP partner and longtime United Way volunteer Steven E. Howell, CPA, DABFA. For the past 22 years, Steve Howell has been a key volunteer and supporter of United Way’s work in the community, serving as a board member, chair, and now immediate past board chair.

“Steve is a dedicated volunteer and a leader in our community,” stated Barry Rothfeld, Chairman of United Way’s Board of Directors. “He makes a real difference in people’s lives, both professionally and through his innumerable volunteer activities in our community.”

“With UNITY as the theme of tonight’s event I want to emphasize that Unity involves YOU,” exclaimed honoree Steven Howell during his speech. He continued, “We invite you to ‘Come Unify’ with the United Way. YOU are important. YOU are the community. It is essential that each one of us take action. That we all realize how important it is, to be, leaders in our community.”

Every year, United Way honors organizations, who through employee and corporate support, contribute to United Way’s annual Campaign for the Common Good. This year’s Top Campaign Award Winners were (in order of level of support):

·         Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp

·         IBM Corporation

·         UPS

·         C&S Wholesale Grocers

·         Enterprise Holdings

·         Orange & Rockland Utilities

The Top Employee Commitment Award went to Orange Bank & Trust Company while the Top Growth Award Winners were Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union and RBT CPAs, LLP.

In addition, organizations were recognized with Business Leadership Awards by their industry, including Adams Fairacre Farms (Retail), Anheuser-Busch-Metal Container Corporation (Manufacturing), Arlington Central School District (Schools), The Children’s Medical Group (Healthcare), Do It Best Corp (Business), Macy’s (Retail), Mental Health Association in Orange County (Nonprofit), Package Pavement (Business), Poughkeepsie Journal Media (Media), Rose & Kiernan, Inc (Insurance), Spackenkill Union Free School District (Schools), TEG Federal Credit Union (Credit Unions), Ulster Savings Bank (Banks).

United Way also recognized seven organizations with New Campaign Awards: Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, Literacy Connections of the Hudson Valley, LSI Industries, The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, Pomeroy, Takasago International Corp, and the Town of Wallkill.

Three United Way Community Partners — Catholic Charities of Orange and Sullivan, the Newburgh Armory Unity Center and the Vassar College Urban Education Initiative — received Nonprofit Partner Spotlight Awards.

United Way extends its deepest thanks to the 2017 Celebration Sponsors and Supporters who join together for the fight for the education, health and financial stability of every person in our community.  

·         Platinum Sponsor: Orange & Rockland Utilities

·         Gold Media Sponsor: Poughkeepsie Journal Media

·         Silver Sponsors: IBM Corporation, Merrill Lynch, Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, RBT CPAs, LLP

·         Bronze Sponsors: Adams Fairacre Farms, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange & Sullivan, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp., The Kaplan Family Foundations, The Poughkeepsie Galleria / Pyramid Corporation, Rose & Kiernan, Inc, Th!nk Dutchess Alliance for Business, Ulster Savings Bank

·         Veterans Sponsors: William L. DeProspo, Attorney, With You Lockets

·         Auction Sponsors: Doug & Linda Tawse, Ron & Carol Bayer

·         Parting Gift Bag Sponsor: Café Spice and Global Cuisine

·         Business Supporters: AJ Ross Creative Media , American Shoring, Inc ,Arthur DeDominicis, Certified Public Accountant & Consultants, Catania, Mahon, Milligram & Rider, PLLC, The Children’s Medical Group, Empire State Bank, EnviroTest Laboratories, Inc, Dianne Minogue, Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate, H.O. Penn, Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, LEGOLAND New York, Lighting Services Inc, M&O Sanitation, Inc, Marist College, Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Mobile Life Support Services, Inc, Orange Regional Medical Center, PC Construction Company, Precision Pipeline Solutions, Rondout Savings Bank, State University of New York at New Paltz, Thomas O. Miller & Co., Tompkins Mahopac Bank, Vassar College

“The Celebration of Service is our way of recognizing and thanking the thousands of area residents who make charitable gifts to the United Way individually and through their workplace campaigns during the Campaign for the Common Good,” said Jeannie Montano, President & CEO of United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region. “United Way could not accomplish its mission to build a stronger and healthier community without the support of these many dedicated volunteers, businesses and nonprofits. It is an honor to celebrate those who go above and beyond the call of duty in service to our community.”

For more information about United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, including volunteer opportunities, go to www.uwdor.org.