The United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties’ (UWCCMC) 2015 campaign, which kicks off Aug. 2, features a change from the ordinary on the local level as the Champaign County campaign will be chaired by not one individual or even by a couple, but by the Donahoes, an Urbana family of five.
Andrew and Amy (Nesbit) Donahoe, both Urbana High School graduates, along with their three children, Marah, 11, Will, 9, and Brody, 7, have been heavily involved in the United Way over the years, which made the family an attractive option when it came to selecting who would head up this year’s county campaign.
“The Donahoes are very active and engaged in all facets in Champaign County. Not only are they busy professionals, but as parents of three active children, they are deeply involved in the schools and youth activities,” said Kerry Pedraza, executive director of UWCCMC. “We are grateful that they have always supported United Way at a leadership level and have both served as volunteers in many capacities. The Donahoe family truly represent what it means to ‘Live United.’”
Mrs. Donahoe, who serves as the director of hiring and employer services at the Greater Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, said she and her husband were both “humbled” when Pedraza asked them to be co-chairs for Champaign County.
“We believe in the United Way organization, and we have a big heart for our community,” she said. “Growing up and living in Urbana has allowed us to grow a lot of great relationships in the community. We would love to see United Way have a stronger presence in the Champaign County community, and we hope to help make that happen.”
Mrs. Donahoe added that involving her kids in the United Way has allowed her and her husband to teach their children about the struggles many people face and that “sometimes people need a little bit of a hand.”
The Donahoes have been Leadership Giving donors (yearly donations of $1,000 or more) for nearly a decade. Mr. Donahoe, who works at KTH Parts in St. Paris as manager of administration, said practical reasons make giving to the United Way “an easy choice” for him and his family.
“Amy and I know that every dollar raised in Champaign County stays in Champaign County to make our community healthier and stronger,” he said.
Leading the charge
As the United Way campaign co-chairs for Champaign County, Pedraza said, the Donahoes will be responsible for helping create an overall strategy to achieve the county’s campaign goal for 2015, which has yet to be established.
“The chairs have a highly visible role at corporate and community events, and they work hard to broaden our donor base, cultivate relationships and help United Way staff engage new companies and individuals to meet ever-changing and expanding needs,” she said. “Campaign chairs are chosen because they have always been strong volunteers, advocates and donors of United Way. They are typically the ‘doers’ in our community and surround themselves with people who are ‘doers’ also.”
Mrs. Donahoe said the key to a successful 2015 campaign is “awareness.”
“We hope to see businesses, as well as government agencies, be open to conducting a campaign in their workplace,” she said. “This allows their employees to have a choice in participating.”