94th Annual Meeting & Celebration

United Way of Champaign County's 94th Annual Meeting, held February 22, 2018, was a celebration of all that is good about our community. Over 300 guests United to celebrate achievements in volunteerism, support our transition of volunteer leadership, and learn how they can join the fight to address our community's most pressing needs.

Spirit of Caring Award

The Spirit of Caring award is the highest honor presented by United Way of Champaign County. The award recipients exemplify the highest ideals of community service and commitment to United Way and the Champaign County community.

Northwestern Mutual

At Northwestern Mutual they believe in giving back and serving the community. Whether it is helping people find financial security or helping those in need, it is a driving force behind the mission, vision, and values of their organization. On a corporate level they support Alex’s Lemonade Stand, raising funds to support research for pediatric cancer. Their Central Illinois interns spend a portion of their internship experience creating lemonade stand campaigns in the local communities to raise funds for this initiative.

In addition, their workplace campaign is Putting Families First. Every time they help a family take the first step toward their financial security, Brian McClure makes a donation to United Way specifically for United Way's Emergency Shelter for Families. As a team, they raised $5,000 in 2017 for this initiative. Volunteering is also an important part of their culture and team members are encouraged to give their time to community events. They also have a strong partnership with Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Northwestern Mutal is the Presenting Sponsor for United Way's Power of the Puse because they believe in raising women up and creating opportunities for women to maximize their potential.  They were with us from the very beginning of this event and have helped us raise over $150,000 in the first three years!  

Jim Turpin

Jim has emceed countless Illini Sports banquets, FCA banquets, and the First Christian Church Community Dinners, Ice Cream & Independence Concerts at the Virginia Theatre, Safe House Benefits, and most recently co-emceed the opening of the long-awaited Kickapoo Rail Trail with his daughter, Jayne. He's hosted hundreds of community-theater and high school theatre groups on his radio show and has been a special guest star for numerous productions, and continues to be a major Ebertfest advocate.

Jim has served on many boards in both Champaign-Urbana and Springfield.   Jim would also advocate for many local non-profits, using his circles of influence on the air and off to encourage people to give back to those in need.  He never hesitated to share that he and his wife are United Way donors, boldly stating his confidence in us, to his listening audience. 

Jim has made a difference in thousands of people’s lives, a voice whose legacy started with doing play-by-play during Sandlot baseball games as a youngster in Olney.  He has dedicated his life to radio, pursuing excellence each and every day by remaining curious, and listening with grace, knowledge and the goal to make the community a better place.  

Million Dollar Circle of Caring

The Million Dollar Circle of Caring is a milestone award presented when a United Way corporate partner reaches $1 million in cumulative employee and corporate gifts. Christie Clinic became the 7th company to be inducted into the Million Dollar Circle. They join fellow Circle members Busey, Carle, the City of Champaign, Kraft-Heinz, Jeld-Wen, and The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

 Difference Makers

The Difference Maker award is presented annually to individuals and groups that collaborate with United Way to make an impact. Austin Hogue was presented with this award for his help with the installation of two Born Learning Trails.  Austin called on his co-workers and folks in the business to lend a hand. Our future looks bright with people like Austin leading the way.  

New Covenant Fellowship Church, First Presbyterian Church and Faith United Methodist Church also recieved the Difference Maker award. Their ability to mobilize their congregations, raise money, and  help homeless men, for the Men’s Winter Emergency Shelter, has been amazing.    Whether it was stepping up to become the administrator of the CU Men’s Shelter staff, housing and transporting the men, or becoming our permanent sight – they all have made a significant difference for our community and the lives of those men.  

John and Jane Seiler were the final awardees for their can-do attitude and willingness to help United Way with office projects whenever we call.

Transitioning Leadership

A large portion of Annual Meeting is dedicated to honoring outgoing volunteer leadership and the election of new leaders. Our Outgoing Board Chair, Randy Green, welcomed our new Board Chair, Beth Auterman. We honored two board members whose terms expired: Brian Holding and Sheri McKiernan. Additionally, we welcomed three new Board Members, Ben Brunworth, Carrie Eisenmenger and Diane Ruedi.

 See our full Board of Directors here.

All in attendance gave a big round of applause to Stacey Cole and Justin Spring, our 2016 and 2017 Campaign Chairs. They joyfully took up the campaign chair duties for two consecutive years, helping United Way raise nearly $6.5 million! They passed the torch to father-daughter duo Jim Turpin and Jayne DeLuce. Jim and Jayne are thrilled to take on campaign chair duties in 2018.


A large group of Emerging Community Leaders attended the event. Emerging Community Leaders is a United Way program that brings together young professionals to impact Education, Health and Financial Stability. In 12 years, 500 young professionals have graduated from this program and are impacting the community in big ways. We're thrilled that the next generation of leaders is so eager to step up and make an impact in our community.