November 20, 2014

Amount includes $1 million for The HIRE Initiative to help families out of poverty

United Way of Dane County announced today it expects its 2014 campaign will raise a record $19.6 million to continue the community’s Agenda for Change, an increase of $1.6 million over last year’s campaign and $600,000 more than this year’s goal.

“We are absolutely thrilled with this year’s results, and thank the residents and businesses in our community for their incredible generosity,” said Jack Salzwedel, 2014 United Way Campaign Chair and Chairman and CEO of American Family Insurance. “With this record support, our United Way will transform lives and achieve the results we all want for our community.”

The 2014 campaign began August 14 at the Days of Caring and Campaign Kickoff, with a fundraising goal of $19 million – approximately $1 million more than was raised in 2013. The campaign results of $19.6 million include pledges already made and projected pledges for the rest of this year.

Today’s record campaign projection was announced by United Way President & CEO Leslie Ann Howard, Salzwedel and Takisha Jordan, a Madison resident who was recognized for turning her family’s hardships into triumphs through the help of United Way’s Housing First Initiative.

“This year our theme was ‘We’re doing what works, Help us do more,’ ” Salzwedel said. “With 35,000 individual and 1,000 business contributions, the United Way now has the opportunity to carry out that theme. We are so thankful the community understands and supports the United Way’s results-driven focus to address our most critical issues.”

“Our gratitude also extends to the hundreds of volunteers who contributed their time, amazing civic-minded passion and creativity to the campaign,” Salzwedel said. “This achievement could not have happened without you.”

United Way officials said the campaign’s success was due to a $600,000 increase in individual and corporate donations to the general campaign, and another $1 million contributed to The HIRE Initiative, a new Agenda for Change program that provides employment, housing and early childhood support, as well as other resources to help Dane County families out of poverty.

American Family Insurance became the first company ever to contribute more than $2 million to the campaign in one year. That amount includes American Family employee, agent and corporate giving, in addition to a one-time challenge grant of $550,000 to The HIRE Initiative.

More than 1,100 local philanthropists and volunteers, including community and business leaders, attended today’s Celebration event at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. Howard recognized the donors and the transformative changes they make possible.

“We are so excited for what we can achieve in 2015 thanks to all of you,” Howard said. “We’ll continue the important work of the Agenda for Change – the goals you told us matter most to our community – and build on the success of programs like Housing First, Born Learning and The HIRE Initiative. Together, united as one community, we can do so much more.”

United Way of Dane County depends on annual donations to create lasting solutions and measurable results in our community through the Agenda for Change. Results achieved this year include:

  • A new pilot program that helped 227 adults earn high school equivalency degrees. Of the program participants, 132 were hired in jobs, 12 completed apprenticeship programs and one received a promotion.
  • Housing and case management stabilized 2,200 families with children to reduce homelessness and ensure their children attend school.
  • 6,197 students tutored by 1,647 tutors in 56 different schools across Dane County. An independent evaluation found Schools of Hope to be successful in closing gaps in student achievement.

Companies were recognized at today’s event in various giving categories and innovative commitment to the 2014 campaign. (See below for a complete list of the companies, as well as winners of the 2014 GIVE UNITED sweepstakes.)

More on The HIRE Initiative:
The HIRE Initiative will prepare individuals who need employment with skills, education and support to match the hiring needs of local companies. Participating families will receive support in three fundamental areas: early childhood education, housing and employment. The United Way estimates in the first three years of this work, 240 individuals will secure or improve their employment and 45 families will be placed in a safe and stable home and empowered with case management, ultimately building pathways out of poverty.

Make a Gift to United Way:
Give through your workplace campaign, start a workplace campaign at your organization, visit, call (608) 246-4350, or send contributions to United Way of Dane County, PO Box 7548, Madison WI, 53707-7548. We invite every member of the Dane County community to participate!

Volunteer throughout the year:
Visit and click on “Volunteer Now” or call United Way 2-1-1 by dialing 2-1-1 to give or get help.


  • Tressa Eckhoff, a one year paid lease on a 2014 Toyota Prius
  • Mary Greuel, $5,000 TASC Cash Card
  • Philip Wang, a Green Bay Packer Experience
  • Michael Henke, family of four Schwinn Bikes

The winners were four of more than 11,000 people eligible who were automatically entered by making a first-time donation of at least $25 or increasing their donation over last year by at least $25. The GIVE UNITED Sweepstakes was made possible by American Family Insurance, TASC, UW Health, SMART Motors, Monarch Media Designs, and Schwinn.

(Companies with 100 or More Employees)

Community Impact Award:
Recognizes organizations for having the largest total giving to the campaign.

  1. American Family Insurance
  2. CUNA Mutual Group
  3. Oscar Mayer/Kraft Foods
    UFCW Local 538
  4. Alliant Energy
    IBEW Local 965
  5. Madison Gas and Electric Company
    IBEW Local 2304
    OPEIU Local 39

Community Growth Award:
Recognizes organizations that have the largest percent increase in the number of new donors.

  1. Don Miller Auto Family
  2. Staff Electric Company, Inc.
  3. Exact Sciences Corp.

Community Chest Award:
Recognizes organizations that generate the largest percentage increase in employee giving.

  1. Exact Sciences Corp.
  2. Hilton Madison Monona Terrace
  3. Don Miller Auto Family

Employee Engagement Award:
Recognizes organizations with the highest percentage of participation in their employee campaign.

  1. Zimbrick, Inc.
  2. Johnson Bank
  3. Strand Associates, Inc.

Employee Leadership Award:
Recognizes companies that have the largest average gift per employee.

  1. Baker Tilly
  2. Gilson, Inc.
  3. Foley & Lardner LLP

Red Feather Award:
Recognizes organizations that have the largest dollar increases in their employee campaigns.

  1. American Family Insurance
  2. Exact Sciences Corp.
  3. TASC

Innovation Award:
Sentry Insurance

The Innovation Award celebrates an organization’s commitment to raising awareness and resources during the campaign, increasing participation and retention, and innovating new ideas that help advance the community’s Agenda for Change. In addition to being creative, these organizations make leadership giving a priority, and implement best practices for growing a successful workplace campaign.

About Our Community’s Agenda for Change


  • Students succeed academically and graduate from high school, regardless of race.
  • Children are cared for and have fun as they become prepared for school.


  • There is a decrease in family homelessness.
  • There is a reduction in violence toward individuals and families.


  • People’s health issues are identified and treated early.
  • Seniors and people with disabilities are able to stay in their homes.

United Way engages our community mobilizes volunteers and strengthens local nonprofits to achieve measurable results and change lives.

About United Way of Dane County

United Way of Dane County is addressing the underlying causes of community issues through our community’s Agenda for Change—six goals focused on three priority areas of Education, Safety and Health that our community identified as most critical to changing lives and strengthening Dane County. Through strategic partnerships and collaborative work, we are achieving measurable results toward making our community better educated, safer, and healthier. United Way provides organizations and individuals the opportunity to give, advocate, and volunteer to change the human condition in Dane County.