United Way honors 94 nominees at the annual Community Volunteer Awards

Ninety-four nominees were recognized for their outstanding efforts to improve their community at this year’s United Way Community Volunteer Awards. Eleven awards were presented to individuals, groups, businesses and organizations for having the greatest impact in our community and, making Dane County the very best it can be.

A panel of community volunteers had the difficult task of selecting the award recipients. “United Way understands the valuable work volunteers provide in our community. The nominees represented over 850 volunteers who gave nearly 68,000 hours of service last year. The monetary value of this time is $1,500,000 million in our community.” said Leslie Ann Howard, United Way of Dane County President and CEO, “By providing so many hours of support and serving in so many roles within organizations our community has become better educated, safer and healthier.” Hosts Derrell Connor from Hemb Insurance and WIBA radio personality and Amber Noggle and Greg Jeschke, WKOW Channel 27, presented the awards at The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, Friday, May 1.

The Goodman Gemstone Youth Award was awarded to seventeen year-old Angie Newman who has been volunteering since the young age of 4 in the areas of Education, Income and Health. She dedicates her time and talent to being the co-chair of the Middleton High School’s Relay for Life. For the last two years, she has been recruiting volunteers, fundraising, event planning, leading peers, and so much more. Angie is also a board member of the Middleton Kiwanis Club, committee chair for her school’s student council, a member of the Global Outreach Club, an active member of National Honors Society and an intern for her schools “Cardinal Pride” PBIS organization. Outside of school, Angie occasionally volunteers for Porchlight by preparing and serving meals at Grace Episcopal Church in downtown Madison. Newman received a $1,000 scholarship and $1,000 to be donated to the charity of her choosing.

This year’s Mike McKinney Award (named for the long-time Madison newscaster, volunteer, mentor and Community Volunteer Awards emcee who passed away in 2006) went to Corinda Rainey-Moore. Rainey-Moore was recognized for her dedication to empowering youth in our community. Corinda is the Vice President of the Urban League Young Professionals. Mrs. Rainey-Moore volunteers and takes the lead in countless organizations in Dane County. Corinda received $1,000 to be donated to the charity for which she chooses.

Over 600 people attended this unique event. The Community Volunteer Awards were generously presented by CUNA Mutual Group and WKOW Channel 27, sponsored by Dean & St. Mary’s and Physicians Plus; with award sponsorship by the Business Volunteer Network, Dane County Administrators of Volunteer Services, and the Irwin D. and Robert A. Goodman Foundation.

United Way Community Volunteer Awards is an opportunity to showcase the benefits volunteers makes in our community from volunteer involvement. Leading by example, the nominees and award recipients encourage more people to engage in their community. Volunteerism is up in Dane County, but more volunteers are needed to help solve our community’s most pressing issues identified within our Agenda for Change. Anyone interested in joining these amazing volunteers in making an impact in our community can contact the United Way Volunteer Center at 608-246-4380 or online at VolunteerYourTime.org


Business Volunteer Network Award
American Family Insurance has been volunteering within the community for 40 years. Throughout this time American Family has worked with countless organizations including United Way. American Family focuses its philanthropy on basic human needs, youth and education, health and arts and culture. They have made a firm commitment to environmental stewardship, working to make sure to responsibly build, grow and develop business that does not negatively affect tomorrow. Through its leadership to its employees, American Family Insurance has dedicated itself to supporting and serving people and organizations in the community, around the state, and throughout the country.

Community Volunteer Youth Award
Eighteen year old Alex Solache has been growing his volunteer duties by coaching youths in the Millennium Soccer Club and interacting with very diverse groups of kids. Solach has helped to enrich the lives of the young people he coaches by following the club’s motto: “Building Community through Soccer.” Tom Grogg, who nominated Alex, says, “In my 14-year tenure as the coordinator of the Lincoln program, Alex is clearly one of the very best volunteers I have ever had.”

Community Volunteer Award
Fred Newmann has been volunteering with Habitat for Humanity of Dane County for 14 years. During that time Fred has helped build over 50 new homes, volunteers weekly with a deconstruction crew to salvage materials, volunteers at Habitat ReStores, and serves as an Ambassador and Dream Team member to help raise awareness of the need for affordable housing in Dane County. Amy Good, who nominated him, says, “Fred’s work makes very tangible changes in our community. He is literally helping families escape poverty by helping them build their homes.”

Community Volunteer Award
Tami Miller provides a valuable and important service at Friends of the State Street Agency. Tami is a liaison with churches, businesses, and the homeless community working to find them housing, food and the daily necessities to ease their burden. Throughout her two years volunteering with the Friends of the State Street Agency, Tami has become a recognized face in the community as a friend, mentor and to some a valued family member. Tami’s nominator, Suzi Radtke, states, “Tami’s work gives hope to each individual life that she touch’s along with helping better the community. The organization she began has grown tenfold and now is helping individuals acclimate and function in a community that they had thought had long forgotten or no longer cared about them.”

Distinguished Service Award – Outstanding Leadership
Jim Jenkins has been volunteering with RSVP of Dane County since 2003. Throughout that time Jim has dedicated over 8,000 hours to giving back to the program and community. Award nominator Jan Karst says, “Jim is definitely an inspiration and a leader in our community! As busy as he is, he is always ready to help when called upon. He does not sit back and wait for others to take on an important task. He leads the way and gently persuades others to join him. He uses his life skills and generations of experience to improve and protect the lives of residents in this community nationwide and helps to train others to do the same.”

Distinguished Service Award
Betty Oakley has provided services to the Braille Library & Transcribing Services, Inc. for 35 years. Betty takes the time to transcribe numerous books of all types so that braille readers can have access to novels, cookbooks, handcrafts and other materials. Because of her patience, Betty has been able to train dozens of other students to transcribe as well. Even when the students get frustrated with the material, Betty calmly encourages them to become as successful as they can be. Her nominator Aaron Konkol said, “Betty is one of a few leaders of our group who has the talent, and has taken the time, to teach the braille course to many aspiring braillists.”

Distinguished Service Award
The Urban League of Greater Madison Young Professionals are all about empowering youth, more specifically, youth of color. The goal of the organization is to position young leaders to establish greater Madison as the innovative capitol of the Midwest, as well as ensure Dane County becomes the best place in the Midwest to live, work, lead and achieve. Through logging more than 4,000 hours since the organization was founded in 2011, the Urban League of Greater Madison Young Professionals have been able to create another and strong voice for young leaders in our community.

Distinguished Service Award – Lifetime Achievement
Ralph Pfeiffer has been volunteering for 26 years with the Goodman Community Center and has no sign of stopping. During his quarter century of work, Ralph has primarily contributed to working the weekly food pantry at the Goodman Community Center. Aside from the food pantry, Ralph has grown partnerships with the Dane County Juvenile Shelter Home. No matter what Ralph is working on, he does so with a smile on his face and greets everyone he encounters. His nominator Kate Katzban-Beren said, “Ralph’s commitment to individual in our community struggling with food insecurity makes a very real difference. The individuals and families he works with each week leave our pantry with bags of nutritious food and at least one weight lifted from their shoulders.”

Distinguished Service Award – Outstanding Nonprofit
RSVP of Dane County has been an active organization for 43 years recruiting and engaging older adults in meaningful volunteer service. RSVP volunteers participate and engage volunteers in effective and meaningful ways in countless opportunities and community events in Dane County year round. Nominator Alison Koelsch says “RSVP works closely with many community organizations and has developed close ties with many groups, including Senior Centers, the VA and related veterans groups, Schools of Hope/VASH (Housing and Urban Development/VA Supportive Housing), Porchlight, SAIL (Supporting Independent Active Lives), etc. Many organizations request services or volunteers. High priority is given to requests that serve the elderly or children and youth in need.”

Honorary Community Volunteer Awards
Sal Carranza, Enis Ragland, Fabiola Hamdan and Henry Gaylord have all played major volunteer roles in the Dane County Community. At United Way of Dane County, each of them have served on boards, councils and delegations. Outside of United way they have done a lot of work in our community in the areas of education, community development, neighborhood empowerment and youth development. Collectively, these four leaders have been working in the areas of Education, Income and Health by striving for diversity acceptance and helping to create pathways out of poverty.