Our Outstanding Volunteers

Thursday, April 26, 2018

2017 Wes Urch

From left to right: Laurie Butz (United Way Fox Cities Board Chair), Sue VandenBroek (Wes Urch Volunteer Service Award Recipient), Peter Kelly (President and CEO at United Way Fox Cities), Julie Merritt (Wes Urch Volunteer Service Award Recipient).

Contributor: Peter C. Kelly, President and CEO at United Way Fox Cities

Earlier this week, at our Annual Report to the Community, we recognized two individuals for their years of volunteerism helping us fulfill our mission of building a stronger, more caring community for everyone. Sue VandenBroek and Julie Merritt received the Wes Urch Volunteer Service Award, named in honor of Wes Urch, who was the first executive director of the Neenah-Menasha Community Chest and remained a very active community volunteer after retirement.

Sue VandenBroek: The work of the volunteers in our Impact Areas is often not understood. These are the individuals who review the LIFE study for unmet needs or growing trends, set priorities for funding, and measure the outcomes of the work. Then, every two years, Impact Area volunteers make extremely difficult decisions on where to invest the money generously donated by the community.

Sue joined our Children & Youth Impact Area in 2006 and has chaired their work since 2012. She has also served on numerous ad hoc committees as well as chairing the Community Readiness Committee, our granting committee, for three years. Jenni Eickelberg, a former colleague at work and a fellow volunteer on the Impact Area states, “Whether it’s for work or for volunteering to help our community be a better place, Sue VandenBroek is an amazing leader. Her leadership style has a way of getting others to listen, get motivated, and get to work.”
Julie Merritt: Julie has been a volunteer for United Way Fox Cities for at least 20 years. For the last ten years, Julie has organized Kimberly-Clark's employee auction to raise money for the United Way campaign. Like all good ideas, there are many more “moving parts” than we ever realize. Julie sources outdated or discontinued Kimberly-Clark product and other items, figures out where to warehouse the material, arranges transportation and distribution, creates and monitors the website, and tracks all the finances.
Over the past 10 years the auction has raised over 4 million dollars! As Sandy Drexler, Vice President of Resource Development says, “This has been a labor of love for Julie and has required a tremendous amount of work outside of her regular responsibilities. The auctions alone raised more than $500,000 the last several years and would be our fourth largest campaign, were it not part of Kimberly-Clark's campaign. Julie has had a substantial impact on our ability to serve one in every three people in our community.”

To all of our volunteers: We want to thank our nearly 300 volunteers who give more than 5,000 hours each year and lend their time, talent, and voice to support United Way Fox Cities! We couldn't do our work without you.