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United Way Blackhawk Region launched its annual community campaign at a breakfast held at the Eclipse Center on Wednesday.

Close to 450 United Way supporters filled the venue to join in the excitement of the kickoff and celebrate another record-breaking Day of Caring.

United Way’s annual Day of Caring will surpass 2016 numbers with 895 volunteers, 160 corporate teams from 43 companies, slated to complete 100 projects at 42 local nonprofit organizations. Organizers of the event thanked Beth Gliebe, the volunteer coordinator.

Champions of United Way’s 2016 campaign, Jim Agate, Bill and Linda Lock, and Ron and Barb Mallon were on hand to turn over the reigns to the local community leaders championing this year’s campaign.

"These four community leaders know we all win when our region is healthy, children are ready to succeed in school and life, and families are financially stable. They lead by example, as proud donors to United Way, each of their respective organizations conduct a United Way workplace campaign, and all currently volunteer or previously served on United Way committees and/or the Board of Directors," said Lock.

Al Hulick, City Administrator for the City of Milton, Mark Freitag, City Manager of Janesville, Ted Rehl, Mayor of South Beloit, and Lori Curtis Luther, Beloit City Manager, were announced as Champions for United Way’s 2017 community campaign.

Hulick spoke about United Way’s goals for increasing the number of workplace campaigns in the region, improving the percentage of employee participation at each company and adding more Leadership Circle donors to the campaign. He said, "If we’re going to change lives it will require us all working together as a team."

Each year, United Way Blackhawk Region hosts an opportunity for community members to pledge gifts supporting United Way’s work. As set by the board of directors, the 2017 community campaign goal is $2.5 million.

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