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Column

Arnold: Collaboration is the name of the game for United Way of Greater McHenry County

Heather Arnold
Heather Arnold

Two years ago in May, I had the privilege of joining the United Way of Greater McHenry County team.

I had spent most of my professional career out of the county, which, as some of you know, is quite different from working in our local community.

Although we’ve all heard it before, McHenry County truly has a small-town feel with a big heart. I am continually reminded of that each day I go to work, and every time I interact with our supporters, donors, volunteers and partners.

Since coming on board, it is evident that McHenry County and the collaboration that happens within it is paramount. I have never felt more of a connection and sense of community than I do today.

From those in the nonprofit world seeking to partner, share resources and exchange information to those in the corporate world, private sector and small-business arena who want to be a part of something greater and make this community a better place to reside.

All of these entities know that working together makes the most sense and truly is beneficial in making McHenry County stand out.

Case in point: United Way of Greater McHenry County recently had been looking at ways to share our office space.

We own a nice-sized building that houses our staff and volunteers. We moved into the building at Prime Parkway in McHenry in April 1994, and under the leadership of the previous executive director, John O’Hagan, the building was paid off four years later, in 1998.

Ultimately, that decision was made to ensure that our local United Way was being a good steward of our donor dollars and that more of the money we raised from our campaign went to the residents in McHenry County.

Fast forward 20 years later, and under the leadership of our current board of directors and executive director, Carole Peters, we were looking to be good stewards of this valuable asset as well as help another nonprofit who could really benefit from using our space while allowing it the opportunity to expand its staff and services to better serve its clients.

After almost a year of planning, coordinating and finding generous donors to assist us with this project, we are excited that the CARE Center of Northwest Center Against Sexual Assault, one of our 30 partner agencies, can make the United Way of Greater McHenry County its new home.

Once we had constructed a privacy wall in the building with the help of generous donors and volunteers, CARE Center moved into its new space in February.

This provides the CARE Center three counseling rooms, an office for medical and legal advocacy staff, prevention education and a volunteer coordinator. This is a significant increase in space from its previous location in Crystal Lake.

“Survivors of rape and sexual abuse live and work in every community in McHenry County, and with the opening of the new office, our goal is to help these survivors and significant others access our services close to home,” said Patricia Nolan, CARE Center services manager. “We are proud to offer free counseling for adults and children survivors and significant others; legal and medical advocacy services; 24-hour hotline coverage; and prevention education.

“We are grateful for the unwavering support and spirit of collaboration from the United Way to help make our new office space a reality, and for their continued support of our mission to end sexual violence.”

We are proud to share that the revenue generated through this shared space partnership agreement will infuse additional funds into United Way of Greater McHenry County’s annual campaign.

We especially would like to thank those in our community who have so graciously helped us make this project possible and donated time, materials or treasure to help us give back to McHenry County!

Special thanks to Arnold Electric Services Inc., Associated Electrical Contractors LLC, Ehardt Construction, Foundation Fire Protection, In Sync Systems, Korte Architecture, Marengo Signs, True Value Manufacturing, Woodstock Lumber, Woolf Distributing, Pat Arnold and Butch Schnulle.

• Heather Arnold is marketing manager of the United Way of Greater McHenry County. For questions about United Way or to learn how to contribute, email her at harnold@uwmchenry.org.

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