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BELOIT - United Way Blackhawk Region's annual community campaign kicked off this morning and the champions of the 2017 community campaign were recognized at a breakfast at the Eclipse Center to recognize supporters and announce the campaign goal.

Close to 450 United Way supporters filled the venue to join in the excitement of the kickoff, enjoy a baseball broadcast-themed program and celebrate another record-breaking Day of Caring.

United Way's annual Day of Caring this year surpasses 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 for executing another record-breaking and meaningful day of volunteerism.

The 2017 Community Campaign goal is $2.5 million.

"There are only eight Pacesetter companies that have finished and reported their results, so at this early juncture we only have $184,000 pledged," said United Way Blackhawk Region President and CEO Mary Fanning-Penny prior to the event.

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.

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

Al 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.

To learn how to give, advocate or volunteer for this year's United Way campaign, visit LiveUnitedBR.org.

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