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Thank You Event

Sioux Empire United Way announced the results of the 2017 Campaign at the annual Thank You Event. This year's effort raised $10,370,395 on a goal of $10,364,041.

“Meeting our campaign goal is exciting, but even more exciting is the work our agencies will do with the funds,” said Jay Huizenga, 2017 Campaign Chair. “Assisting in establishing permanent safe housing for families, providing food for children for the weekend, and caring for seniors with dementia are just a few examples of the services that will be available because of this successful campaign.”

Several awards and businesses were also recognized at the event:

David Birkeland Memorial Award
This award is given to the business or professional leader who most exemplifies David Birkeland’s involvement in United Way and our community.  A tribute to David reads: His smile invited conversation, his manner put strangers at ease, his style engendered trust and his humor broke down barriers.  Dave was a servant leader whose example was an expression of his spirit. 

Miles Beacom
Miles has filled many roles in Sioux Empire United Way: Campaign Volunteer, Corporate Gifts Campaigner and Division Chair, Campaign Cabinet Volunteer, and Alexis de Tocqueville Society member and campaigner. Miles' extensive involvement in the community far exceeds his commitment with United Way. As the Chief Executive Officer of PREMIER Bankcard since 1992, he has also served in a variety of other volunteer roles in our community, including: South Dakota Hall of Fame Board of Director, Catholic Diocese for Eastern South Dakota Board of Director, Lamb Radio Board of Director, Eastbank Land Co. Board of Director, Dakota State University Foundation Board of Director, USD Beacom School of Business Advisory Board, and Sanford International Board. Additionally, he and his wife Lisa recently helped to create a new Avera transitional unit known as Beacom Transitional Care Unit to help families who are facing specialized medical needs.







Larry Oppold Memorial Award

This award is given to a human services professional for outstanding dedication to his or her work and for demonstrating the qualities that Larry believed in during his life.  Larry was a thoughtful, caring, and compassionate person who acted as an advocate for those in need. 

Shireen Ranschau
Shireen recently retired from Sioux Falls Housing & Redevelopment Commission after a career that spanned more than 40 years, including two decades as the organization’s executive director. During Shireen’s 20 years as director, Sioux Falls Housing’s rental assistance programs expanded from 5 programs to 9. These new programs serve difficult populations. Additionally, Sioux Falls Housing’s instrumentality, Affordable Housing Solutions, initiated the Neighborhood Revitalization Program, which has built 68 quality new homes for ownership by low-income households. Through Affordable Housing Solutions, Shireen also oversaw the development of 7 multi-family apartment complexes, creating 69 additional affordable housing units. In addition to her work, Shireen has also volunteered her time through a variety of community boards: Sioux Empire Housing Partnership, Sioux Falls Homeless Coalition, Volunteers of America, Lutheran Social Services, Family Visitation Center, and The Multi-Cultural Center.








Helen E. (Oppold) Blair Memorial Award
This award is to be presented to an individual whose work in human services, law enforcement, education, or church based fields towards child abuse prevention and early intervention is exemplary.

Carolynn Stavenger
Carolynn is an active community member, who has volunteered at both Children’s Inn and Sioux Falls Area CASA for many years. As a CASA volunteer, Carolynn assists with more complex cases, working with parents, child protection, the courts, lawyers, and others. Carolynn serves as the children’s voice during the process, ensuring they feel heard. At Children’s Inn, Carolynn has volunteered for 13 years as a receptionist. She is the first to assist those who call in their time of crisis and is there to welcome those visiting. Carolynn has devoted her life to volunteering and advocating for children and raising awareness about child abuse and the services available to help those impacted by abuse.








Heart Club Philanthropist Award
This award is given to a Heart Club member or company who has demonstrated active involvement and has also encouraged or influenced others to contribute.

CCC Information Services, Inc.
CCC Information Services has run an increasingly successful campaign year after year. Two years ago, like several companies here, they added a small committee to assist their Employee Campaign Manager. The added twist was their ECM and committee members each picked a United Way funded agency they were passionate about, and took time from their work day to attend a tour and learn more. Those 10 committee members were then tasked with holding small group meetings where they educated their coworkers about United Way and the funded agency they had witnessed in action. The strategy resulted in a 35% increase in giving two years ago. A new committee of 10 employees were brought in this year and the campaign saw another 85% increase in employee giving and their Heart Club membership tripled from 9 to 35.






Brent Weiler Bulldog Award
Awarded to a Team 2 Sioux Empire United Way volunteer who has shown determination and persistence in working with small businesses to achieve campaign success.

Jon Coyne
Jon has been a passionate, relentless advocate for Sioux Empire United Way for 10 years, most recently as chair of our Medium Firms C Division. Jon had the privilege of working, campaigning, and debating with Brent. It was in fact Brent who introduced Jon to United Way through Wells Fargo. Jon consistently shares the United Way story with everyone that will listen from entry level team members to CEOs and Presidents of major corporations and everyone in between. Jon has a funny, entertaining, and easy going attitude which allows him to get past the most stringent gate keepers and skeptics. The passion he has to motivate his team, produce results, and never take no for an answer is what makes him one of the most effective campaigners and volunteers for United Way. This year Jon’s Medium Firms C division saw a 15% increase in giving. Jon’s energy and passion was the same for $50 gifts as it was for those of $5,000, setting a great example for his team. Jon truly lives the mantra that every dollar counts.


Rich Garry Rookie of the Year Award
This award is given to a first-time Sioux Empire United Way volunteer who has stepped up and made a tremendous impact in their role, helping to fulfill the mission of Sioux Empire United Way.

John Sites and Deb Hendrix
John and Deb put a lot of time and effort into their first year as campaign leaders within the Sheriff, Jail and Emergency Management department of Minnehaha County. This included personal meetings with local businesses in search of possible raffle basket items, organizing a chili and hot dog feed and a bake sale, as well as organizing a candy guessing game. All of this extra effort added up to a 7% increase in their overall campaign. While the choice to volunteer might have been decided for them, they took on the task with a giving and cheerful attitude.








Volunteer of the Year Award - This award is given to the volunteer who selflessly and generously gives of his or her time and talents to help fulfill the mission of the Sioux Empire United Way.

Monie Siemonsma
Our Community Impact Division volunteers are tasked with ensuring that our community’s needs are being met and that donor dollars are allocated appropriately. Monie has served within a variety of roles within the division over the past 8 years. In 2008, Monie started her volunteer efforts as a member of the Health & Healing impact team. The following year, Monie served on a special committee focused on improving our funded agency application and process. From 2010 to 2014, Monie chaired the Health & Healing team. During this time, Monie volunteered additional time to work with various agencies to help them provide more clarity in their request for United Way funding. Monie moved into the Community Impact Division Chair role in 2015 and also took a place on our Board of Directors. Under her leadership, the division has made bold decisions to ensure the most significant needs in our community are being met. In the past year alone, over $1.3 million was shifted within our Funded Agency decisions in order for United Way funds to have the greatest impact in our community. 







Business of the Year Award - This award is given to the company or organization that has greatly benefited Sioux Empire United Way through its generosity and/or its employee’s involvement.  Businesses are broken down into three categories that correlate with their employee #s: 1-100 employees, 101-500 employees, and 500+ employees.

1-100 Employees: NorthWestern Energy
NorthWestern Energy has 40 employees, and all 40 are contributors. 28 of their employees are Heart Club members. Northwestern Energy’s Vice President & CFO, Brian Bird, is a member of our Alexis de Tocqueville Society. He has also completed six years as a community impact volunteer and is on his seventh year as a corporate gifts campaigner. In addition to Brian’s volunteerism, they also provided a Loaned Executive to the 2017 Campaign, Crystal Lail. Northwestern Energy’s employees are generous. Among all 700 companies who participate in our campaign, NorthWestern Energy is #2 in per capita giving. That generosity is also at the corporate level with a 50% match of employee giving.





101-500 Employees: The First National Bank in Sioux Falls
The First National Bank in Sioux Falls has won this award in 1999 and 2012. This year was another exceptional campaign: 4.6% increase in employee giving, 106 Heart Club members, a 7% increase in Heart Club dollars, 84% employee participation, and an average gift of $485. The First National Bank in Sioux Falls provides a 100% corporate match of employee giving. That means that this year’s campaign increased in total by $9,000! Over the past 5 years, their campaign has grown 22.5% Their employees are also generous with their time. Chairman and CEO Bill Baker makes corporate calls, Eric Haugland leads a General Business team, and Deb Thompson coordinates a group of volunteers who collect coins from Elementary schools for the Coins for Kids program.





500+ Employees: MetaBank
MetaBank’s results from this year’s campaign include: 8% increase in employee giving, 71% employee participation, and an average gift of $281. On the corporate side, their corporate gift has doubled to $10,000 since 2012. Part of their success is due to recognizing employees of all giving levels. A unique raffle drawing system provides givers of any amount an opportunity to enter to win a variety of raffle drawings. MetaBank was also an early and successful partner in our online pledging system. They have used it since the 2013 campaign with great success and are willing to share their success stories with other companies.






Previous Award Winners