Thank You Event

2022 Thank You Event

Sioux Empire United Way celebrated a successful fundraising campaign at their annual Thank You Event.

The 2022 Campaign total is $10,057,454 on a goal of $ 10,050,622.

Seven hundred area businesses and more than 21,000 individual givers supported Sioux Empire United Way’s 2022 Campaign. The dollars raised during this year’s campaign will fund 85 different programs that help children, vulnerable adults and people in crisis.

“This campaign was fun, in that we returned to some of the activities that we missed in the previous year. Chili feeds, pie-in-the-face, hearing from our funded agencies in-person, and celebrating over lunch. At the same time, this has not always been an easy campaign. Our volunteers had to work hard to overcome challenges and exceed this year’s campaign,” said Brian Bird, Volunteer Campaign Chair.

Awards presented at this year's event will include:

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.

Luke TibbettsPresented to: Luke Tibbetts
Luke started as a United Way volunteer in 2007 in the Campaigner role in Team 2. In the years since, he’s taken on more responsibility, first as a Section Chair, then as Division Chair in General Business, which he has led since 2013. Luke’s division consists of 21 volunteers and more than 80 accounts. This year his team secured a 12% increase in giving, adding 9 new small business campaigns. Luke’s leadership ensures no dollar goes uncollected, and has led the General Business team to increased giving for the last 5 years.




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.

Troy HoltPresented to: Troy Holt
Giving at a Heart Club level isn’t just defined by the amount, but also by the ambassadorship and advocacy that these leadership givers so often take on. Displaying plaques, wearing logos of their commitment, and encouraging others to join them in giving are just a few examples of how our Heart Club members are our cheerleaders. This is all true of Troy. A Heart Club giver since 2005, he’s served on both the Community Impact Division and Campaign Division, currently in Corporate Gifts. His determination and hard work has led to increased giving at more businesses than is possible to tally. That also extends to the campaign at Five Star Call Centers, with his business partners Joel and Ray, together they lead a successful internal campaign encouraging others to support their community through United Way.




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.

Nancy TapkenPresented to: Nancy Tapken
Nancy not only stepped up, but jumped in with both feet and never looked back. She tackled a new role in the Education sector, fearless and confident in cold calls. Nancy was goal oriented, taking on 19 accounts, calling to get in the door, personally presenting at rallies, and staying on deadline. She met personally with 8 private schools, organized a first time Coins for Kids campaign in West Central, and led a first-time employee rally at Tea Area. Her effort resulted in a 16% increase in giving. Through it all, Nancy’s motivation was to make our community a better place by reaching more people through Sioux Empire United Way.




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.

Krista MayPresented to: Krista May
Krista is completing her second and final year of a two-year term as the Emerging Leaders Steering Committee Chair. When Krista accepted the role, she knew her tasks were to lead the committee in event planning, membership recruitment, and marketing efforts. She did not know, that the pandemic would hit 1 week after the start of her term, problematic for a team built on in-person group volunteer activities. Krista led the Steering Committee in navigating the group to safely stay engaged in 2020. They maintained a membership count of 75 and evolved activities to include a variety of options: online, at-home, outdoor, in-person small group, and more. She assisted in boosting marketing efforts with a community school supply drive, a new Facebook page, and updated membership emails. Emerging Leaders volunteers donated over 230 hours of time in 2020 and 281 hours in 2021.




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.

Julie BeckerPresented to: Julie Becker
For Julie, in her role as the Director of St. Francis House, every day is a new day. A new day to help individuals who struggle. A new day to raise awareness on gaps in services. A new day to partner with another person, business, or agency to make lives better for others. Julie, together with the Board and community successfully completed the Homelessness to Hope Capital Campaign, building a new facility to better serve the community. As the pandemic hit, Julie ensured their guests and staff stayed safe and healthy, while also assisting other organizations impacted by the pandemic. Every day, Julie shows her love and passion for helping people.




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.

Leslie CrevierPresented to: Leslie Crevier
Leslie has made it her professional vocation to be there for children in their time of need, first with Child Protection Services and now with Child’s Voice. She is a tireless advocate for children in abusive situations. In her role with Child Protection Services, she put her heart and soul into each case and family she assisted. She has a unique ability to interview and connect with children, and she is quick to develop trust with those she helps. Leslie recently transitioned to Child’s Voice as a Child Forensic Interviewer, working with children who have experienced trauma. She is caring, detailed, and the consummate professional in the role. She has changed the course of children’s lives for the better.




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.

Catherine ForschPresented to: Catherine Forsch
From a career in marketing and sales, Catherine transitioned into roles in non-profit organizations, including EmBe, Lions Foundation, and currently as CEO of the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation. One thing was consistent, Catherine’s continued support, along with her husband Tim, of Sioux Empire United Way. Together, they have been Heart Club members since 1996. Catherine’s involvement as a United Way volunteer has evolved over the years, serving as ECM and Campaigner, Catherine has been a steady hand on the Campaign Cabinet since 2012, first as Chair of the Non-Profit Division and as Team Chair of the Public Sector since 2015. Catherine’s empathy is huge. She understands that most people have had bumps in their journey. She is truly kind, and takes time to get to know people and their story. Catherine is a true servant leader, both in her community and in her professional life.




Business of the Year Award - This award is given to the company or organization that has greatly benefited United Way through its generosity and/or its employees’ involvement. Three awards may be presented each year.

Diamond MowersPresented to: Diamond Mowers
Following up their amazing Rookie year was no small task, but the Diamond Mowers team built on their first campaign to continue their support of United Way. Five different employee rallies accommodated a variety of schedules and locations. Company sponsored incentives and owner and management involvement were important components in a successful campaign. The result was a 38% increase in giving, a 92% increase in number of givers, and 18 Heart Club members.






Furniture Mart USAPresented to: Furniture Mart USA
After seeing a less active campaign in the past years, Furniture Mart USA, Carpet One, and Unclaimed Freight were determined to hit the reset button. Employee Campaign Manager Julia Guzman and new leadership support led to an updated campaign plan and lofty goals. For the entire month of November, they focused on in-person rallies at 4 locations. Drawings and giveaways kept the momentum going. The end result was a 48% increase in giving and 182% increase in number of givers!






Sanford HealthPresented to: Sanford Health
At a time that the healthcare system employees had been pushed beyond their imagination, the campaign committee knew they needed to be creative in sharing the United Way message. A goal to increase participation led to a campaign that touched on all departments and employees of Sanford Health. From in-person activities to online opportunities, revamped campaign activities were a hit. The result? A 5% increase in giving and a 5% increase in the number of givers.





Creative Rally/People's Choice Award - The Creative Rally/People's Choice award recipient will be selected through a public voting process on our social media channels in the week of the Thank You Event. Pies in the face? Zoom dance parties? A return to a chili cook-off? Which creative campaigns will be recognized this year? Check out our Facebook page to see more.

Thank you to our event supporters: Best Western Plus Ramkota, All Day Café, Leonardo's Café, Minnehaha Country Club, and Phillips Avenue Diner.

The event video is available to view through Facebook for those were unable to attend in-person.

Please view our previous award winners