United Way message of day: Be generous

Do you ever get the feeling you are in the right place at the right time or that something was just meant to be? Lately, I find myself truly believing that the answer will come to me as long as I listen and wait for it, whether I’m in a happy place, those hard, questionable times or just when I haven’t a clue what to do.

Prime example: I had been thinking for awhile about how to approach my next article for the Northwest Herald. Nothing seemed just right, until this past weekend. I was visiting Door County and stopped by a local pottery shop to browse. I was chatting with the potter at the counter and I noticed a thin, colorful book displayed on a shelf nearby: "The Sign Fairy" by Jill Harding.

“Have you seen the Good Thoughts sign just up the road?” the potter asked. I shook my head no. “Well, it is worth taking a drive up the way to look. The lady who wrote this book made a sign for her yard and every few days or so she hangs a new good thought for inspiration.”

Curious, I hopped in my car and meandered up the road to see just what my Good Thought for the day was going to be. My smile erupted the minute my eyes registered the words on the red, barn wood sign – "Be Generous". I had waited and listened and here was my answer. What could be more fitting?

Generosity is vital when working in a nonprofit. United Way of Greater McHenry County ended its 2015-2016 campaign in June, astounded by the help and kindness of our local community throughout the past year.

As a new member of the team, I have been thrilled to see the list of those who are graciously contributing. Through corporate and private gifts, as well as employee contributions, the response has been heartwarming. This year, UWGMC championed 48 specific programs in the arena of health, independence and education for 27 local partner agencies. One in three local people benefited from these wonderful programs during this time; an astounding number that is telling in so many ways.

It is with great pleasure that we recognize our top local corporate and employee donors who made a contribution of $5,000 or more to United Way of Greater McHenry County’s annual campaign. They were instrumental in making our year a success and took the opportunity to "Be Generous."

Allendale

Aptar

Baxter & Woodman, Inc.

Benjamin F. Edwards & Co.

Brake Parts, Inc.

Charter Dura-Bar

Coilcraft

Corporate Disk Company

Crystal Lake Bank and Trust

Curran Group, Inc.

Dow Chemical Company

First Midwest Bank

First National Bank

Follett School Solutions

Golden Eagle Community Bank

Home State Bank

Huntsman

Keystone Display

McHenry County College

McHenry County Government Center

Pauly Toyota

PolyOne Corporation

Sage Products

Shaw Media

Snap-On Tools

TC Industries, Inc.

The Harvard State Bank

True Value Central Ship

True Value Distribution Center

True Value Manufacturing

UniCarriers Americas Corporation

Werner Co.

Woodstock Community School District 200

It is my sincerest hope this list inspires others to recognize what amazing things these companies and employees are doing for the county and to encourage their own workplace to get involved as well.

Needless to say, I raced back to the pottery store, grabbed a copy of the book and brought it to the register. The potter raised her eyebrows at me and smiled.

“So what was the good thought of the day?” she asked, ringing me up.

“Be Generous.” I said. “This book is going right on my desk.”

“Perfect,” she replied. If she only knew the half of it.

• 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