Our traditional fundraising drive is in full swing here for United Way, and as I write this, I see that Halloween is only a few days away!  My daughter can’t wait to put on her costume and transform into a “sassy samurai”.

Over the last 48 hours or so, I judged 11 batches of chili at Corn Belt Electric to help kick-off their workplace campaign, I’ve thanked Leadership Givers ($500 or more annually) at Heartland Bank and Trust during a lunch presentation, presented at the Normal Rotary Club, spoke to the Leadership Team at Advocate BroMenn, and discussed local issues with the Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce at their retreat.

While it’s been a whirlwind, you could say that in some respects, I’ve put on a different costume for each event (in some cases literally).  Each audience needs a slightly different message.  For one, you’re trying to inspire them and explain why they should consider a donation to United Way.  To another, you’re thanking them for generous support.  And to yet another, you’re explaining the need to transform your organization in profound ways in order to best meet the evolving needs of our community.

As I reflected on these various presentations and speeches, I consider two things.  I’ve been blessed with a comfort and ease with public speaking, a gift I’m thankful for, and each one of them has one common thread:

It’s about our community.

The volunteers, advocates, and donors that sponsored, coordinated, and contributed to each of these opportunities do so out of a spirit of community.  Each one of them cares about their community, just as I do.  When I dress up as Harry Potter at AFNI (see the pics for yourself further down in the newsletter), I do so out of a sense of community.  AFNI’s theme “Helping is Magic” is a powerful reminder of what we can do as a community when we put the interests of the greater good above our own.

We can create magic in our community when we work together!

Halloween can be a time of magic for many children, and as your sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, grandsons and granddaughters, dress up next week and feel for at least one night that maybe they’re Wonder Woman or Harry Potter, let’s not forget that we, too, still have the potential to create magic in someone’s life.

As the calendar turns to November, and the Halloween candy starts to dwindle at your house, don’t forget that a contribution to United Way at this time of year can create magic here in McLean County.