2023 Awards and Recognition

Uniting to Thrive Award 

The Uniting to Thrive Company Award is presented to a company that supports United Way year-round, by actively running an employee campaign and encouraging their employees to volunteer. Greenheck Group was awarded the 2023 award. 

In 2023 Greenheck Group raised $632,311 through their company campaign, which is an increase of 12% from the previous year. Greenheck Group is the only Platinum Company in the Circle of Excellence. Throughout the year the United Way Committee at Greenheck Group ran several drives to support the Community Closet and Mobile Closet including a jeans collection and a winter clothing drive. This is just a small sample of the great initiatives led by the Greenheck Group team!

Dedication to Service Award

The Dedication to Service Award goes to a person and agency that directly impacts our new mission and bold goal, UNITING TO THRIVE.
Carol Pond from the Boys & Girls Club is the 2023 recipient. Carol has been a fierce advocate for many populations in our community, but her dedication to youth rises above all. Whether it be through her work with the career fair ensuring students are set up for success, or furthering the mission of providing services to those that we serve…Carol always ensures she has her voice heard in the conversation.

Carol takes the time to have conversations, write grants, and further the limits of the service she can offer the community. Carol is currently the Grants & Outcomes Director at The Boys & Girls Club, after spending 12 years in the Wausau School District as the Career Center Coordinator.

Difference Makers Award

The 2023 Difference Makers award recipients are Cattail Organics and Red Door Family Farm
Asking small businesses to take a chance on a program that isn’t fleshed out, usually doesn’t pan out well. But because of these two, we’ve been able to drive the freshest possible product deep into our community, to those that need it most. Because of Cattail & Red Door, and their willingness to try, we’ve been able to take a program from a $10,000 investment to $96,000 and none of that would have been possible without their willingness to plant more, hire more employees, and work harder!

Advocate of the Year Award

The advocate of the year is Kelly Borchardt from Childcaring.  Advocacy is a tough job. You stand in front people, advocate for someone that isn’t you, and you hope they listen. If you’re not uncomfortable when you’re advocating for others, you’re probably not advocating correctly. For our advocate of the year award, we’re happy to recognize someone that has been in every meeting, exchanging the late-night emails, researching and sending data, all in the name of tackling the childcare issue.

Partners in Caring Award

Impact 100 Greater Wausau was awarded the 2023 Partners in Caring award. 
Impact100 has been a tremendous example of how much greater our effect can be when we work together in partnership.
Impact100 is an organization that pools the generous donations of 100 or more women throughout the community, and awards grants, the largest of which is $100,000, to the applicant who receives the most votes from members after a rigorous review process.

This year, Impact100 members chose to award us $100,000 to launch our Mobile Closet project. It would have been easy enough for the Impact100 leadership to award $100,000 and let that be the extent of their involvement, however they have continued to champion this project to their membership and the community. They have showed up and cheered us on at our ribbon cutting, invited members to donate clothing to our Community Closet, and volunteered their time to make the Mobile Closet come to life. We are so grateful to them for their support and look forward to ongoing collaboration!

Volunteer of the Year Award

Congratulations Sam Diedrich! In her role as a Vice Chair for Women United, Sam is always the first person to raise her hand when an opportunity arises. Not only is she an active and engaged participant at Women United projects and events, she also is a thoughtful leader, asking good questions and making sure the Bold Goal is always top of mind.

This year, Sam developed and launched a new Women United initiative called United We Celebrate, which will increase partnerships in the community and extend Women United’s impact even further through creative volunteer projects. This is just one example of Sam’s commitment to looking for ways to do more and to do it better.

Retired Volunteer of the Year

Congratulation Karen Reit! The Community Closet has undergone major changes this past year, but one constant through that transition has been Karen. She has showed up twice a week almost every week this year, even bringing her infant grandson with her so she doesn’t miss a shift. On Closet shopping days, Karen warmly greets guests, remembering their names and making them feel comfortable.

When sorting through donations, she makes sure we’re only giving out quality items to guests and will do whatever it takes to breathe new life into clothes that arrive in less than perfect condition. Her commitment to service is evident in everything she does, and we are thankful to have such a dedicated volunteer on our team!

Campaigner of the Year

Every great committee has a strong leader. For Festival Foods (110 S. 17th Ave, Wausau) Sara Kronebusch is that leader. Sara organized brat fry fundraisers for two store locations to raise money for United Way. She sold "United Way" t-shirts at two locations to raise money for the campaign., organized employees to volunteer in the Community Closet, attended Lunch, Learn, and Do to deepen her knowledge of issues facing our local community and facilitated a United Way presentation for store leadership.                                                                         

Carol Pasnecker Office Volunteer of the Year Award

This award is given in memory of Carol Pasnecker. A long-time volunteer who passed away in 2021. The award recipient is Lindsay Nevitt! Lindsay spends time in the United Way office on a weekly basis and handles just about any project thrown her way without batting an eye. She curates volunteer opportunities to share with the media, she sorts and organizes piles of supplies for volunteer projects, she is a whiz with data entry, and on top of all that, helps out in the Community Closet. We look forward to seeing Lindsay each week because we know when she shows up, she is ready to get things done. 

Media Partner of the Year Award

This award was presented to Midwest Communications! Every year, Midwest Communications generously sponsors our Hunger Coalition’s Turkey Trot by donating airtime for Turkey Trot commercials and in-person interviews on 95.5 WIFC and 101.9 WDEZ. That donation translates to dollars and keeps the cost of the event low so the money raised can be invested into the community.

Special Project Volunteer Award

The 2023 recipient is Target store! When it came time to move forward with combining Rebecca’s Closet and Career Closet into the new Community Closet, we knew we needed to bring in some expertise. We were working with limited space and budget, but a desire to create an experience for guests that would allow them to pick out clothes with dignity, just like they would at any retail store.

We looked to the amazing crew at Target to help us maximize our space, set up a flow that made sense, and arrange the clothes in a smart and appealing way. Not only that, but their team spent multiple days with us, moving and assembling shelving and racks and reorganizing clothes and shoes. We were blown away by how the changes made the Community Closet space feel bigger and more organized and have transformed the way we are able to serve more people with dignity. Thank you, Kathy Weden and your team at Target!

Shining Star Awards

The employees of these companies ran campaigns that have shown participation growth, leadership growth, overall dollars raised, corporate gifts, and volunteerism. These employees are true advocates for United Way.

Marathon Cheese Corporation 
Ruder Ware 
Maple Ridge Farms 
EO Johnson Business Technologies 
Northcentral Technical College 


Barb Boehm from Marathon Cheese Corporation won a $500 gift certificate to The Grand Theater.

Rory Balz from Wausau Window & Wall Systems won a $500 Festival Foods gift card.

Kristina Topness from Northcentral Technical College won a $500 Gift Certificate Kwik Trip.

Andy Chartier from Greenheck won a $500 gift card to Grebe’s.

Judy Weber from Aspirus won a $500 gift card bundle. The bundle includes $100 gift cards to Dale’s Weston Lanes, Sconni’s Alehouse & Eatery, Tine & Cellar, Patron Restaurant, and Clean Slate Coffee House.

Randy Weisenfield from Wausau Window & Wall Systems won a $500 gift card bundle. The bundle included $100 gift cards to Sam’s Pizza, Evolutions in Design, The Milk Merchant, Briq’s Soft Serve, and The Local.


The third place $1,000 winner was Jennifer Schafer from Linetec. 

The second place $3,000 Winner was Ben Graham from Wausau City government. 

The Grand Prize $7,000 winners were Steve and Donna Schmidt. Steve and Donna have generously donated the funds to United Way!