Do you know someone who’s doing great volunteer work in Dane County? Now is the time to nominate that stellar volunteer or group of volunteers and businesses for United Way of Dane County’s 2017 Community Volunteer Awards, the largest local volunteer recognition event of its kind.

Nominations are due by this Friday, Feb. 24. Winners will be announced on May 2 at the Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club.

Corinda Rainey-Moore was the 2015 recipient of the United Way’s Mike McKinney Award, named for the late long-time Madison newscaster, volunteer, mentor and Community Volunteer Awards emcee who passed away in 2006. Rainey-Moore was recognized for her dedication to empowering youth in the Madison community. Rainey-Moore was the former vice president and interim president of the Urban League Young Professionals and volunteers and takes the lead in countless organizations in Dane County.
“I was shocked when I learned that I was getting the Mike McKinney Award. I was shocked. I was grateful. I was humbled,” Rainey-Moore tells Madison365. “To receive the award from his mom [Barbara McKinney], who I actually knew from her work in the community … that made it even better.”

United Way Community Volunteer Awards will be given to individuals and groups who go above and beyond in our community. The Community Volunteer Awards also recognize nonprofits and businesses that best engage volunteers and employees. Award recipients will receive $250 to $1,000 for their service, which will be donated to a nonprofit of their choice.

“I chose to donate my $1,000 to the Urban League of Greater Madison because I felt that they would use the money in the capacity to do what Mike [McKinney] stood for,” Rainey-Moore says. “A lot of Mike’s beliefs and the work that he did in his life were similar to my beliefs and values. To give it to the Urban League, who are really making a difference in this community and empowering people, was very important to me.”

“Volunteering can change lives. I really believe that we can change people’s lives if we can change the direction and change people’s trajectory,” Rainey-Moore adds, “and that’s why I believe that volunteering is so important. If you can do that for one individual, think about what that does for a whole family.”

Volunteering is so personal to Rainey-Moore because they played such an important part in her own life.

“I’ve had people step in when my mom had to work and couldn’t be there. I had people that took me in and served as my surrogate dad because I didn’t have a dad in my life, but I had men who stepped up in the role and did the role well,” Rainey-Moore says. “For me, when we talk about volunteering, I think we need to put our actions where our mouth is. If we want to help people and we want to see people succeed, I think that it’s important that people see people who look like them and who have actually gone through the same things.”

Corinda Rainey-Moore talks to Greg Jeschke, anchorperson for WKOW 27, after winning her Mike McKinney community service award.
Corinda Rainey-Moore talks to Greg Jeschke, anchorperson for WKOW 27, after winning her Mike McKinney community service award.

One of the greatest inspirations for people, Rainey-Moore adds, is seeing someone who has gone through what you are going through who has become successful making them believe that they, too, can do it and that it’s not that hard.

“The biggest thing that really helps people change is relationships,” she says. “If you build good relationships with people, they will really live up to your expectations because they don’t want to let you down.”

The United Way will also be honoring a person under the age of 18 with the Goodman Gemstone Youth Award which honors the legacy of Bob and Irwin Goodman, who epitomized the philanthropic spirit of Dane County. One youth under age 18 will be recognized for outstanding volunteer leadership and hands-on work in our community with a $1,000 scholarship and $1,000 to be sent to a qualifying nonprofit of the winner’s choice. A separate youth award will also be presented in the same age group with an award of $500 scholarship and $500 for the qualifying nonprofit of their choice.

“One of the things that I’ve realized being on some of these nominating committees is that people often assume that people have been nominated for certain awards and the reality is that this is not the case,” Rainey-Moore says. “People have not been nominated when you think they have. So if you are considering on nominating somebody for a Community Volunteer Award, go ahead and do it. I think that there is a lot of great work out there in the Madison community being done and it is great to be recognized. There are a lot of silent people out there who are quietly doing great work behind the scenes. Those are the people to nominate.”

For information on nominating somebody for a United Way community Volunteer Award, click here.