FAIRFIELD — United Way of Mid-Maine’s annual fundraising campaign celebration, The Mad Hatter Gala, has grown into a full-blown gala and auction, providing additional funds to the campaign, while recognizing business community supporters.

The event raised more than $8,000, with several thousand dollars’ worth of gifts and time in kind, the evening was a great success, according to a news release from the organization.

UWMM Board Chair Cheryl Flewelling welcomed the crowd, noting “The 2016 campaign has been an exciting one, and while the campaign doesn’t end tonight, we want to celebrate the successes of our giving community. Tonight, we celebrate our donors, of which there are many. We also celebrate the recipients of the generous donations that our community makes. These recipients include children, who may not have a steady food source; elderly people, who may not have reliable heat; and our other neighbors, who need a little assistance getting access to resources. The generous campaign contributions that have been made, and the proceeds from tonight’s auction items, all directly benefit our community,” according to the release.

Awards were presented to local businesses who hold workplace campaigns for UWMM. The Diamond Club Award, acknowledging outstanding leadership in support of United Way of Mid-Maine, went to Kennebec Savings Bank, accepted by President and CEO Andrew Silsby. The George R. Keller Award for outstanding service in a company campaign was presented to MaineGeneral Health, and was accepted by Chuck Hays, president and CEO.

Campaign Excellence recognitions were awarded to Sappi Fine Paper, Inland Hospital, Skowhegan Hannaford and Elanco.

Kennebec Valley Community College Fairfield campus provided the event location, with dinner and Mad Hatter-themed desserts cooked up by their in-house catering program, and served by KVCC Culinary program students. Many guests dressed in theme, adding to the festiveness of the occasion. Emceed by George Coleman (as the White Rabbit) and Marie Cormier (as the Queen of Hearts), this event enhanced awareness and support for the many programs and initiatives funded by UWMM, including the Youth Homelessness Initiative, and Keeping Mid-Maine Warm.

Event sponsors were Kennebec Savings Bank, Kennebec Valley Community College, and O’Brien’s Event Center.

This year’s United Way of Mid-Maine fundraising campaign was supported by local leaders in the community serving on the Campaign Cabinet led by co-chairs Danny and Lisa Burgess; Leadership Circle chair, Darlene Ratte; and Cabinet members Alan Duplessis, Barb Covey, Buffy Higgins, Deb LaVoie, Ken LaVoie, Elizabeth Fortin, George Coleman, Hope Pendexter, Ida Earle, Karin Weston, Kendall Bliss, Kerry Smart, Lynne Dailey, and Tracy Warren.

Donations to this year’s campaign will help UWMM continue to reach the 1 in 3 people in mid-Maine annually who are reached by programs funded by the caring power of the community through contributions to UWMM.

For more information, call the UWMM office at 873-0686 or visit www.uwmm.org.

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