SDI boosts United Way - Company's gift tops $400,000

SDI boosts United Way - Company's gift tops $400,000


AUBURN — Liz Emenhiser twice began to report Steel Dynamics’ giving at Friday’s United Way campaign breakfast at the YMCA of DeKalb County.

“I’m always blown away with how generous….,” Emenhiser began in telling of her SDI co-workers’ giving, but her emotions would not let the rest of the words come out.

Her campaign co-chair, Brandi Baughman, stepped up to report an amazing $401,000 has been made in pledges to date by SDI, with 88 percent reported, to the cheers and standing ovation of nearly 50 supporters.

With last year’s donations of $369,000, Baughman said the company set a 2017 campaign goal of $370,000.

“Each year, we are blown away by the results announced at this breakfast,” said United Way Resource Coordinator Brooke Wyant. “We are very fortunate to live among such generous community partners.”

Many agencies and businesses in DeKalb County kicked off their workplace campaigns with company meetings, fun giveaways, activities and competitions in August and will wrap up at the end of November.

Friday, DeKalb Molded Plastics reported $12,500 in giving so far. Serenity House collected $2,014; and Garrett State Bank has more than $3,200 collected midway in its campaign. The Filling Station Youth Center of Butler collected $661 during an all-nighter event earlier this month. Other completed campaigns have been turned into the United Way office but were not announced Friday morning.

“We are grateful for all of our donors and everyone who came out to this event, because without all of them, we could not do what we do,” Wyant said.

Campaign chair Zach Lightner, an attorney at the law firm of Mefford, Weber & Blythe and deputy prosecutor for DeKalb County, dressed as the Disney “Toy Story” superhero character Buzz Lightyear to pump up the crowd — “to infinity and beyond.”

Lightner shared his passion for the work the 17 United Way partner agencies provide in the community as seen through his eyes with the prosecutor’s office. He also noted that the need to provide resources in other areas is continually assessed, including for children at risk.

United Way of DeKalb County, with the help of its board members and community volunteers, launched a new strategic plan in July 2017 that will guide the organization over the next three years. The plan has allowed the organization to develop a plan that focuses on donors. This year’s campaign theme is titled “Great Donors Bring Great Outcomes” to create a great community for all. Through this plan, an aggressive campaign goal of $1 million is set for year 2020.

United Way Director Amanda Davis thanked the YMCA and Alliance Industries for hosting and preparing Friday’s breakfast.

Friday was the only report breakfast scheduled this year. A holiday open house is planned Thursday, Dec. 7 from 4-6 p.m. at the Waterloo Depot.

Anyone who has questions about the United Way or wishes to participate or become a donor may call the office at 927-0995. Executive Director Amanda Davis may be reached at, or Resource Coordinator Brooke Wyant may be reached at