United Way of Berks County

Live United


Terry Grassley: Year-round LIVE UNITED Champion

Whether it is organizing a hot dog sale in July, posting information about United Way and our agencies in February or spearheading the annual campaign in October, Terry Lives United year-round.

He is an incredible volunteer and the heart and soul of the United Way committee at Customers.  Terry pulls together committed volunteers from throughout the bank and inspires them to come together for the good of our community.



Harry Eisenbise and Debbie Ficthorn:

Harry Eisenbise, an Engineer, and Debbie Fichthorn, a Systems Trainer, are the masterminds for the United Way campaign at WorleyParsons, Inc., and have been working collaboratively on the campaign for close to 20 years. Together, this dynamic duo, has done it all. They not only submit requests for their annual Corporate Contribution and manage the myriad details related to their e-pleding system, but they also offer a creative spin on the materials that are developed in support of their campaign. Whether it be a Godiva Chocolate bar or a homemade cookie, they take the time to visit and greet each employee with a small token to officially tell them their United Way campaign is officially kicking off. In addition, they also speak at every department meeting.

Their support of United Way extends beyond the campaign timeframe, however. They are instrumental in helping to promote volunteerism with organizations like Berks Encore and Habitat for Humanity to name only two. We are grateful for the enthusiasm that Harry and Debbie bring to the campaign, and recognize this community is better because of the support they rally through their colleagues in support of the campaign.

Kutztown Area School District Campaign Committee: LIVE UNITED Champions

KASD LIVE UNITED Champions“As soon as we heard it was United Way we knew we had to do something; United Way is near and dear to our hearts”. This is the kind of can-do attitude and spirit the Kutztown Area School District Campaign Committee has long displayed.

Beki Ziegler and Melissa Blatt, KASD campaign coordinators since 2007, keep the LIVE UNITED MESSAGE present year round and know how to make it fun! Their signature special events include 3 annual bus trips (NYC, local winery and NY winery) and back by popular demand for a second year, the “Mom-Prom”. Through this, the campaign committee never loses sight of what is important, the 1 in 4 Berks Countians who are helped each year through the work of the United Way and its partners. All special event proceeds benefit UWBC.

We thank you for bringing your LIVE UNITED enthusiasm and commitment year after year!

Bonnie Gruber LIVES UNITED

Bonnie Gruber LU Champion

Bonnie Gruber, from EnerSys, has been on the EnerSys Campaign Committee since 2007 and became the Primary Campaign Coordinator in 2011. She and her committee organize an outstanding campaign every fall, but Bonnie also makes sure to keep the LIVE UNITED spirit alive in their workplace year-round.

Bonnie was also instrumental in getting 11 tutors from the company involved in the Ready.Set.READ! initiative this past school year, with more to come this fall. She is a champion for the schools, for the students, and a real advocate all around. Congratulations to Bonnie Gruber, a LIVE UNITED CHAMPION!


Mike Reese: A Proud LIVE UNITED Champion

Mike Reese LU ChampionMike has a proud history of supporting United Way and the community.

He is a valued member of United Way’s Board of Directors. He also serves on the City of Reading’s campaign committee and supports their annual Agency Fair Day, which promotes the work of United Way and its agency partners. Without hesitation, Mike always responds with “Tell me what you need,” when he coordinates committee activities.

His community volunteer work includes helping organize Reading’s annual Labor Day Parade and as President of the Million Youth Chess Club. Additionally, he mentors kids through various programs, including the Reading School District’s 21st Century after-school program, Olivet Boys & Girls Club, Berks County Juvenile Probation Office, Reading public Library and others.

When asked why it’s important to him to support the community, he shared “Giving back to the community is my rent I pay to have a high-quality society. It is a must for me; it’s not negotiable. “.

We are pleased to recognize him as a Live United Champion.


Carolann Brightbill Puts the "United" in "LIVE UNITED"

Carolann Brightbill knows what it means to LIVE UNITED with a long history of supporting United Way of Berks County and our community.

Carolann, a Branch Manager with Fulton Bank and former Loaned Campaign Specialist, has been coordinating Fulton’s United Way of Berks County campaign efforts since 2007 and her efforts don’t stop there. She regularly attends United Way special events such as Campaign Planning Workshops and Dale Carnegie Trainings. She also served as a Top 100 Council member, participated in Community Conversations and worked with us in cooperation with United Way Worldwide on the Enhanced Workforce Model. She does this all with a quiet loyalty, never looking for recognition.

We appreciate Carolann’s continued support and her LIVE UNITED spirit!


Maxi Shirey Exemplifies "LIVE UNITED"

Maxi Shirey recognizes the importance of community involvement. As a United Way loyal contributor and a member of the campaign committee at Met-Ed, A FirstEnergy Company, she helps coordinate the company’s United Way and community activities.

She provides strong support to the annual Campaign Planning Workshops, as she ensures all of the arrangements and logistics are in place when Met-Ed hosts the series of workshops, which draws more than 60 organizations each year.

Additionally, Maxi serves on the planning committee for the annual Latino Chamber of Commerce Gala and provides support to United Way’s Blueprint for Leadership Program.

She exemplifies the Live United spirit, and we congratulate Maxi on receiving the Live United Champion Award.

Do you know a LIVE UNITED Champion? Click here to tell us about them, and don't forget to attach photos showcasing their efforts. For questions, contact Michelle Gettel at michelleg@uwberks.org.


Monica Willett Captures the "LIVE UNITED" Spirit

Monica Willett’s full-time job as a Compliance Specialist with the Berks County Intermediate Unit keeps her very busy. However, this doesn’t stop her from coordinating the United Way BCIU campaign efforts; and she does it beautifully! She and the BCIU United Way Committee work diligently to keep a year-round United Way presence and in doing so saw a 26% increase in 2012 employee giving.

Her community involvement is also evident with her volunteer work with the Reading Company Technical & Historical Society, a nonprofit which owns and operates the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum.

Her comment of “There simply aren’t enough hours in the day, but I’m not going to let the United Way campaign fall by the wayside” truly demonstrates her commitment to the LIVE UNITED spirit.

Do you know a LIVE UNITED Champion? Click here to tell us about them, and don't forget to attach photos showcasing their efforts. For questions, contact Michelle Gettel at michelleg@uwberks.org.


Irv Evans "LIVES UNITED" Year-round

Irv Evans is a man of many talents; many of which United Way and our community is fortunate to be the recipient of.

Irv has served as a Loaned Campaign Specialist (LCS) for 16 years! He works with volunteers and staff to manage workplace campaigns, as well as serves as a mentor to new LCSs. In addition, Irv has a long history of working with American Red Cross: Berks County Chapter as a health and safety services instructor, as well as volunteers with the agency’s disaster services program. He has volunteered in response to hurricanes in the Gulf region, and most recently was deployed to Florida offering assistance to those affected by Hurricane Isaac.

He is dedicated to United Way and even helps as “office handyman” when needed. He lent his considerable talents during recent months as the organization sustained storm damage last year and did anything else that was needed along the way. This work allowed United Way staff to continue its work centered on strengthening our community.

Irv shares his passion for community involvement and is a true LIVE UNITED Champion.

Do you know a LIVE UNITED Champion?  Click here to tell us about them, and don't forget to attach photos showcasing their efforts.  For questions, contact Michelle Gettel at michelleg@uwberks.org.

Zack Snyder Demonstrates LU Spirit at Camp

Submitted by Jen O'Brien, United Way Staff

Zack Snyder participated in Camp LIVE UNITED for a second year in 2012. Throughout the week, Zack was always ready to lend a hand with every activity that was conducted. He spent the time to learn as much as he could about every agency that was visited, and was willing to ask questions to learn what he didn't know. In spite of the very hot temperatures of the week, Zack worked extremely hard on every outdoor activity that we did--helping to do food distribution for needy people in Berks County, and pushing a wheelbarrow up a very steep hill over 10 times to help with a gardening project at a local elementary school(and all the time with a smile on his face). Zack truly exemplified what the Camp was all about-learning about our community and how you can be involved to make it a better place. That's why Zack is a LIVE UNITED Champion!







Give Now


Campaign Contacts

General Information:  
Kim Hiester


Sr. VP Resource Development and Major Gifts:  
Jean Morrow


Leadership Giving:  
Leslie Davidson


Major Gifts:
Angie Finney


Campaign Staff:  
Michelle Gettel, Marcelino Colon, Angie Finney, Karen McKeever, Sheila Tulli


Reverse Tours:  
Marlene Wilson


Personalized Pledge Forms and Campaign Merchandise:  
Joe Pettyjohn


General Campaign Materials and Customized Materials:  
Jessica Heil, Joe Pettyjohn, Chris Spanier


United Way graphics and Electronic Communications:  
Jessica Heil




Campaign Dates


Day of Caring & Campaign Kickoff
September 4
FirstEnergy Stadium


United Way Victory Celebration
November 20

Campaign Sponsors

Thanks to these organizations secured-to-date for their support of the 2014 campaign activities:
Capital BlueCross
Carpenter Technology Corporation
Ehrlich Pest Control
Fulton Bank
IBEW Local 743
M&T Bank
National Penn
Penske Truck Leasing Co.
Precision Medical Products, Inc.
Reading Fightin Phils
Reading Health System
Reinsel Kuntz Lesher LLP
St. Joseph Medical Center
Tompkins Financial Advisors
UGI Utilities, Inc.
VF Outlet
Visions Federal Credit Union
White Star Tours and Travel Center

The 2014 Community Leaders Challenge Match:
Colonial Oaks Foundation
Stevens & Lee/Griffin
The UGI Companies

Incentive Sponsors:
Freedom Auto Group
AAA Reading-Berks Travel
Boscov's Department Store, LLC
Redner's Warehouse Markets
VF Outlet 
Visions Federal Credit Union
Godiva Chocolatier, Inc.

Additional Support:
Dale Carnegie Training Institute
Met-Ed a FirstEnergy Company
Reading Eagle Company