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United Way of Lake County's Celebrity Server fundraiser nets a record amount, despite 'cance

An unofficial Plan C for United Way of Lake County ended up turning out quite well, all things considered.

After postponing and then canceling one of its traditional events due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the nonprofit decided to hold the fundraiser online, yielding record-setting results once again.

The organization’s 17th Annual Celebrity Server “nonevent” recently raised $66,246.

According to UWLC, the original event was expected to raise an estimated $50,000. However, the sum from 2020 saw an increase of 60 percent over the then-record $40,000 totaled last year.

“When it became clear that our postponed event date was not going to happen, our Campaign Chair Vanessa Tey Iosue, president of Burges & Burges Strategists, sprang into action leading a switch to an online raffle,” said UWLC Director of Marketing and Communications Tami Lewis.

“We also agreed that monies raised would benefit our Lake County Relief Fund, and our Celebrity Servers jumped in at the chance to help, transforming into ‘Community Servers’ and promoting the raffle and baskets each donated,” Lewis added.

Jennifer McCarty, UWLC president and CEO, said she’s “beyond grateful” for Iosue’s determination in helping the organization achieve its greatest fundraising success to date.

“I’m also thankful to our event committee, all the ‘Community Servers’ and local businesses who donated prizes and promoted the raffle, and to everyone at home who participated,” McCarty said.

“I am especially moved by the generosity of those who bought event tickets and opted to donate the funds to us as opposed to requesting refunds. We experienced the very best of our community coming together to help one another.”

All proceeds raised from the Lake County Relief Fund are being put back into the community in support of critical needs that have been brought on by the COVID-19 emergency. UWLC is providing funds on a rolling basis.

Details on how the monies have been used thus far can be found at

A complete list of winners can also be found on the UWLC website.

Lewis noted the online raffle provided a fun and easy way for people to give back from the safety of their homes.

“We had no idea how well it would be received and were thrilled with the results,” she said. “It just shows how deeply Lake County residents care for one another.”

The fundraiser was presented by The Lubrizol Corp. and sponsored by The News-Herald, Lake Health, the Lake County Captains and Lake Metroparks.

Due to the need within the community brought on by COVID-19, UWLC is continuing its efforts to raise funds for the Lake County Relief Fund.

Donations can be made in one of three ways: online at; by texting LCRelief to 44321; or by mailing a check payable to United Way of Lake County, ATT: Lake County Relief, 9285 Progress Pkwy, Mentor, OH 44060.

See the story on The News-Herald here >>

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