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Giving Back

“We are responsible for community improvement,” Rick Karcher, former LaSalle Bristol CEO and longtime United Way volunteer’s words resonate as he speaks about United Way initiatives.  Mr. Karcher was the recipient of the Live United award for exemplifying what it means to “live united.” He was praised for being an important advocate of United Way.  Rick helped create the annual Cardboard Boat Race fundraiser that has been an integral piece of United Way’s financial backing, including over $40,000 raised last year alone.

LaSalle was given a Hero award by United Way, due in part to our contributions to the Cardboard Boat Race.  Other hero awards were given to companies such as Fairmont, Grand Design, Jayco, and Skyline. Heartland, Keystone RV, Skyline, and Thor were all presented a Top 10 award from United Way for raising over $1 million dollars for families in Elkhart County. We are proud to work with these companies daily.

United Way offers three panels to assist the needs of the community; Education, Health, and Income.  Some initiatives that they are working with currently include a reading program with area schools, developing quality and low-cost child care and a very important program called ALICE. Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed is a program designed for the number of families or individuals that work but are still unable to afford basic necessities such as housing, child care, health care, transportation or even food.  This need-based program is to help the over 25% of Elkhart County families that struggle living paycheck to paycheck.  United Way depends on the generosity of companies such as LaSalle Bristol and Keystone, who runs one of the strongest United Way campaigns locally through fundraising and most commonly their payroll deduction campaign.

United Way is always looking for help, if you wish to volunteer please contact Keith Sarber, Vice President of Community Impact, or 574.295.1650.  Another way to get involved is United Way’s Young Professionals group.  This group meets the last Thursday of every month and brainstorms ways to improve any current volunteer or fundraising program, such as the Cardboard Boat Race (the topic of the next meeting) or how to step into a new philanthropic venture. If interested, please email Matt Puro,

With the culture of community improvement instilled in us from Mr. Karcher, we are responsible to continue that generosity.