The bad news is, the state of Illinois is so fiscally messed up that it fails to pay the nonprofit agencies that provide vital services to our most at-risk residents in a timely manner if it pays at all.

The good news is, the kind residents of McHenry County can step up and do their part to help.

The United Way of Greater McHenry County kicked off its 2016-17 fundraising campaign Wednesday with an aggressive goal of raising about $150,000 more than it did last year, when it collected a little more than $1 million.

These generous donations are used to help fund more than 50 programs provided by 27 partner agencies, including the Salvation Army, Family Health Partnership Clinic, Turning Point, Pioneer Center for Human Services and many more.

If every working resident of McHenry County donated just $1 a week, United Way would raise almost $8 million. Imagine the good we could do in our own communities for such a small sacrifice.

At Wednesday’s kickoff event, Eugeniya Titkina of Brake Parts Inc. in McHenry shared how Brake Parts and its employees raised a whopping $170,000 last year for the United Way. Brake Parts matches its employees’ personal donations dollar for dollar, thus doubling their contribution.

Many local businesses partner with United Way by hosting internal campaigns as Brake Parts does. Many more still do not, however.

If you own or manage a local business and want to give back to the community, consider starting a United Way campaign.

If you’re a business owner or individual who wants to contribute or learn more, call 815-363-1377 or visit

I’m a volunteer member of the United Way’s board of directors, so I’m more than willing to answer questions or help get you started as well.

Please do what you can for the good of our friends, neighbors and communities.

• Dan McCaleb is executive editor of Northwest Herald. Email him at Follow him on Twitter @Dan_McCaleb.