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United Way of Ventura County Begins Campaign Year with Successful Spirit Awards Gala

United Way of Ventura County raised a record net profit of $75,000 at its recently rebranded Spirit Awards Gala. 

“We are thrilled by the outstanding result,” said United Way President and Ceo Eric Harrison, “and this sets the pace of our campaigns that kicks off next month.” 

Held Aug. 25, 2016, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, the 12th annual Spirit Awards Gala honored Hank Lacayo, United Way board member, with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

In addition to Lacayo’s award, past United Way Chairman Jessie E. Hawkins was awarded the Milton M. Teague Award for Outstanding Volunteerism, Jennifer Harkey received the Douglas Shively Award for Outstanding Community Impact and Wells Fargo received the Roy Pinkerton Award for being the Top Corporate Citizenship.

The event was an incredible evening of local, statewide and national leaders coming together to celebrate in Lacayo’s honor.

Special remarks were made by past United Way board members, Supervisor Kathy Long, Simi Valley Mayor Bob Huber and Richard Rush.

During the VIP reception in the Overlook Room, Rep. Julia Brownley spoke about her interactions with Lacayo throughout the years.

“When I think of Ventura County, I think of Hank Lacayo, and when I think of our country, I think of Hank Lacayo,” Brownley said.

The evening proceeded with dinner and two powerful videos, one portraying Hank and his political growth in the community and the other United Way’s programs and how the community can help and  bridge our community together.

United Way of Ventura County was established in 1945. The organization works to advance the common good by focusing on the areas of education, income and health, considered the building blocks for a good life.

United Way’s goal is to create long-lasting changes that prevent problems from happening in the first place. For more information about United Way’s new Live United strategy, visit

Vicki Raven represents United Way of Ventura County.


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