Family affair: Great Rivers United Way breaks new ground for campaign co-chairs

United Way Crew 3
Joe and Tracy Endrizzi and their four youngest children, from left --- Joey, 16; Audrey, 16; Charlie, 10, and Tia, 18 --- are taking on the Great Rivers United Way campaign role as a family. Not pictured is the Endrizzis' eldest, 33-year-old Meghan, who lives in the Twin Cities. Also pictured is Mabel, who turns 2 next month. (United Way photo by Sandy Helfrich Photography)

ONALASKA, Wis. (WKBT) — Great Rivers United Way is making its 2021-2022 campaign a family affair, tapping an entire household for the first time instead of just one or two people to chair the annual fundraising effort.
Incoming GRUW board chairman Alex Lueck announced during the organization’s annual meeting video that the Onalaska-based organization is opting for a “Campaign Crew.” Dr. Joe and Tracy Endrizzi of La Crosse, along with their four youngest children — Joey, 16; Audrey, 16; Charlie, 10, and Tia, 18 — will lead the campaign. The couple’s eldest, Meghan, 33, lives in the Twin Cities.

Joe is a physician in Gundersen Health System’s Urology Department and Tracy is co-owner of co-owner of artPOP, a small business in central La Crosse.

Choosing a family to co-chair a campaign is becoming common for United Ways nationally, said Adrianne Olson, GRUW’s marketing director. Also rising in popularity is enlisting entire businesses, she said.

“We are excited to have a familial unit represent our 2021-22 campaign,” Olson said. “The Endrizzis are long-time, leadership-level donors. They have a great grasp on what it is United Way does, and they are passionate advocates for supporting the little and lesser-known programs that work together to tackle tough community issues.”

United Way officials consider the Endrizzi “Campaign Crew”  “as a means of inspiring philanthropy in other local families,” Olson said. “In order for nonprofit programs and the community members who have come to rely on them to thrive, future generations must be taught the importance of giving — whether it be time or treasure.”

GRUW convened its annual meeting virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The goal for the ’21-22 campaign will be set in the fall, as is the custom, Olson said.
Despite the pandemic’s wreaking havoc with GRUW’s periodic fundraising events throughout the last season, as it did with most activities, the campaign raised just over $1.74 million.
The campaign invests in 52 local programs facilitated by 26 certified United Way partner agencies.
Including Emergency Response funds, Great Rivers United Way raised more than $3 million in 2020-21, a record for the organization.