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Dear friends of Abilities United,
One of my favorite quotes reflects the spirit of the holiday season, “Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.” by Nobel prize-winning author, Albert Camus. 
In the six months that I have been with Abilities United, I have seen incredible generosity from all of you that will enrich our future. Your generosity was on full display at the 23rd annual Authors Luncheon in early November.  Hundreds of community members enabled us to raise a record $370,000 from the event, including $113,000 pledged during our auction. We couldn’t have done it without all the volunteers, donors, sponsors, and staff who made this possible. 
Today, as we approach the end of our United for the Future campaign, I am confident that, with your continued support, we will reach our goal of $2 million by the end of the year. Please join me in extending special thanks to all of the United for the Future donors who made this possible, and to the following campaign committee members Shirley Bob, Harry Hartzell, Stan Parry, Ellen Turbow, Elizabeth Wolf, and committee advisor, Bruce Bingham. 
The impact of your contributions is seen every day in our programs for children and adults, and their families . Among the countless examples of the impact you have is the funding of an endowed coordinator position to enhance our art program.  This has lead to increased community visibility for the artists as well as AbilitiesUnited through numerous new exhibits and art activities at Lexus of Stevens Creek, Clock Tower Café in Mountain View, and the annual Palo Alto Family YMCA Diversity Day. At least 12 art exhibits are already scheduled for 2015 which will further expand our presence in the BayArea to a level we could not have imagined without your campaign funds. 
The spirit of giving is also demonstrated each day by our staff as they work with the children and adults who need and benefit from our services.  This was recognized in October at the San Andreas Regional Center (SARC) awards ceremony when Marci Fey, an Adult Services Specialist, received the coveted Support Staff of the Year award after being nominated by parent.  Art Resendez, another Adult Service Specialist of xx years, was presented a Recognition of Merit award.  Bill Hall, a long-time participant and fundraiser, received a Recognition of Merit award for his role as an advocate.  Earlier in the year, the Community Connections cable TV program, filmed and produced by participants under the guidance of program manager Andrea Throndson, received the Hometown Media award in the Access-Able category.
Known in our community for our quality staff, we recently acknowledged numerous individuals for their long-term dedication to AbilitiesUnited.  Lupe Arrizaga and Marie Guiab Harvey each celebrated 20 years of service.   Joining them are John Delahanty and Lucretia Escalante who achieved 15 years of service, Misty Accristo who reached 10 years, and Sona Dill and Drew Thorne who celebrated 5 years. Congratulations!  We are extremely proud to have you on the Abilities United team.
As we refine our strategy for 2015-2018, we have formed collaborative working committees comprised of staff, board, and community volunteers.  Areas of focus include talent development, board governance, facilities, finance, fund-raising, and marketing.  In essence, we want to ensure that we have the best people, the highest quality of service, a sustainable financial model through earned and donated revenues, and a trusted brand recognized in our community.  Together, this strategic framework will guide our redevelopment plans for the future.   

In this season of giving, I want to thank all of our participants and their families, staff, volunteers, donors, sponsors, and board members who have made Abilities United an exemplary agency.  What a wonderful time to celebrate all that we have accomplished together.  We are truly united in “giving all to the present” to ensure a strong future. 

Happy Holidays to you!

Charlie Weidanz