We appreciate all of our donors, board and committee members, loaned executives, affinity group participants and those who volunteer and help in so many ways. These selfless individuals play a vital role in our ability to make lives better and improve neighborhoods in the Greater Chicago region, but some go the extra mile and make our internal organization run more smoothly as well. Gary Cueno is that kind of caring and committed donor, and here’s why we appreciate him so much. As is obvious from the above photo, Gary Cueno is a loving and much-loved dad. His warmth and caring expand beyond family to those in need.
For starters, Gary has been, in his own words, “a proud supporter of United Way for 38 years.” We asked Gary how he first became involved with United Way. “I became involved in January 1979 after starting my career at what is now known as Ernst & Young,” Gary explained. “Back then, we were encouraged to give back to the community we live in. Even though I could not afford much, I contributed what I could and volunteered on the United Way workplace campaign. I’m proud to say that my contributions and commitment have grown through the years, and am honored to serve on the North-Northwest Regional Board and as their Finance Chair, along with serving on the Finance Committee for Metropolitan Chicago.”
In thinking about what in particular about United Way’s mission has kept Gary so involved for all these years, he said, “United Way’s mission statement: ‘improving lives by mobilizing caring people to invest in the community where their resources are needed most.’ That message resonates with me as much today as it did when I first became involved in 1979. What I admire most about United Way is their unique position to assess the needs in our community and bring necessary resources to meet those needs in the most effective and compassionate way.”
Gary’s overall approach to philanthropy falls into four categories: education, the arts, the environment and assisting those in need. “My goal is to assist in each of these areas, not only with financial support, but also with my time and expertise. United Way fits my goal of assisting those in need perfectly.”
Over these many years, an important motivator for Gary to stay involved with United Way is giving back to those in our community who are less fortunate. He elaborated that the decline in public funding has increased the need for organizations such as United Way to step forward to meet those needs. “United Way is needed more now than ever due to the many needs in our community and dwindling resources that are available to them.”
Gary describes United Way as “impactful, effective, collaborative and compassionate.” Thank you Gary for your support and service in the community, and please know that we will continue to work hard to live up to these words.