May 12, 2020
United Way names Voynik family as its 2020 campaign co-chairs
AUGUSTA – United Way of Kennebec Valley (UWKV) names Readfield natives Chris and Sarah Voynik as its next campaign co-chairs—charged with leading the organization’s 2020 fundraising efforts. Chris, director of membership and government relations for Maine Farm Bureau, and Sarah, program manager at Merrill’s Detector Dog Services, will lend their enthusiasm and expertise in building prosperous community partnerships to mobilize the caring power of those who live and work in Kennebec Valley.
“Sarah and I grew up in this community. We went to elementary, middle, high school, and college together. This is our home,” said Chris, who is also a UWKV board member.
“It is the passion and people that make Kennebec Valley such a special place,” Sarah added. “We’re excited to bring people of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds together to help lead the way for a better community.”
With the support of the Campaign Champions, a group comprised of business and community leaders who will facilitate campaign support from across the region, the Voynik family will lead the way for United Way in expanding its network of individual and corporate donors.
“For the past three years, United Way has been very fortunate to have record-breaking campaigns,” Chris said. “While we are concerned about the effects the COVID-19 pandemic could have on our partner programs, it is times like these when people in our community come together to protect those who need it most.”
As part of its annual initiative, United Way’s workplace campaigns engage more than 130 local businesses each year, representing more than 3,000 donors. Last year, donations to United Way totaled more than $1.8 million and assisted 24,604 people in 50 programs across southern Kennebec County.
Chris graduated magna cum laude from Thomas College with a bachelor’s in business management. Prior to graduation, he founded Wag Rags—homemade dog toys from recycled T-shirts—and worked as finance manager for Merrill’s Investigations and Security. His entrepreneurial spirit contributed to him being named Cynergy’s Young Professional of the year in 2017. After spending two years with the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce and working closely with hundreds of local businesses, Chris started his position with the Maine Farm Bureau in 2019.
In addition to his involvement with United Way’s Emerging Leaders Society, Chris has been an advisory council member for the Thomas College Institute for Business Innovation, served as a committee member for Cynergy Young Professionals, and was previously a board member for the Kennebec Valley Humane Society.
Sarah, a K9 handler and trainer for Merrill’s Detector Dogs, graduated magna cum laude from Thomas College with a bachelor’s in criminal justice and then obtained a master’s in criminal justice, graduating summa cum laude from Purdue University Global. She grew up training dogs with her family, and in 2013 she followed in her mother’s footsteps by taking over the family business, Merrill’s Detector Dog Services, and has been there for eight years. She manages the program, grows business, and trains explosives, narcotics, and bedbug detection dogs.
The Voyniks married in June of 2019 and moved to Augusta from Readfield shortly after. “Giving back is a way for our entire community to come together for great causes and provide support for those in need, whether it be monetary donations or time spent volunteering,” Sarah said.
In their minds, “Giving back means supporting the community when you may not need its support back,” Chris said.
If you are interested in serving as a United Way Campaign Champion, please contact 207-626-3400. For more information about United Way, visit uwkv.org.
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