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Jack Shales Spirit of Community Award

"As I celebrate my 60th anniversary as a United Way volunteer, I am filled with many fond memories. Over the years, I've had the opportunity to work with so many wonderful people and great organizations, building friendships that have lasted a lifetime.  I can't think of a better way for any of us to touch so many lives and know that we're making a real difference.  That's why I LIVE UNITED." --Jack Shales, 2014

In 2004, our longest serving volunteer Jack Shales celebrated his 50th anniversary with United Way of Elgin. To honor that achievement, we created our highest award, the Jack Shales Spirit of Community Award, which is given annually to a company that shows exceptional corporate responsibility and community involvement.

Jack began his involvement with United Way in 1954 as a campaign volunteer. He served on the board for many years, including as board chair in 1988.  Jack has also chaired the annual campaign several times, most recently as the Honorary Chair for the 2013-14 campaign.  Jack is one of five Lifetime Directors on United Way's board.


2015 Winner: Grand Victoria Casino

For over 20 years, the Grand Victoria Casino has graciously sponsored the United Way of Elgin Annual Camapign Kickoff. Their dedication to the Elgin community shines well beyond United Way, however, and it is because of this far-reaching charitable work that our 2015 Jack Shales Spirit of Community Award could only go to the Grand Victoria Casino.

Since opening 22 years ago, Grand Victoria Casino has worked hard to become the model of what Illinois riverboat casinos were designed to do: To bring about economic revitalization in the host communities. Grand Victoria Casino is a first class entertainment destination, a business leader in the community of Elgin, an employer of choice, and a leader in the gaming industry, and is committed to giving back to the community.

With 780 employees, Grand Victoria Casino is one of Elgin’s largest employers. Salaried staff and the management team are encouraged to volunteer within community organizations. In fact, since 2012, employees have spent over 13,200 hours volunteering for charitable and civic organizations. Locally, staff either serve on boards of or volunteer regularly for: the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce, Food for Greater Elgin, Centro de Informacion, Literacy Connection, United Way of Elgin, Elgin FoxTrot, and the Free Tax Preparation Program, just to name a few. Around the holidays, they conduct a toy drive in support of the Community Crisis Center’s Toy Giveaway. Last year, Casino staff organized and hosted the inaugural "Chip In For Hunger" Golf Outing for Food for Greater Elgin. And if that isn't enough, Casino staff have also volunteered through United Way of Elgin’s own Day of Caring since its doors opened in 1994.

To demonstrate their corporate commitment to the community, the Grand Victoria Casino established the Grand Victoria Foundation. The casino is unique in its extraordinary and unparalleled commitment to set aside 20% of its net profits to benefit government and non-profit programs throughout the state of Illinois. Since its inception, the Grand Victoria Foundation has awarded over $169 million dollars in grants to statewide organizations focused on education, economic development, and environmental causes.

Grand Victoria Casino is committed to making the Elgin community a great place to visit and an even better place to live. That is why they are the 2015 Jack Shales Spirit of Community Award Winner.


Past Winners

2014 - Elgin Community College

2013 - Jack and Marlene Shales

2012 - Chase Card Services

2010 - Hoffer Plastics Corporation

2009 - Sherman Health

2008 - First Community Bank

2007 - IHC Construction Companies

2006 - City of Elgin

2005 - ITW

2004 - Seigle's