Scharlau honored as 'Champaign County's Most Valuable Citizen'

Scharlau honored as 'Champaign County's Most Valuable Citizen'

CHAMPAIGN – Carol Scharlau "makes people enjoy giving," said Emmie Fisher, who has worked with her on United Way campaigns.

On Friday, it was Scharlau's turn to receive, being named "Champaign County's Most Valuable Citizen" by the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce.

In accepting the award, Scharlau said she listened to the chamber's outgoing board chairman, Jeff Ingrum, describe the activities the winner was involved in.

"I thought, 'This is incredible. I must know that person. These all sound like things I'm familiar with,'" the Urbana resident said.

Scharlau used her remaining time on the podium not to talk about herself or her feelings, but to promote the Youth Literature Festival being held in Champaign-Urbana this weekend.

"Carol is representative of all that is good in Champaign County," Laura Weis, president and chief executive officer of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, stated in a release.

"I would be surprised if there is anyone out there that has ever been able to say 'no' to Carol," Weis continued. "She has a way of helping people understand the need to help for the greater good – whether that is through monetary contributions or contributions of time."

The "Most Valuable Citizen" award is given annually to someone who has made an ongoing commitment to the community and its development.

Scharlau is planned giving director and leadership giving director for the United Way of Champaign County – both voluntary positions. She previously was the United Way's marketing and communications director.

In her current role, she's responsible for developing and building United Way fundraising efforts. She has coordinated volunteer efforts in raising more than $1.35 million for the organization.

In addition, Scharlau is a past president of the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana and the CommunityWorks chair for the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois. She serves on the Parkland College Foundation's board of directors, the Krannert Circle advisory committee and the University of Illinois College of Education advisory board.

She recently received the Centennial Services Award for Professional Excellence from Champaign and Champaign West Rotary Club members. She is a Green Meadows Girl Scout Council "Woman of Distinction" and received the Lisa A. Mauney Outstanding Fund Raising Executive Award from the Association of Fund Raising Professionals.

"She lives her life by leading by example," Weis said, "and what a great example she is to follow."

Carol Scharlau's husband, Edwin, won the "Most Valuable Citizen" award in 1995. Other winners have included: Kyle and Phyllis Robeson, 2007; Donald and Newt Dodds, 2006; Doug and Linda Mills, 2005; George Shapland, 2004; Stanley Weaver, 2003; Zelema Harris, 2002; Jim Turpin, 2001; Michael Aiken, 2000; Robert Toalson, 1999; Dannel McCollum, 1998; Larry Smarr, 1997; Frank Elliott, 1996; Stan and Judy Ikenberry, 1994; Vernon Barkstall, 1993; and Helen Levin, 1992.

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