In honor of Serve-a-thon, Chicago Cares is proud to share stories from the who’s who of our volunteers, philanthropists, and prominent Chicagoans in a series called “Three Questions With ….” We’re celebrating the diverse and dynamic voices that make a difference in our city and are inviting all to be part of the conversation! Please continue to share what Chicago means to you through tweets, pictures, videos, and more using hashtag #MyChi.

Today, we’re featuring Serve-a-thon volunteer and top fundraiser Regan Bertke! At this very moment, Regan is our fourth-highest Serve-a-thon fundraiser. Want to help her move up the list? Donate in her name today! Chicago Cares will be awarding Cubs tickets to our top overall Serve-a-thon fundraiser, as well as a Cubs gift basket to the person who raises the most money between today, Wednesday, June 4, and Sunday, June 8. Regan_Bertke_sized

1) You were honored with a Chicago Cares Star Award in 2013 for being our ambassador. Why do you think you took home this top honor?
I was honestly so shocked and honored when I received the letter that I was even nominated for a Star Award. To me, I’m just doing what I love to do. And maybe that’s why I was nominated and chosen. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” I believe I have a purpose in life to be great, to be the best me I can be. Serving is what makes me happy. I will continue to serve until everyone has a home and three meals a day!

2) Year in and year out, you’re a top fundraiser for Serve-a-thon. How do you rally your troops to give?
I love sharing what I am passionate about and I am extremely passionate about volunteering and service. I truly believe in everything Chicago Cares does and I try to highlight that as much as possible. I am a part of building futures and I love it! I want everyone to feel as though they, too, can make a difference. Even if they can’t volunteer their time, $5 can and does make a difference!

As to how I get the donations, I pretty much abuse social media for fundraising. I post Facebook messages, Tweet, send emails … I even post to my LinkedIn account. I know the more I put something in front of someone, the more likely they are to give, even if it’s just to get off my email list. 😉 Hey, it’s worked so far!

3) What does Chicago look like to you? Feel free to share thoughts on Chicago’s personality, opportunities, and/or challenges.
I have been a Chicagoan almost my whole life. This city has a spirit and energy unlike any other city. Yes, our winters are brutal, but the summers are spectacular! The city comes alive every spring with the smell of fresh flowers and food trucks. There is a festival in almost every neighborhood, and the lake shore is one of a kind. What I love most about Chicago, though, is the people! Chicagoans are friendly, and their willingness to serve others is unmatched. I have always been impressed with the love people in this city are willing to share. I am blessed to live here and be a part of this great, caring community!