In a year of unique hurdles and hardship, Midland County residents did not buckle. Instead, they rallied around the community and showed their strength in action, which is reflected in this year’s United Way of Midland County community campaign results.
United Way is thrilled to announce they have exceeded their $4.5M goal, raising a nearly record-breaking $5,034,114, or 112% of the campaign goal.
“In the face of a global pandemic and historic floods, this year’s campaign results are simply remarkable,” exclaimed Board President Jim Nigro. “It really speaks to the character of our Midland community: the most caring and giving county in America.”
Nigro believes that people and organizations recognize United Way is well-positioned to help those in need.
“And they responded with their pocketbooks,” he said. “It’s a powerful combination of individuals, organizations, companies (large and small), foundations, agency partners, United Way staff, board, and volunteers, all rising to the occasion and contributing to our mutual success. It makes me extremely proud of this little community with a gigantic heart.”
With a theme of “Stronger Together,” the community campaign was led by campaign co-chairs The Reverend Doctor Wallace H. “Wally” Mayton, Associate Pastor at Memorial Presbyterian Church, and Sara Eastman, local attorney and proud military veteran. This dynamic duo served as the first co-chairs in United Way of Midland County’s history. They both shared their sentiments about the exciting results
“We are humbled and overwhelmed,” Eastman said. “In the aftermath of an evolving pandemic, record unemployment, unprecedented stay-at-home orders, dam failures, flooding, home and business loss, and the uncertainty of what the future would hold, our community came together with warmth, generosity and compassion for their fellow Midlanders in support of the 2020 United Way Campaign. Dedicated volunteers, community-driven area businesses and leaders from all backgrounds and opportunity lined the United Way Campaign trail each week making a difference. I was grateful to co-chair with Midland treasure, Wally Mayton, who is notorious for his decades of inspiring and heartfelt leadership. Wally’s humble regard for our neighbors, the United Way team’s ability to collaborate effectively, and our community’s spirit of compassion, sacrifice and endurance showed us every day that we are “stronger together” in 2020 and beyond as we continue to inspire hope and create opportunities for a better tomorrow.”
Mayton added his thanks to the community for supporting its neighbors.
“Sara and I thank the Midland community for its generous response to the campaign appeal, and we now take a giant leap into a new year and hold the assurance that we shall neglect no one in need,” Mayton said.
Throughout the campaign, Mayton and Eastman traveled around Midland County for a special video series called “Wally & Sara on the Campaign Trail.” The co-chairs visited various Midland “hot spots” to share campaign news and interview those who have stepped up to show their support. The videos were shared weekly on United Way of Midland County’s Facebook page.
“Sharing the campaign trail with Sara Eastman is one landmark experience,” Mayton shared. “She represents the best for our future. We greeted and learned the hearts of our neighbors. We listened. We heard messages of hope and action. We commend United Way of Midland County with its partners, its staff, and its mission. We raise our team banner high. It reads we are ‘Stronger Together!’ We have proven it.”
Generous support poured in from every corner of the community, from large corporations to schools, small businesses, local government agencies, nonprofits, individuals and retirees. In total, 185 organizations supported the United Way campaign—and they did not let the pandemic stop them being creative and having fun. In the midst of stay-at-home orders that required many to swap their office environment for virtual meetings, organizations raised nearly $70,000 in digital special events.
The numbers speak to the heart of this community, said Holly Miller, president and CEO of United Way of Midland County.
“We had over 5,200 individual donors with 63% maintaining or increasing their gift from last year—and that is amidst a flood and pandemic,” Miller said. “This year’s campaign is unprecedented. We could not be more grateful and humble for the countless ways our community stepped up to support each other. Every single gift matters and will be invested collectively to improve the lives of our neighbors. At the end of the day, we’re all people helping people, and it is amazing to see our community’s comeback story as it is written. This campaign is just another reflection of our deep roots of care for community.”
The giving spirit of the community reverberated throughout Midland County. With generous matching grants and a clear message of need, over 1,220 new donors were inspired to give, while 28% increased their gift from last year with an average increase of more than $200.
Miller added that United Way is just getting started and looks ahead to 2021 with intentionality, stewardship and hope.
“Because of our community’s generosity, we will be working with our many partners to escalate impact to respond to the increasing needs in our community,” Miller said. “There is strength in numbers. We are, and always will be, stronger together.”
To learn more about the impact of our community’s generous support, visit unitedwaymidland.org.