As the third week of the United Way campaign comes to a close, the community continues to show their generous support. They are reporting pledges totaling $2,348,418 representing 50% of the overall campaign goal of $4.7 million.
In addition to corporations, local businesses, nonprofits and individuals who lend their support, local family foundations play a vital role in creating real and lasting change in the community. Their impact will be featured throughout the campaign. Today, we focus on The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.
In 2021, The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation awarded a grant of $1,250,000 that matches 50¢ for each dollar invested for first-time donors or those who sustain or increase their gift to United Way of Midland County during the 2021 and 2022 annual fundraising campaigns.
“Our Trustees are honored to continue their investment in the vision that United Way created to unite our community,” shared Dr. Ruth Alden Doan, president and trustee of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation. “We are grateful to be able to sustain this vital work by providing matching dollars to support gifts made by donors that share that vision.”
The Foundation was established by Grace A. Dow, in memory of her husband Dr. Herbert H. Dow, “for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes for the public benefaction of the inhabitants of the said City of Midland and of the people of the State of Michigan.”
“We celebrate our partnership with our family foundations along with their generosity and trust,” shared Holly Miller, President & CEO of Midland County. “In addition to the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation’s support, the Charles J. Strosacker Foundation and Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation are key partners in our impact work and their generous yearly support is vital to sustained impact.”
Businesses are making a big impact, showing their commitment to the community. Savant kicked off their campaign with an employee cookout. Staffers from United Way joined and presented to their group about how they can engage in the campaign. Other businesses are getting creative with their campaigns and encouraging others to join in. Throughout the month of October, MI Element Grains and Grounds are donating $0.25 of every pint sold to support the campaign.
The fun continues across the county as more organizations participate in the campaign and learn how their investment makes an impact. Gavin and Associates sponsored United Way’s event, The Chair Project, and have the chair artwork displayed in their lobby to help guests learn about the stories of our neighbors and how they were helped.
Many other organizations like Northwood University, Valley Electric, Bone and Bailey, Bricks Real Estate and Target kicked off their United Way campaigns this week with presentations from United Way employees.
“It’s inspiring to see so many local businesses showing their support for the United Way campaign,” shared Claudia Goad, 2022 campaign co-chair. “We live in a very generous community and knowing that support comes from individuals, family foundations, businesses, nonprofits, government and corporations…it really shows how our community rally’s together to lift up our neighbors in need.”
In one of United Way’s marketing materials, they pose the question “Have you ever skipped a meal so your kids could eat?” Their hope is that no community members suffer from hunger, but know the reality is that some of our neighbors skip meals to be able to feed their family, stretch what’s left in the pantry or put things back at the store every day. United Way believes that no one should have to struggle alone and that by rallying together we can provide hope.
Because of the community’s support, over 662,000 pounds of food were rescued and redistributed throughout Midland County by Hidden Harvest last year, equaling around 550,000 meals for individuals and families. By supporting the United Way Campaign, you can help ensure that everyone in Midland County has enough to eat.
Access to healthy food is one of 15 impact areas that funding from United Way supports.
Here’s what impact can look like:
$1 per week provides over 150 pounds of nutritious food for a struggling family
$5 per week provides a gas card for five cancer patients to travel for specialized care
$20 per week provides a match between a child and a caring mentor for a year
$50 per week provides materials for six wheelchair ramps
“Every gift matters,” said Kali Cochran, Director of Investor Relations at United Way. “Your gift joins with others from across the community and is invested in vital programs that inspire life change. When you support United Way, you are impacting people you live and work alongside.”
At the end of the second week of the community campaign, United Way continues to gain momentum. Pledges totaled $1,886,193, representing 40% of the overall campaign goal of $4.7 million.
The United Way partner agencies create change every day through their impactful programs and services. They also run impressive internal campaigns, seeing firsthand the impact of their community’s investments.
Many partner agencies are finding creative ways to support the campaign this year. Home to Stay is offering a jean week, comfy clothes day, a bake sale, trivia and even a Halloween-themed potluck. The ROCK Center for Youth Development students created custom buttons that are being sold at Populace Coffee to benefit the campaign.
West Midland Family Center, Greater Midland Community Center, North Midland Family Center, Coleman Family Center, Shelterhouse, Ten16 and Midland County ESA all kicked off their campaigns earlier this week and look forward to engaging their teams in fun ways to support the community.
The Arnold Center is offering a wide variety of fun activities for their team including a fun competition called “Kiss a Pig”, along with hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner and having VIP parking spots up for grabs.
“It’s so inspiring to see our nonprofits be so engaged and having fun to support their United Way campaigns,” shared United Way staffer, Jesse Fletcher, Senior Relationship Manager. “They do such incredible work in our community and have so much passion around helping our neighbors in need.”
Ieuter Insurance Group wrapped up their campaign this week raising an impressive $14,000 in support of the community. Other local businesses kicked off their campaigns this week including Sym Financial, Yeo & Yeo, Benjamin F. Edwards and Arbury Insurance.
In United Way’s campaign video series, “We Asked the Community…” they asked about the importance of reading at grade level and how we as individuals can support the kids in our community. Many video participants shared that they too struggled with reading as a kid, and had they not received support from a caring adult or teacher, they may not have found the success they have now. To watch this inspiring video, you can visit unitedwaymidland.org/reading.
“Being a proficient reader by third grade is important to long-term success,” shared Miller. “We honor and walk alongside the amazing work being done by our schools and educators. The investments being made complement the work in the classroom and provide meaningful ways to both build reading skills along with relationships with caring adults.”
United Way shared that the most recent Kids Count report indicated that 47.5% of third graders are not currently proficient at reading in third grade. Through nonprofit programs supported by the funds raised during the campaign, over 1,800 kids received free monthly books and over 175 were paired with a tutor or mentor last year.
But there are other kids who still need our support and you can be a part of changing that statistic by supporting the United Way campaign or lending your time as a volunteer.
There are many ways you can volunteer. The need for volunteer tutors and mentors is in very high demand and can be found on United Way’s volunteer website at volunteerglbr.org.
They are also spotlighting a unique virtual opportunity in partnership with Bullock Creek Public Schools and CricketTogether. Done completely online with great flexibility, mentors will not only support kids with reading and writing but also with building social and emotional skills! To learn more or sign up to volunteer visit unitedwaymidland.org/ementoring.
United Way invests in nonprofits in a visible and measurable way. The dollars raised go directly into community programs to ensure all people can thrive in the areas of Youth Success, Health and Household stability. Support of the campaign provides resources for 57 programs delivered by 27 nonprofit agencies.
Do you have 30 minutes a month to build skills and a relationship with a local elementary student? What if you could participate from anywhere and anytime of day?
United Way of Midland County is partnering with local teachers at Pine River Elementary to pilot an innovative new program called CricketTogether geared toward local 3rd-5th graders. This turnkey, flexible eMentoring program matches mentors and students one-to-one to create virtual learning friends. There are over 180 kids already enrolled and mentors are needed today.
The pandemic has hit our students hard and THEY NEED YOUR HELP to improve reading and writing skills to build connection and confidence. Locally, 47% of our local 3rd-grade students are not proficient in reading, leaving them more likely not to graduate on time.
You can change that statistic. Together, students and mentors read intriguing articles about subjects students are already studying. Then, with gentle guidance from the teacher, mentors and students exchange digital letters getting to know each other while asking and answering thought-providing questions about what they read…all in a safe, virtual platform.
Volunteering is flexible and easy. CricketTogether is easy to use, virtual and volunteers can participate from anywhere at any time.
“It was really fun talking to you through our letters,” shared a student who participated last year. “I wish we could do this next year!”
After a volunteer signs-up and completes the online training, they will be matched with a local student. Every couple of weeks, the pair will be provided with an article to read based on what they are studying in the classroom.
“CricketTogether helped my students not only to discuss topics related to the articles, but also to discuss their everyday life,” shared a local teacher.
The volunteer and student both read the material and exchange electronic letters 1:1 to talk about their lives and what they’ve learned. The teacher moderates the conversations through the online portal and integrates the communication into the academic calendar. The program follows the school calendar year.
Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. It opens kids up to a world of possibilities and builds confidence, skills and a foundation for the future. Time spent with caring adults has a profound impact on how kids view themselves and the world.
United Way of Midland County kicked off the 2022 Campaign on Monday, September 12 with a goal of bringing our community together to raise $4.7 million. They are excited to announce pledges totaling $1,278,883 representing 27% of the overall goal.
“After our first official week, we are thrilled with the way our community is stepping up to support United Way and our neighbors who need our help,” shared Michael and Claudia Goad, 2022 Campaign Co-Chairs. “It’s our goal to help educate and inspire people to join in – whether that’s through participating in the campaign, lending their time as a volunteer or advocating for change.”
After a successful pacesetter start, Dow employees kicked off their campaign this week with an inspiring launch. They have already reached 68% of their employee goal and continue to show steady progress.
Dow and United Way collaborated to co-host a webcast kick-off, which engaged over 300 participants across the region. Team members shared inspiring stories about how United Way and their partner agencies have supported them at a time in their life when they needed it most.
Dow campaign ambassadors are going above and beyond with fun ways for employees to participate, including special events like a cooking demonstration with Chef Theo, a chili cookoff and presentations from motivational speakers.
Dow has also invested in helping to inspire and educate their team members through Impact Bus Tours. So far, nearly 200 employees have participated in the tours – embracing the opportunity to hear from United Way and their partners about the work being done to help our neighbors.
MyMichigan Health also kicked off their employee campaign with a strong start. Thanks to overwhelming response, their annual campaign t-shirts and jean day sticker sales raised over $40,000. Keep an eye out for the unique blue and dark green Live United shirts in the community.
Fisher Contracting, a strong United Way supporter, completed their campaign earlier this year, exceeding last year’s results. Many other companies will be kicking off in the coming days and weeks, but others have already joined in.
Corteva hosted a kickoff event with United Way to help inspire and educate their team about community issues and how their support creates real and lasting change. They also served as a sponsor for the 2022 United Way kick-off event, Gear for the Year, and had several employees engaged as volunteers to help build supply kits for local teachers. Their team is finding fun ways to stay engaged throughout their campaign including a variety of gift basket raffles, a United Way swag drive, Coffee for Quarters, along with a generous corporate matching to help their employee’s dollars make a bigger impact.
“The engagement from local corporations, businesses and community members has been inspiring to witness,” shared Holly Miller, President and CEO of United Way of Midland County. “The energy is inspiring and contagious. Our team engaged with our campaign volunteers at training, have spoken at kick-offs and special events and hosted Impact Bus Tours to educate and inspire and educate – all before the campaign officially kicked off!”
DuPont kicked off their campaign this week with an ice cream social for their employees. They also engaged in Gear for the Year as a title sponsor and had team members volunteer. Throughout their campaign, employees will have the chance to win one of many unique gift baskets including a date night package, family game night, football party package and barrels of cheer.
Two local school districts, Midland Public Schools and Bullock Creek Schools kicked off their campaigns in late August hosting kick-off events with inspirational messages from the United Way team.
Serendipity Road is hosting a Building a Stronger Community Raffle to lend their support. Tickets can be purchased at their store in Downtown Midland for $1 each.
United Way’s nonprofit partners came together this week at West Midland Family Center to build community and get inspired for this year’s campaign. Folks gathered to share a meal, play yard games and rally around making a difference for our neighbors who need our support.
The United Way 2022 campaign theme poses a simple question: “Have you ever?” Their hope is that the powerful and inspiring messaging based on the stories of actual neighbors will connect those who need support with the resources to help, while educating those who aren’t in these situations about the issues our community faces.
All community members deserve to have a safe and stable place to call home. In their campaign materials, United Way poses the question “Have you ever wondered where you will sleep?” Their hope is that the answer is “no,” but for some, couch surfing, sleeping in a car or staying at a shelter is an everyday reality. United Way believes that no one should have to struggle alone and that by rallying together we can provide hope.
United Way focuses on three key pillars that are the building blocks for a good life: Youth Success, Health and Household Stability. They partner with 27 non-profits and invest in the top health and human service issues identified by the community.
The United Way team also asked community members to be featured in their video series “We asked the Community…” to help build awareness. The kick-off video features folks from corporations, businesses and the community who share their thoughts about issues our neighbors face like homelessness, the importance of reading at grade level, food security, financial support for those battling cancer and childcare. To watch the videos, visit unitedwaymidland.org/campaignvideo.
The 2022 United Way campaign will continue until October 30 and everyone is invited to be a part of it.