Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. Strong, productive communities depend on a skilled workforce that can compete in a global economy. But this work can’t just happen during high school.

“Reading at grade level is a key indicator of future success,” shared Holly Miller, Vice President of Impact and Communications at United Way of Midland County. “Studies show that students reading at grade level in the third grade are four times more likely to graduate from high school.”

To kick-off the annual United Way Campaign, United Way and all four Midland County Public School Districts are coming together starting September 12th to build awareness of early grade reading and begin to connect our community with ways they can help.

Leaders from Dow Chemical, Dow Corning and Chemical Bank will launch the event by spending a half hour reading to every single first grade classroom in Midland County on Monday. They will be reading the book “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”

“Reading to young children is like writing the preface to the book of our future as a more balanced and promising society. We want to plant a seed in their minds that reading books is the best bridge to that future,” shared Mauro Gregorio, Chief Executive Officer of Dow Corning.

On September 19th, volunteers from Dow, Dow Corning and Chemical Bank will continue these efforts, reading to all second graders. Third grade students will be inspired on September 26th.

In addition to investing time reading, their sponsorship will provide a new book to every first, second and third grade student throughout the county.

“I truly believe in giving back to the communities where you live, work and play.  As a United Way board member, I see firsthand the many ways that we can make a positive impact on our community.  Spending 30 minutes reading to children is just one small way that I can personally make an impact,” shared Len Amat, Executive Vice President and Chief Operation Officer at Chemical Bank.

This exciting event serves as a starting point to build awareness and exploring collaborative ways that the community can support our local schools. United Way continues to work with our schools to find ways that volunteers can support the incredible work of our area teachers and administrators.

“Every opportunity we have, we encourage parents and students to set aside time each evening to read together.  It is so essential for children to be proficient readers,” shared Shawn Hale, Superintendent of Bullock Creek Schools.  “For our students to have this opportunity to welcome community business and industry leaders into their classrooms, sends a very strong message.  Our students will remember this experience and develop a deeper appreciation for the importance of literacy. I look forward to the positive impact Read to Succeed will have in the lives of our students.”

To learn more about United Way or find ways to be a part of the change, call (989) 631-3670 or visit



United Way of Midland County works to advance the common good by focusing on the building blocks for a good life – Education, Health and Self-Sufficiency. They recruit the people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. They invite everyone to be a part of changing out community by giving, advocating and volunteering.