United Way brought our community together for the Spirit of the Community Celebration on April 9th. This exciting and popular event honors the many ways that individuals and organizations are lending their time, talents, voices and hearts to create a better and stronger community.

United Way celebrated the incredible impact of our local corporations and businesses, both large and small, through the “Companies That Care” awards.

“Companies That Care” are not only characterized by the financial commitment they and their employees make, but their impact through community advocacy and volunteerism,” shares Ann Fillmore, Executive Director of United Way of Midland County. “They serve as the foundation for real change and continue the strong legacy of compassion for those in need.”

Many that were recognized have long supported the mission of United Way, while others are fairly new to the family. Some are large corporations, while others are small family-run businesses. The common thread that runs throughout each of this year’s honorees is the promise to be an integral part of our future.

Beyond their commitment to successful employee and corporate campaigns, these organizations and their employees serve as campaign volunteers, loaned executives, Leadership Circle members, Young Leaders United and community volunteers. They sponsor local events, and find innovative ways to help reach out and engage our community. They are the soil in which seeds of growth are planted.

Twenty-two local organizations were honored, including: Aptar, Ayre-Rhinehart Realtors, Chemical Bank, City of Midland, Consumers Energy, Deloitte, Dow Corning Corporation, Fisher Contracting, Gavin & Associates, Ieuter Insurance Group, McKay Press, Members First Credit Union, Midland Daily News, Midland Public Schools, MidMichigan Health, Northwood University, RE/MAX of Midland, The Dow Chemical Company, Three Rivers Corporation, Trinseo, Wolverine Bank and Yeo & Yeo, PC CPA

Each year, one organization from the Companies That Care is honored as the Caring Company of the Year. United Way announced that the 2015 Caring Company of the Year is Members First Credit Union.

Making a positive difference in the lives of their members and the community is a not just the mission of Members First–it is ingrained in everything they do, at every level of the organization.

During their annual Make A Difference Day, employees rallied around United Way with enthusiasm. This year alone, their campaign grew by an impressive 22% and included 14 employees who became members of Young Leaders United.

Change for Change champions, Members First Credit Union generously counts jug after jug of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters raised in our community’s many penny wars for United Way.

A Community Colors 5k partner, the Kids Color Obstacle Course is not only sponsored by Members First, but you’ll also find many of their staff helping little ones over bales of hay or throwing color gently and joyfully on our smallest participants.

“Their hands-on approach reaches beyond special events to community leadership, shared Ann Fillmore. “You’ll find Members First employees leading the way as United Way Loaned Executives, campaign volunteers and serving on the Young Leaders executive council.”

A video showcasing this year’s Companies That Care commitment to Midland County is available at www.unitedwaymidland.org.