The end is in sight—but it’s not too late to make a difference through United Way. The organization is reporting pledges totaling $4,280,776 raised, or 95% of the overall community campaign goal of $4.5 million.

United Way is encouraging the community to rally together to finish strong.

“With less than $220,000 left to go, we are confident that our community will rally to close that gap and show our neighbors that we are truly stronger together,” said Holly Miller, president and CEO of United Way of Midland County. “We are grateful for the many individuals and organizations that have risen to every challenge 2020 has thrown at our community. They have demonstrated that care for one another and their collective response is both inspiring and humbling.”

Despite this year’s hurdles of a pandemic and flood, the community continues to show up in impressive ways, often achieving milestones of their own. As their workplace campaigns draw to a close, Three Rivers, Midland County and Ayre/Rhinehart met or exceeded their goals, further highlighting their commitment to the community. This is in addition to all of their work supporting this community through the flood and pandemic in impactful and innovative ways.

Ieuter Insurance—another strong advocate for United Way—also reported outstanding campaign results earlier in the season, adding momentum to the campaign as a whole. In addition to employee giving, they harnessed the creative combination of Jeans Day and the “Change for Change” jar with all proceeds going to United Way

Employees at West Midland Family Center—one of United Way’s partner agencies—did not let this year’s challenges get in the way of their generous spirit. In fact, it encouraged some employees to give even more.

Eric Rodriguez works as a maintenance technician at WMFC. He increased his gift 500% this year, placing him in the top 20% of all WMFC pledges received.

“I increased my gift this year because of all the support WMFC gives me and knowing how much United Way supports WMFC and the community,” Rodriguez said.

As local nonprofits and agencies feel the strain under the increased needs this year, organizations and businesses are rallying to help support these efforts through United Way.

In the case of the Midland Police Department, their giving is helping them get a new look.

The department created “The Good, the Beard and the Pretty” initiative. During the months of November and December, members of the department can pay to grow manicured beards, wear fun colored nail polish or dye a streak of their hair. All proceeds benefit United Way’s campaign.

“The 2020 MPD United Way campaign was comprised of ideas from our patrol officers as well as the new Chief, Nicole Ford,” said Chris Wenzell, Administrative Sergeant of the Midland Police Department. “We try and identify different ways each year to keep our employees engaged in donating to United Way. For our agency, United Way impacts so many of the different groups we work with on a regular basis, such as Ten16, The Legacy Center, Safe & Sound, Shelterhouse and The Arc, just to name a few. These agencies benefit greatly from the generosity of our community.”

Local automotive dealerships are also showing their hearts for the community through their participation in the campaign.

This week, Garber Chevrolet Midland’s General Manager Craig Lang joined campaign co-chairs Rev. Wally Mayton and Sara Eastman for a Zoom interview. He described Garber employees’ hearts for giving. Employees are also enthusiastically paying money to wear jeans on Fridays.

“Garber has been there throughout this year,” shared Miller. “As donated items continued to pour into our community, they graciously lent us box trucks to make moving items to the distribution centers to aid floor survivors.”

Feeny Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Midland is also showing their support for United Way. In addition to their strong support for flood efforts, they are running a strong employee campaign proudly display a “We Will Rise Together” sign in front of their business to remind patrons of our community’s strength.

In Midland County, 23% of households are considered ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). Eleven percent are in poverty…and that was BEFORE the pandemic and flood.

As we look ahead, the needs will only grow. Because of our community’s generosity, United Way and our partner agencies assist with barriers standing in the way of already-vulnerable populations.

Be a part of closing the gaps and ensuring our neighbors’ needs are met. Drop off or mail in your contribution soon (United Way of Midland County, 115 Jerome Street, Midland, MI 48640.)