United Way Worldwide Haiti Recovery Efforts
United Way Worldwide Disaster Fund
Donate to recovery efforts in Haiti
On the evening of January 12, 2010 a major 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti. It is the most powerful quake to hit the impoverished country in more than 200 years. The tremor struck 15km (10miles) south-west of the capital Port-au-Prince, and was quickly followed by two strong aftershocks of 5.9 and 5.0 magnitude. Reports describe the destruction to affect as much as 70 percent of the buildings, with debris filling the roads making emergency response difficult. The Prime minister reported on January 13 that hundreds of thousands of lives may have been lost.
Gifts to the Fund support long-term recovery efforts to rebuild lives and infrastructure devastated by disaster and to address educations, financial and health-related challenges.
United Way Woldwide members in the Caribbean region have mobilized their staff, volunteer leaders and resources in response.
- Checks can be sent to the address below with the "Fund" referenced in either memo line or an enclosed correspondence:
United Way Worldwide
P.O. Box 630568
Baltimore, MD 21263-0568
- Text HAITI to 864833 (UNITED) or click here to donate on line
LIVE UNITED News Winter 2010
Campaign Surpasses 60% Mark
Greater Ottawa County United Way began the New Year on a positive note—by checking off the 60 percent mark on campaign thermometer signs around the county—thanks to local companies and individuals who have given generously to the 2009-10 community campaign.
More than $1.2 million in pledges and donations had been tallied as of December 31, putting the campaign at 67 percent of its $1.8 million goal.
“We extend our deepest appreciation to our community for their generous response to this year’s campaign,” said Larry Koops, 5/3 Bank’s Community President for the Lakeshore and 2009-10 Campaign Chair. “It is heartwarming to see how many of our neighbors have chosen to invest in our community through United Way.”
This year, the campaign received a holiday boost as well from two “beyond the workplace” initiatives that launched at opposite ends of the county. In the North, more than 20 downtown Grand Haven merchants held a special “Christmas Tree Walk” and shoppers voted with their dollars and cents throughout December for their favorite decorated Christmas tree, with all “votes” collected for United Way.
Farther south, in Zeeland, “Feel the Zeel of Giving Back” resulted in 13 downtown Zeeland merchants donating more than $1,200.00, which represented a percentage of sales during extended shopping hours and special events held over five nights in December. Through its web-based “Volunteer Solutions,” Greater Ottawa County United Way recruited dozens of volunteers who served as strolling elves, horsedrawn trolley helpers, and gift wrappers on all five nights. Abby DeRoo, Marketing Director for Zeeland’s Main Street Shopping District, said the merchants who participated were pleased with the “giving partnership” created between retailers and United Way.
“This year’s partnership with Greater Ottawa County United Way was even more fun than any of us anticipated! It was a great experience to bring United Way’s “Live United” concept to Zeeland’s Main Street. Not only were we able to raise a modest donation for the community, but all of our activities were absolutely free – thanks to our sponsoring businesses – and offered a festive experience that local families may otherwise not have been able to enjoy. We were certainly “Feeling the Zeel of Giving!”
Patrick Moran, United Way President, predicts that the final months of the campaign will be “an uphill climb.”
“The majority of our 220 workplace campaigns have wrapped up, with only a few more to be launched in January,” he said. “Our experience is that the last third of the climb is the most arduous, and it’s a time when we especially rely on the generosity of companies and individuals outside of the workplaces where campaigns have run.”
Moran added that, in the Tri-Cities, new givers of at least $500 can double their gift as a result of a leadership challenge by an anonymous donor. For the seventh year, this $30,000 challenge grant matches, dollar for dollar, every new or increased leadership gift from Tri-Cities residents. Last year the challenge helped to raise new or increased leadership gifts of more than $49,000.
“And every gift is so important now, when our nonprofit community partners are experiencing greatly increased demand for the programs that United Way dollars support,” Moran said.
Residents who are not able to give through their employment can give online at www.ottawaunitedway.org or mail a donation to United Way at PO Box 1349, Holland, MI 49422.
United Way staff and campaign volunteers will continue their diligent work until March 25, when all the “give, advocate and volunteer” successes of the past year will be celebrated at the annual Live United Celebration Dinner, to be held at Grand Haven Golf Club. For more information on how to Live United through the work of the Greater Ottawa County United Way, or to make a donation online, visit www.ottawaunitedway.org.
At right, Sandy and Paul Huber of Grand Haven volunteer as elves for “Feel the Zeel of Giving Back” in downtown Zeeland, an event that benefited Greater Ottawa County United Way.
Community Investment Volunteers Sought
Greater Ottawa County United Way is seeking interested community members, who live and/or work in Ottawa County, to have a voice in the funding of human service programs throughout Ottawa County. Community investment volunteers help to decide where the funds raised during the annual campaign are invested, or allocated. They review programs organized according to the four impact areas of Education, Financial Stability, Health, and Emergency Assistance & Basic Human Needs. Volunteers need to simply have an interest in helping to better their community and may choose an impact area and panel that fit their interests and time schedule.
The “Education” impact area includes programs that help people of all ages to achieve their potential; “Financial Stability” includes programs that help people to achieve financial stability; “Health” includes programs that help people to live life in a healthy way; and “Emergency Assistance and Basic Human Needs” includes programs that provide resources to people in need of immediate assistance. Last year 65 citizens from around Ottawa County volunteered during the community investment process. They decided where $1.2 million in funds were allocated across 63 programs of 38 nonprofit agencies that serve Ottawa County.
“The community investment process is what helps make United Way unique,” says Liz De La Luz Vanderby, Director of Community Impact for Greater Ottawa County United Way. “You have community members making decisions that affect the community where they live and work. It’s a great way to learn about all the services that make up Ottawa County.”
Hillary Hovinga, public relations manager for Herrick District Library, coordinates the Library’s United Way campaign and also serves as a Community Investment Panel member. She said, “Taking part in the community investment process is not just a wonderful way to learn more about all the organizations that are making a difference in the community, it’s also an affirmation that United Way holds every organization accountable for the money they receive.”
The Community Investment Process begins with a brief volunteer training session in late January. Volunteers are assigned to panels, or teams. Each panel is assigned from four to eight different applications for review. Each volunteer receives a 3-ring binder containing the applications and agency information, along with study materials about United Way’s community impact model. Panel members will have a pre-tour meeting to review all panel applications; two weeks later the panels visit the agencies to learn all about the programs and the impact they have on the community. After the tours are complete, the panels meet (either in the morning or the evening) to discuss the applications and make their recommendations. One member of the panel, called the panel leader, finalizes the panel’s recommendations, which are then represented to United Way’s Board of Directors.
The volunteer time commitment averages about 20 hours over a two-month period.
This year, community investment volunteer training is scheduled for Monday, January 25 from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Holland Police Department’s Community Room, 89 W. 8th St. in Holland (lunch provided) or Monday, January 25 from 5:00-6:30 p.m. at the JSJ Corp. Training Center, 700 Robbins Road in Grand Haven (snacks provided). Volunteers need attend only one of the sessions.
Grand Haven Downtown Christmas Tree Walk to Benefit United Way
The Main Street DDA of Grand Haven and the downtown merchants are holding a downtown Christmas Tree Walk through the month of December, beginning December 5th. Participating businesses will have a 3-4ft tall tree decorated in creative themes for Christmas--displayed either inside the business or on the sidewalk in front. The trees will be truly unique. There are over twenty businesses participating which should make for a fun walking tour of downtown. Besides adding to the festive Christmas atmosphere, the trees will be "working for good" because people can vote for their favorite tree by donating loose change, dollar bills or more and the money collected in the voting containers will be donated to Greater Ottawa County United Way. Each store will have a box where donations can be made and a store winner will be announced in January. Each store will also have a full listing of participating businesses so that you can make sure to visit each one! Participating businesses include:
The Frame and Mat Shop
Aberdeens Children's Clothing
Bodacious Babes Emporium and Tea Room
Down To Earth
VerDuin's Inc. Printing and Advertising
Rock N Road (N. 7th St.)
The Paper Place
That Hat (in the Piano Factory)
Santo Stefano del Lago
The Store of Grand Haven
Tri-Cities Historical Museum
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