Celebration 2020


Please join us in celebrating our volunteers, donors, and community partners, and all the
good work that's been done in Ottawa County in 2020!







United Way’s top Honor, the G.W. Haworth Strength of the Community Award is a “lifetime achievement award” that recognizes an organization, family, couple, or individual that exemplifies United Way’s leadership spirit of volunteering, philanthropy and community decision-making. Congratulations Ottawa County!

Click to watch the Video!


Volunteer of the Year Award

Congratulations to our Volunteer of the Year – Volunteer Emergency Response Team (VERT)!
This group of 231 volunteers has done some important work this year, and we are grateful!

Volunteer Stars

Look at these lists of amazing volunteers!
We are so grateful for each and every one of you who donated of yourselves to help in our community.

Relationship Managers

Please join us in honoring the volunteer Relationship Managers who work with local businesses to meet their community engagement goals.
These volunteers act as liaisons, meeting with their accounts to plan fun, effective workplace campaigns, offer engagement/volunteer opportunities, and provide information about local resources like 211 and so much more. They nurture these relationships on behalf of United Way because they understand the positive impact on our community when we LIVE UNITED.

Gold & Silver Award

Greater Ottawa County United way is pleased to announce the 2021 Gold & Silver Campaign Award recipients.
We are proud to partner with these truly outstanding companies and nonprofit organizations. It is our honor to recognize them for their important contribution to our community.



Above & Beyond Award

Congratulations to the 2021 Above & Beyond Award recipient, Pliant Plastics United Way Committee.
This group has gone above and beyond to add excitement to their campaign and encourage volunteering.

Community Builder Award

Announcing the 2021 Community Builder Awards - Children’s Advocacy Center and Pliant Plastics.

Thank you to these organizations for their year-round partnership with United Way!


Out of the Box Award

Congratulations to the City of Grand Haven for winning the Out of the Box Award this year!
This award is given to the organization with the most creative approach to engagement with United Way. This year, Grand Haven City Manager, Pat McGinnis, spent the night in a bucket truck when his team met their goal.
Thanks to all the City staff for thinking outside the box and supporting our community!


Pinnacle of Partnership Award

Congratulations to Community Action House, winner of our Pinnacle of Partnership Award!
Throughout this pandemic, Community Action House has taken care of the needs of those in our community who have been struggling the most – and they continue to do so.
Watch this video to see the important work Community Action House has done in the last year.
And THANK YOU to the staff of Community Action House!


Community Impact Committee

This group of individuals is crucial to overseeing the Impact Area of United Way. This year, they stepped up and met monthly allocation decisions throughout the pandemic.
THANK YOU Community Impact Committee!

Community Investment Awards

Congratulations and THANK YOU to the winners of our Community Investment Award!
Community Investment is unique process we use to ensure that community-raised dollars are invested in programs that align with the United Way's four key impact areas – Education, Financial Stability/Basic Needs, Health, and Affordable Housing.


Lakeshore Housing Alliance Committee Members

THANK YOU to this group of individuals that are crucial to overseeing the work of the Lakeshore Housing Alliance!



Campaign Chair

Our heartfelt thanks to the 2020-2021 Campaign Chair, Keith Van Beek!
A longstanding advocate of United Way’s efforts, he has served on our Board of Directors since 2013 in roles including Treasurer and Chair. As a government leader and long-time resident, Van Beek brought a wealth of knowledge of local community needs, is an advocate of building strong partnerships, and has a vision of growth and prosperity for a better life for all residents in Ottawa County.
Under Keith's leadership our fundraising efforts fueled our COVID response and recovery, ensuring accesses to vital services like food, shelter, mental health services and so much more. Thank you Keith, for your leadership!


Lynn Sherwood Lighthouse Leadership Award

We are proud to celebrate Midge Verplank, the recipient of this year's Lynn Sherwood Lighthouse Leadership Award!

Midge has been a beacon of light for our community, personally investing time, talent, and treasure to make West Michigan a great place to live and work. Midge's lifetime of finding solutions for community problems and always being a light that this community could reply on, particularly in a pandemic year, is why Greater Ottawa County United Way selected him to receive this award. On behalf of all the neighbors who have made it safely home thanks to your light, we thank you, Midge!

And thank you to www.hoeksmaphoto.com for creating this stunning award.

Click to watch the Video!


Steering committee members

Every three years, United Way does a Community Assessment. This group of individuals is crucial to to making this assessment come to fruition.
THANK YOU to our Steering Committee Members!