Greater Ottawa County United Way is proud to announce that it has raised 70% of its $2.2 million goal for the 2019-2020 annual community campaign. The amount raised so far will affect nearly 48,000 people in the county. United Way’s goal is to raise enough money by mid-March to impact the lives 65,000 people in the year ahead.
31% of the people in Ottawa County are living below the ALICE (Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed) threshold. Those who fall into the ALICE population have an income above the Federal Poverty Level, but still struggle to afford basic household necessities. They are working hard, but not getting ahead. In addition to meeting the needs of the ALICE population, Greater Ottawa County United Way is working to address the underlying causes that prevent people from living up to their full potential.
During the annual community campaign, United Way asks community members to make an investment in the well-being of our neighbors by giving any amount they can. A gift of $1 per week provides 180 meals for families in need. A gift of $2 per week provides transportation for students to attend 75 hours of after-school tutoring. A gift of $3 per week provides nearly $5,000 worth of prescription assistance to those in need. A gift of $5 per week provides 12 hours of trauma therapy for adults, teens or children.
Funds raised during the campaign are invested back into the local communities in Ottawa County. For each $1 invested, Greater Ottawa County creates $3.50 in community benefit. United Way’s Vice President of Development Tracy Plummer said, “We are proud of how our community responds to the needs in Ottawa County on an ongoing basis. The challenges we face require thousands of people to bring their time, talent and treasure to the table. Together, we work to address these challenges through research-based approaches that lead to positive outcomes and long term, systemic change.”
Currently, 51 programs run by 38 nonprofit organizations in the county receive funding, as well as several funds, initiatives and collaboratives. These programs make an impact in the areas of education, financial stability, health and basic needs of Ottawa County residents. The community campaign wraps up on March 26 at the annual Celebration event.
United Way is proud to partner with local businesses and organizations to raise dollars through workplace campaigns. Employees have the opportunity to invest in our community by giving, advocating and volunteering through United Way. So far, Haworth, Inc. and Shape Corp. lead the way with workplace giving, collectively raising half a million dollars for this year’s campaign. Their support, along with hundreds of businesses, make a powerful impact in the lives of the people in Ottawa County.
Leadership donors who give $500 or more during the campaign year have an opportunity to double their gift, thanks to the Ottawa County Leadership Challenge, a $90,000 match grant from generous local donors. This match is available for new gifts of $500 or more from anyone living or working in Ottawa County. Any increase from previous leadership givers will also be matched. Donors 40 years of age and under are able to join the Lighthouse Leadership Circle and double their impact with a first-time donation of $250 or an increase in last year’s gift. Lighthouse Leadership Circle members enjoy access to exclusive volunteer, advocacy, and networking opportunities.
Ottawa County residents who are not part of a workplace campaign can donate to United Way and search for volunteer opportunities online at www.ottawaunitedway.org, text OTTAWA to 91999 or mail a donation to Greater Ottawa County United Way, PO Box 1349, Holland, MI 49422.
As an incentive, first-time donors who pledge or donate $1 per week ($52) to the 2019-20 community campaign, or any previous giver who donates or pledges $52 more than he/she pledged in last year’s campaign, will be entered into a drawing to win an all-inclusive, 3-night stay plus airfare for two to a resort in Key West, Florida. More information is available at www.ottawaunitedway.org/prize-drawing. No campaign dollars are used to purchase this incentive. This trip is funded by United Way’s generous campaign sponsors.
The United Way Board of Directors and staff would like to thank the generous LIVE UNITED sponsors who help to underwrite campaign expenses. Pinnacle sponsors are Fifth Third Bank and Shape Corp. Platinum sponsors are: Consumers Energy, The Grand Haven Tribune, Haworth, Johnny Advertising, WGHN radio, WHTC/The Van Radio, and Worksighted. Gold sponsors are: A.D. Bos Vending Services, Inc., Barber Ford, DeNooyer Chevrolet, The Holland Sentinel, Huntington Bank, Itex/West Michigan Barter Co., Inc, Joy99/The Pledge radio, Manpower, Varnum and West Michigan Community Bank. Silver sponsors are: City Flats Hotel, Fox 17 and PADNOS.