United Way Campaign Nears 60% Mark

Greater Ottawa County United Way staff and campaign volunteers are watching the mercury rise on the campaign thermometers around Ottawa County. Completed workplace campaigns and individual donations received so far have pushed the community campaign to 57 percent of the $2.3 million goal.


Campaign Co-Chairs Monica and Tony Verplank said that United Way staff and campaign volunteers are out in force to raise at least 6 percent more than was raised last year. “That will get us to our goal of $2.3 million,” said Tony Verplank, President of Pliant Plastics Corporation in Spring Lake. He said that they are “leaving no stone unturned” as they strive to meet increasing needs among the 56 community partner programs supported by the campaign. So far, he noted, companies and individuals have responded generously and enthusiastically.


Several local company campaigns—Automatic Spring Products, West Michigan Molding, Macatawa Bank, Brilliance Audio, Great Lakes Castings, Elzinga and Volkers, SAF Holland  and Consumers Energy--have all posted increases over last year, including Shape Corporation who saw an increase of 11 percent.


“We continue to be very gratified by the community’s generosity. Ottawa County has proven itself a giving community that cares deeply about those in need. However, there are 110,000 working adults in Ottawa County, and if every one of them gave just $1 per week, we would raise more than $5 million, and we could break the cycle of poverty and financial instability being experience by nearly half of us.” Monica Verplank said.


United Way leverages every dollar donated through matching grants and volunteerism, United Way President Patrick Moran explained.  “For every dollar we raise in campaign, the community receives $3.50 in community benefit, which means a $2.3 million campaign results in more than $8 million in in community benefit. That’s a pretty good return on investment.” Moran emphasizes that all dollars donated in (or designated to) Ottawa County stay in Ottawa County and directly benefit approximately one in four county residents.


United Way improves lives in part through a rigorous community investment process that invests the community’s donations in effective programs of local nonprofit agencies that are making a difference in the areas of health, education, financial stability, and basic needs. The process is transparent, volunteer-driven, and ensures that every dollar donated is spent wisely where it is needed most,” Moran said. 


You don’t have to work where there is a workplace campaign to join the LIVE UNITED movement. Residents who are not able to participate in the campaign through their employer may give online at www.ottawaunitedway.org, or mail a donation to Greater Ottawa County United Way, PO Box 1349, Holland, MI  49422.


As an added incentive, for the second year, any first-time giver who pledges or donates $1 per week ($52) to the 2014-15 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, 5-night stay plus airfare for two at Hyatt Zilara Cancun Resort or Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos Resort. More information is available at www.ottawaunitedway.org. 


“No campaign dollars were used to offer this incentive,” Moran noted.  “It was provided by our generous sponsors who want to see the campaign grow.”


For the twelfth year in a row, new and increased leadership level gifts ($500 or more from one household) from Tri-Cities residents will be matched by an anonymous local donor up to a total of $30,000. Now, anonymous donors have committed $30,000 in matching dollars for new and increased leadership gifts from residents of Holland, Zeeland, West Olive, Jenison and Hudsonville.  Campaign officials are hoping this new leadership challenge grant will be met successfully. Anyone with questions may call Patrick Moran, President, at (616) 396-7811.