United Way Campaign Reaches 40% of $2.5 Million Goal

As the temperatures drop, the mercury is rising on campaign thermometers across Ottawa County. Greater Ottawa County United Way staff and campaign volunteers are proud to announce that the United Way annual community campaign has reached 40% of its $2.5 million goal. Since the campaign kicked off on September 17, $1 million has been raised through workplace campaigns and individual donations. Campaign Chairs P.J. and Kristen Thompson, of Trans-Matic Manufacturing in Holland, are pleased with the campaign’s progress.

P.J. Thompson said, “I’m proud of the way our business community supports United Way. Nearly 200 companies in Ottawa County are running United Way campaigns, knowing that their support is helping people to achieve their full potential and creating a stronger community for all of us.”

He added, “When an organization partners with United Way, it doesn’t just give. It also receives benefits such as leadership skills development and community volunteer opportunities for employees, enhanced company image in the community, workforce stability and awareness of community resources that can help our employees and their families in times of need.”

Kristen Thompson said, “P.J. and I feel that Ottawa County is special in the way we care about our friends and neighbors. Especially during the holiday season, we all want to help those who need it most. But what happens when the holidays are over? I challenge our community to make a difference all year long by making a gift to Greater Ottawa County United Way. United Way leverages every dollar donated through matching grants and volunteerism and, in return, the people in Ottawa County receive $3.70 in community benefit. That’s a great return on investment.”

As an incentive to contribute to the campaign, anyone who pledges or donates $1 per week ($52) for the first time, or any previous giver who donates or pledges $52 more than he/she gave 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 Ziva Puerto Vallarta Resort.

“No campaign dollars were used to offer this incentive,” United Way President Patrick Moran noted. “It was provided by our generous sponsors who want to see the campaign grow.” More information is available at www.ottawaunitedway.org/prize-drawing.

Another incentive, offered by 14 community leaders, is the Ottawa County Leadership Challenge. This challenge grant will match dollar for dollar all new leadership gifts ($500 and up) to United Way's 2016-17 community campaign, up to a total of $80,000. Donors who gave at the leadership level last year can also leverage their gift by increasing it - and the amount of the increase will be matched. In order to earn the $80,000 challenge, at least $80,000 in new and increased leadership level gifts must be raised by March 23, 2017, when the current community campaign wraps up. To learn more about leadership giving or the challenge match, contact Louann Werksma at (616) 610-2661 or lwerksma@ottawaunitedway.org, or visit www.OttawaUnitedWay.org/lighthouse-leadership-circle.

The funds raised during the annual campaign stay in Ottawa County and improve the lives of more than 1 in 4 residents. Donations from the community are invested in 58 effective programs run by 44 local nonprofit agencies that are making an impact in education, financial stability, health and basic needs. Program funding is determined through a rigorous community investment process by panels of community members. To view the programs funded by United Way, go to: www.ottawaunitedway.org/community-partners. In addition to funding programs, United Way supports, develops and implements a range of impact solutions (in data-driven issue areas) that improve lives and create stronger local communities.

To learn more about how a United Way campaign can benefit your organization and the community, contact Tracy Plummer at tplummer@ottawaunitedway.org or (616) 396-7811 x202.

There are several easy ways to donate to United Way for those who aren’t able to give through a workplace campaign. Community members may give online at www.ottawaunitedway.org, mail a donation to Greater Ottawa County United Way, PO Box 1349, Holland, MI 49422 or text OTTAWA to 91999.