Greater Ottawa County United Way would like to announce that it has reached the 60% mark of its $2.5 million goal for the annual community campaign. The campaign runs through the end of March, and the funds raised are used to improve education, financial stability, health and meet the basic needs of Ottawa County residents. Approximately one quarter of the population is reached directly by the programs and initiatives of Greater Ottawa County United Way. The entire community benefits from United Way’s holistic approach to community impact.


United Way President Patrick Moran said, “Every year, more than 10,000 people partner with United Way to advance the common good in Ottawa County. When you volunteer or donate, you can be a powerful part of the force for good right in your own community. We hear stories every day about how people are affected by our work. In fact, during the holidays this year, our ‘Give Heat and Meals’ effort was able to raise enough money to provide more than 220 days of heat and more than 3,500 meals to local struggling families.” Moran added, “Although it is helpful to provide for people’s basic needs, United Way does so much more. We fund 55 effective human service programs, develop partnerships between existing agencies, launch new initiatives to address unmet needs, and collaborate with agencies, organizations, business leaders and community stakeholders to identify and address ways to help all people to reach their full potential.” To discover how you can get involved, visit www.ottawaunitedway.org.


Campaign Chairs John and Martha Gork would like to recognize the key role local companies play in reaching the campaign goal. Businesses showing an increase in their United Way workplace campaign are the City of Grand Haven, Woodward, West Michigan Community Bank, A. D. Bos Vending Services Dr. Pepper Snapple, West Michigan Fleet Parts, Herrick District Library, Semco, Purple Cow Creamery, Holland Charter Township and Grand Haven Public Schools. “Our corporate partners and their employees truly care about their community and want to engage in meaningful ways. For some, that may mean volunteering an hour of their time each month and for others it’s giving $1 or more out of each paycheck to the annual campaign,” John said.  “Those volunteer hours and the money raised are invested in our community, helping our neighbors at every stage of life.”


Martha said, “Despite the success of reaching the 60% mark, we still need the community’s help if we are going reach our goal. John and I believe in the LIVE UNITED movement, the concept of each one of us giving a little, so together, united, we can have a powerful impact on our community. We invite all the people of Ottawa County to join us and to GIVE, ADVOCATE or VOLUNTEER. This is how we invest in our community making it an even better place to live, work and play.”


Ottawa County residents who are not part of a workplace campaign can still donate to United Way and search for volunteer opportunities 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 third year, any first-time giver who pledges or donates $1 per week ($52) to the 2015-16 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 Ziva Puerto Vallarta Resort. More information is available at www.ottawaunitedway.org/prize-drawing. No campaign dollars are used to purchase this incentive. The trip is provided by our generous sponsors.


For the thirteenth year, 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. For the second year, 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. To learn more about leadership giving, visit: www.ottawaunitedway.org/lighthouse-leadership-circle or call Director of Major Gifts Louann Werksma at (616) 610-1338.