On Thursday, September 20, Greater Ottawa County United Way hosted its 17th annual Day of Caring in Ottawa County. More than 1,200 volunteers teamed up to help local nonprofit organizations with 45 projects around the county throughout the day. Vice President of Volunteer Engagement Shannon LaHaie said, “Day of Caring is a great way to connect local businesses to nonprofit organizations. The help they are receiving amounts to $211,900 in labor support for our nonprofit community. We are so grateful for our generous community and the impact their volunteer efforts have throughout Ottawa County.”


Beginning around noon, volunteers gathered at Camp Geneva for a volunteer appreciation cookout, with food (and grilling skills!) donated by A.D. Bos Vending Services and Tyson Foods. While volunteers enjoyed their lunch, Greater Ottawa County United Way kicked off its 2018-19 annual community campaign when United Way President Patrick Moran announced this year’s goal of $2.5 million.


Lyndsie Post, of Next Creative Co. is the chair the 2018-2019 campaign, which runs from September 2018 through March 2019. Lyndsie said, “I’m excited to be chairing the campaign this year. I have volunteered with United Way for a number of years in many different roles including the community investment panels that make the funding decisions. I’ve had an opportunity to see the positive impact on our community as a result of United Way’s work, particularly in the area of education, where kids are entering school ready to learn, receiving support for successful school progression and completing post secondary experiences which lead to sustaining employment. This work in education is the cornerstone to the financial stability and health of one in four of our neighbors in Ottawa County. But, we can’t do it alone; we need the support of our community to make sure this work can continue. A gift to the annual campaign will accomplish that goal. Every dollar invested in United Way creates $3.70 in community benefit - what a great return on an investment!”


As an incentive to attract new donors to the campaign, campaign sponsors are offering the popular “Two Tickets to Paradise” campaign drawing. Anyone who pledges $1 per week for the first time or increases their pledge by $1 a week will be entered into a drawing to win a trip for two to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. Details can be found at www.ottawaunitedway.org/prize-drawing.


Leadership donors who give $500 or more during the campaign year are a powerful force for good in our community. For the third year, the Ottawa County Leadership Challenge, a $93,000 (and growing) match grant from generous local donors, 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. New this year is a Young Leaders match. 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. More information is available at www.ottawaunitedway.org/lighthouse-leadership-circle.


The United Way Board of Directors and staff would like to thank the generous corporate partners and volunteers who make the annual Day of Caring possible. The Day of Caring lunch was provided by donations from Camp Geneva, A.D. Bos Vending Services and Tyson Foods of Zeeland. Day of Caring and community campaign expenses are underwritten by our generous campaign sponsors. Pinnacle sponsors are Fifth Third Bank and Shape Corp. Platinum sponsors are: Consumers Energy, The Grand Haven Tribune, Haworth, The Holland Sentinel, JQ99/The Pledge radio, Johnny Advertising, WGHN radio, WHTC/The Van Radio, and Worksighted. Gold sponsors are: A.D. Bos Vending Services, Inc., Barber Ford, DeNooyer Chevrolet, Huntington Bank, Manpower, Two Men and a Truck and West Michigan Community Bank. Silver sponsors are: City Flats Hotel, Fox 17, Itex/West Michigan Barter Co., Inc., PADNOS and Varnum Law.