Verplanks to Lead Ottawa County United Way Community Campaign

Tony and Monica Verplank of Spring Lake are the 2014-15 Greater Ottawa County United Way Community Campaign Co-chairs, and this morning they met with their campaign cabinet during a breakfast at the Ottawa County Administration Complex in West Olive “to fire up the troops” for the upcoming campaign, which launches September 18.

The Verplanks are longtime supporters of United Way, both personally and through successful workplace campaigns at the Shape family of companies in Grand Haven and Spring Lake. Tony is president of Pliant Plastics Corporation in Spring Lake. He has served on United Way‘s board of directors and the board of directors for the Chamber of Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Ferrysburg, serving as board chair for both. He also serves on several for-profit boards. Tony received a BA in finance from Michigan State University and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.

Monica Verplank has served as a trustee on various community boards including the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, Spring Lake Schools Foundation, Grand Haven Schools Foundation, North Bank Communities Fund, and Kandu, Inc. She served as assistant superintendent for Instructional Services at Grand Haven Area Public Schools. She is a master educator in yoga, meditation and Ayurveda through the Chopra Center for Well-being, and a certified Ayurvedic Life-Style Consultant through the American Institute of Vedic Studies. Monica has a deep passion for teaching, learning and assisting others in their own self-improvement.

Tony and Monica are no strangers to campaigning, having served as the Lighthouse Leadership Circle co-chairs for the north county in the 2010-11 campaign. They are deeply dedicated to our community and are passionate about creating equity and helping others to find life success through education, training and innovation.

The Verplanks lead a campaign cabinet of 30 volunteers from area companies, organizations and agencies who have been working throughout the summer to launch the campaign. Cabinet members are meeting with the heads of nearly 200 major firms, small businesses, professional offices and governmental units in the county to thank them for their past support and lend any assistance they may require in setting up their 2014-15 workplace campaigns. Ten volunteer account managers also support the United Way staff in helping to run those campaigns and make them as successful as possible.

When asked about plans for this year’s campaign, Monica Verplank said, “We believe our challenge this year is to be strategic in reaching all the people in Ottawa County who can participate in the campaign, because we believe that United Way is the best way for us to come together as neighbors and create effective local solutions to local problems. Through United Way, the community asks, ‘Where are the gaps?’ and then collaborates to fill those gaps – whether they are in education, health, financial stability, or basic needs.”

Tony Verplank added, “When we look at the fact that, for every dollar given to the campaign last year, we realize $3.50 in community benefit this year, we want to meet—and surpass—our goals because it’s the most cost-effective way to invest in our community.”

Monica Verplank will announce the community campaign goal at Grand Haven Campground in Grand Haven Township at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 18. Hundreds of volunteers will be gathered there for lunch sponsored and prepared by AD Bos Vending Services, Inc. of Holland, with additional donations from Hillshire Brands of Zeeland. This annual volunteer lunch takes place as part of the community-wide Day of Caring, which is the largest one-day volunteer event in Ottawa County. The campaign announcement will be carried live on WGHN 92.1 FM.

Many of the costs of the campaign are underwritten by generous sponsors. This year, Fifth Third Bank has become the campaign’s first-ever Pinnacle Sponsor. Holland Sentinel, Grand Haven Tribune and STAR 105.7 FM are Platinum sponsors; A.D. Bos Vending Services, Inc., Consumers Energy, Johnny Advertising and Huntington Bank are gold sponsors; and DeNooyer Chevrolet, Harbor Industries, Haworth, Itex Trade Exchange/West MI Barter Co., PADNOS, Manpower, United Federal Credit Union, Varnum Law, West Michigan Community Bank and WGHN 92.1 FM are silver sponsors.

“Sponsor dollars ensure that donor contributions can be reinvested back into our local community. This year, 56 programs of 42 local nonprofit agencies are receiving and leveraging United Way community investment dollars, and their work touches the lives of tens of thousands of people in Ottawa County,” Tony Verplank said.

To give, advocate or volunteer, visit www.ottawaunitedway.org, or telephone (616) 396-7811 in Holland or (616) 842-7130 in Grand Haven.