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United Way Eclipses $4 Million, Sets Record
Thursday night’s United Way of Southwest Michigan Annual Celebration proved that the community is in good hands. The non-profit organization set a lofty campaign goal of $4 million last year, and the work put in by Berrien and Cass county donors, volunteers and community members paid off. United Way set another record, attaining a historic $4,186,203 in 2016.
The night may have been highlighted by the money raised, but was decorated by the lives changed. The attainment presenters were recipients of United Way services. Nate Whitelow has been a Foster Grandparent through Area Agency on Aging for almost five years. Foster Grandparents is a program funded by United Way. Nate was able to take to the stage to help reveal the attainment. A former United Way staffer, Angela Brownie helped establish Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library back in 2009. Now, her children are enrolled in the reading program. She, too, took to the stage to help reveal the attainment.
“It was a very special evening. There was a lot of hard work put into making this event possible,” stated United Way of Southwest Michigan President, Anna Murphy. “When you surpass your goal, you have to give credit to the community. We did this together, and together we are able to change more lives because of it. We are grateful to all of donors, volunteers and community members who helped make this happen.”
As the night’s finale video stated, United Way is more than the fundraisers; they’re the “hand-raisers,” the “game-changers.” More than 72,000 people across Berrien and Cass counties were served in 2016 through United Way, nearly one-third of the population of the two counties combined. Over $3.1 million of state and federal funds were leveraged through United Way funding. And volunteers racked up over 32,400 hours of service, a value of more than $764,000. The numbers only go on.
"2016 was an amazing year. It was such an honor to work with so many dedicated people that are focused on the health, education and financial stability of everyone in our community — and to watch our community rally around these values through their giving was inspiring,” stated Ann Cardon, Superintendent of St. Joseph Public Schools and the 2016 United Way Campaign Chair.
United Way would like to thank the following sponsors for the event: 1st Source Bank, Lakeland Health, AEP, D.C. Cook Plant, Whirlpool Corporation, Gast Manufacturing, Honor Credit Union, and Andrews University.
2017 CAMPAIGN CABINET
Dan Peat, Kinexus – Co-Chair
Zack East, Mid-west Family Broadcasting – Co-Chair
Ann Cardon, St. Joseph Public Schools
ChelsiFesta, Gast Manufacturing
Elizabeth Door, Whirlpool Corporation
Joe Tanko, AEP, DC Cook Plant
Randy Hendrixson, Buchanan Chamber of Commerce
Tanya Urias, Honor Credit Union