MUSKEGON – With days to go before the 100th day of their 100 Year Campaign, United Way of the Lakeshore reports pledges of $1.4 million or 60% of its $2.5 million goal.
“As we celebrate 100 Years of United Way of the Lakeshore, we look back on decades of caring and look forward to continued growth of an organization that is so important in our community,” said Campaign Chair Gary Nelund. “Reaching our campaign goal ensures that we can continue to be the mortar between the bricks of the organizations that are helping those in need in our community, so that no one falls between the cracks. Pledges raised in the campaign support over 76 local programs at local agencies, focusing on education, income stability, and health.”
Donations stay in our area to help neighbors who are in need, with funding decisions made by a committee of volunteers and donors who live in our community and volunteer to help determine the best use of funding.
One of the local programs that donations support is the Michigan Education Corps AmeriCorps Michigan Reading Corps tutoring program, a proven model that significantly accelerates literacy achievement for children age 3 to grade 3. United Way of the Lakeshore brought the original program to our community to help our older elementary students succeed, becoming a pilot site for the PreK program when it became available. PreK Reading Corps places one AmeriCorps tutor in each preschool classroom full-time to provide supplemental language and literacy rich interventions for every child. Results from the pilot pre-school program show that our kids start the year behind national averages. For three years, those enrolled in the program have shown enough growth by year end to score above national averages in 4 out of 5 indicators of school readiness.
“AmeriCorps not only changed my life in a short time, but it’s added much needed value to the lives of our future generation of children. I’ve noticed a change in the students in just two weeks. The transition song alone helps their minds to start running as it teaches them to ask who, what, when, why and where. My students want to know every aspect of books we read,” said one Reading Corps member serving our preschoolers.
United Way is grateful for the continued support of our business community, including ADAC Arconic, Cannon Muskegon, CWC Textron, Gray & Company, Nichols, Webb Chemical, among many others. Mercy Health leads the way with area healthcare providers, while Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, Muskegon Community College, and area school districts have also stepped up their support. While workplace campaigns and corporate giving remain the backbone of the fundraising campaign, United Way also relies on individual donations, including retirees.
“We’re thankful to all who have given so far,” Nelund said. “If everyone working and every retiree gave just $1 a week, we’d raise more than $4 million. The potential is great, and so are the needs. If you can give, even a little, please do so – every dollar helps! Although the 100th day is December 10, United Way will continue to accept donations towards the campaign goal after that date.”
People who would like to contribute and have not been contacted yet can call (231) 722-3134, visit www.unitedwaylakeshore.org/100Years100Days, or text 100Years100Days to 414-44.
In addition to raising funds to support our community, United Way of the Lakeshore connects volunteers to opportunities that match their interests. If you would like to volunteer, visit www.unitedwaylakeshore.org to get connected!
About United Way of the Lakeshore: United Way of the Lakeshore unites to inspire change and build thriving communities in Muskegon, Oceana and Newaygo counties. For more information, contact United Way of the Lakeshore at 231-722-3134 or visit www.unitedwaylakeshore.org.