Stacie Behler, left, chair of Heart of West Michigan United Way board, Blake Krueger, center, 2013 campaign chair, and Maureen Noe, president and CEO, Heart of West Michigan United Way, thank the community for their support. Courtesy United Way
The 2013 fundraising numbers are in for a local nonprofit — along with a new set of awards for the community.
Heart of West Michigan United Way in Grand Rapids said last week that its annual campaign to support Kent County’s health and human services programs raised $12,001,000.
The campaign total was announced at the nonprofit’s inaugural Celebrate United event at the Goei Center in Grand Rapids.
The event was also an opportunity to present the United Way’s first-ever community awards: the Give Award, Advocate Award and Volunteer Award.
The Give Award, which is presented to a company that has been generous to the community, went to Fifth Third Bank.
Fifth Third Bank created "a culture of giving amongst its employees, who raise and donate gifts to multiple organizations throughout Kent County each year, in addition to significant corporate gifts granted by Fifth Third Bank directly,” the United Way said. “The involvement and generosity of Fifth Third Bank and its employees continues to provide critical support for the important work being done to improve community conditions throughout Kent County.”
The Advocate Award, which is presented to a nonprofit or individual that exemplifies humanitarian causes, went to Rev. Peggy Lawrence Burns for her work at the Grand Rapids-based Gerontology Network, which provides quality-of-life-enhancing support for senior citizens.
“Rev. Burns has not only advocated and championed the cause of seniors on a local and national level, she has also helped seniors advocate on behalf of themselves in order to bring their voice to legislators directly,” the United Way said. “Through contributions of her time, guidance and voice in support of improving older adult issues, Rev. Burns’ efforts will have a lasting impact in Kent County.”
The Volunteer Award, which is presented to a company that offers year-round volunteer opportunities, went to Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
In 2013, Cooley’s students, faculty and staff donated more than 2,270 hours of pro bono legal services and more than 1,000 hours of non-legal service in the community, according to the United Way.
“Because of the active involvement of Cooley Law School’s students, faculty and staff, community conditions are improving in Kent County,” the United Way said.