Beth Cranson, of Warner Norcross, reads to Grand Rapids Public School students who are part of Schools of Hope, a Heart of West Michigan United Way program. Courtesy United Way
Heart of West Michigan United Way has big plans for the rest of this year.
The $12.5 million fundraising goal the nonprofit announced today is a two-percent increase from its goal of $12.15 million last year, which it surpassed, receiving $12.275 million, said Maureen Noe, president and CEO of Heart of West Michigan United Way.
“Last year, we were overwhelmed by the generosity of our community,” Noe said. “We hope Kent County will again help us to raise the funds needed to connect resources to important community issues surrounding the building blocks of a good life: education, income and health.”
Kent County goals
Heart of West Michigan United Way plans to address three issues with the campaign funds.
Income: assist 15,000 lower-income households to become financially stable by 2020
Education: reduce the high school drop-out rate in Kent County by half by 2020
Health: reduce rates of obesity and improve access to health care for all
These goals are expected to be met with funding from Heart of West Michigan United Way’s donors, such as Steelcase.
Steelcase will match dollar for dollar any new gift of $10,000 or more and any increase over 2012 to the Tocqueville Society, United Way’s donor society for anyone who contributes $10,000 or higher to Heart of West Michigan United Way.
During 2012, Heart of West Michigan United Way invested more than $10 million into its partner agencies and core internal programs.
More than 30,000 individuals and 540 businesses contributed to the 2012 campaign, serving more than 114,000 individuals.
“So many wonderful people and companies in Kent County support our organization,” said the nonprofit’s Board Chair Stacie Behler. “They understand that a gift to United Way is the most effective way to make a significant impact on the most pressing problems in Kent County. By combining dollars, volunteers and resources, United Way is able to do more to make our community a better place to live.”
Heart of West Michigan United Way has also revealed its 2013 Campaign Cabinet, led by Blake Krueger, chairman, president and CEO of Wolverine Worldwide.
Krueger said that fundraising has already begun through a number of “pacesetter campaigns” at some of the nonprofit’s leading businesses, including Fifth Third Bank, Meijer, Target and UPS.
“United Way is an effective and efficient way for businesses, nonprofits and individuals to leverage their gifts,” Krueger said. “With the challenges we continue to face in the economy, this year’s financial goal is aggressive, but, with the support of the entire community, we can do it.”
Heart of West Michigan United Way 2013 Campaign Cabinet
Blake Krueger, campaign chair, Wolverine Worldwide
Michael J. Jandernoa, campaign vice chair, MSJ Foundation
Nancy J. Ayres, community volunteer
Debra Bailey, Steelcase
Michael L. Bohnsack, Wolverine World Wide
Love Collins III, Van Andel Institute
Erick Conrad, Wolverine World Wide
Kaitlyn Disselkoen, Grand Rapids Outdoor
David Distel, O’Keefe
Mary C. Hartfield, Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore
Bob Herr, community volunteer
Robert B. Kaminski, Jr., Mercantile
Juan Olivarez, Aquinas College
Marcia Osborne, Jubilee Jobs
Richard Pappas, Davenport University
Tom Welch, Fifth Third Bank