United Way West Michigan sets $12.5M goal for 2013


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.

Donor base

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.”

Campaign Cabinet

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

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