United Way kicks off $380,000 fundraising campaign.

October 13, 2015

  By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — United Way of Mason County held its 2015/2016 fundraising campaign kickoff celebration and awards ceremony Wednesday afternoon at the Cartier Mansion. The agency’s fundraising goal is $380,000.00. Last year, the fundraising goal of $370,000 was exceeded by 2.5% with $379,165.89 raised.

During the 2014/2015 fiscal year, the agency had a 13% increase in revenue from the previous year, while maintaining expenses and lowering management and general and fundraising costs by 8.8%.  Overhead cost for the agency is 18%.  

United Way provided funding to 18 local programs in its three focus areas of education, financial stability and health.

It also continued to serve as the fiscal agent for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) Emergency Solutions Grant for a four-county area, a grant that assists with providing emergency housing assistance; 2-1-1 information and referral for a six-county area, a service that is financially supported by private and non-private sectors and provides a centralized location for people to locate needed health and human services 24 hours a day, seven days a week; Volunteer West Michigan, a partnership with Ludington and Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce and Mason County District Library which provides a centralized location for non-profit agencies to post volunteer opportunities and for individuals to explore various volunteer opportunities in our county.  

“We continue to play a leadership role in the Lakeshore Employer Resource Network of Mason County,” said Lynne Russell, executive director. “Currently, there are 12 member companies representing over 15% of the workforce.  An on-site success coach works with employees to remove barriers that may prevent them from being successful at work.  Starting this month they will be kicking off a shared employee training program.   

“We played a leadership role in the expansion of the Mason County Family Link Program.  We have hired two full-time community school coordinators and two site team clinicians.  They work on-site at each of the three school districts, alongside the Department of Health and Human Services Success coach.

“The program is designed to reduce barriers that may prevent children and families from being successful and allowing teachers and administrators to do what they do best: educate our children.   This initiative is being initially funded through United Way of Mason County, The Paine Family Foundation and Pennies from Heaven Foundation.”

United Way also recently entered into a partnership with the Great Start Collaborative through the West Shore Educational Service District to work with service providers on utilizing a common developmental assessment tool, along with providing support to families and day care providers with children under the age of five.  

“The goal is to ensure that our children are developmentally ready to learn and succeed when they enter kindergarten,” Russell said.

“Last of all, we are playing a leadership role in the development of the Lakeshore Resource Network, which will include a centralized food pantry.”

The food pantry will be located in the former Lakeshore Lumber building located on East Tinkham Avenue.

“In my 30 years of working in the non-profit sector I am amazed by the synergy that has been created over the last three years with the willingness of business, health and human service organizations, government, educational institutions and the faith community to come together to find long-term solutions to our community’s most critical issues,” Russell said. “Together, we are recognizing that our work around education, financial stability and health is all interrelated and to make real change we cannot work independent of each other.

“While our journey has just began, I am very excited to see what the next five years will bring.”


2015 Campaign Cabinet Members include chairs David and Kate Glancy of Glancy Law Firm; Steve and Sue Brown, past campaign chairs, Photography By Sue Brown; Christine Hayes, Metalworks; Derik Heimerdinger, Waddell and Reed; Bobbi Spence, Metalworks.

The 2014/2015 largest total contributor with 50 or more employees was Metalworks, raising $50,434.56. Metalworks also was the largest employee contributor will more than 50 employees at $25,217.28 while Consumers Energy was the largest total contributor with less than 50 employees, raising $9,108.12. Consumers Energy’s Ludington Pumped Storage employees were the largest employee contributor at $5,598.31. The highest percentage of employees who gave (with 50 or more employees) was City of Ludington with 78.6% participation; Lenz-Balder (less than 50 employees) was 92.3%. West Shore Community College received the most improved campaign (more than 50 employees) with a 123% increase in giving by 11.8% employees. PNC Bank (less than 50 employees) saw a 19% increase with 10% participation.

FloraCraft received special recognition with the Campaign Cabinet Choice Award for its innovative way of for raising funds, which was its Santa’s Workshop outreach program.



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