At our Annual Celebration on April 25, we honored businesses and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to our community.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AWARDS
These awards recognize volunteers who have made a commitment to impact their community through their continuous acts of service. They have all been nominated for Michigan Governor’s Service Awards on behalf of a grateful community.
Jocelyn Hines, Youth Volunteer of the Year
Jocelyn may be young, but at 24 years old has already become a beacon of light in her community. She is a role model to her peers through her work and success at Michigan State University and her work as an advocate for community growth and prosperity in Muskegon Heights. She was in the first group of students in our summer youth internship program, and went on to college and is back serving our community in her role at the Community Foundation. In the last 3 years, Jocelyn has volunteered hundreds of hours to build stronger communities, including serving as vice chair for the United Way Community Engagement Committee. Most recently, she helped start the Young Black Professionals group in Muskegon. Jocelyn is leading the way for positive change in our community. Read more about Jocelyn here.
Donielle Routt, Volunteer of the Year
Donielle is known for her involvement in the community, especially for leading events and programs that promote health and education, including serving as a Girl Scout Leader. She was our Ride United chair for several years and still remains actively involved in the event. Donielle has supported United Way campaigns as both company campaign coordinator and a loaned executive. Her high energy and fun loving spirit makes her a joy to volunteer with. Donielle makes sure that everyone around her is having a great time serving, and an even better time building relationships that will last a lifetime. Read more about Donielle here.
Mildred Johnson, Senior Volunteer of the Year
At 84 years old, Mildred continues to volunteer in her community daily, living her motto “If I can help someone, then living my life has not been in vain”. Her generosity and service stretch from her birthplace in Brownsville, Tennessee all the way to her forever home in Muskegon Heights. There are not many in her community who have not been touched by Mildred’s kindness; she truly shows us how a person with humility, elegance, and intelligence leads by example. Mildred is a gift to our community through a lifetime of service to others. Read more about Mildred here.
Rick & Nancy Peters, Mentors of the Year
Thanks to Rick and Nancy’s master gardening skills, a small garden was started at Martin Luther King Elementary in Muskegon Heights, to teach students about nutrition by growing their own fresh fruits and vegetables. Eight years later, children are also learning science and math from the garden, their families are learning how to cook healthy meals, and the program has expanded into two schools and a community garden, so that many more can learn and grow. Through their love of gardening and service, Rick and Nancy are nurturing the development of children and adults in our community.
Anne & Allan Dake, Lifetime Humanitarian Award
Working as a dynamic and tireless duo over the last eight years, Anne and Allan have created a museum that gives our community a new understanding of the working people, the industries, and the men and women through the decades who built Muskegon into what it is today. They have recruited and expertly organized a unique culture of volunteers, 80 strong, whose sense of ownership and pride in the Muskegon Heritage Museum is quite evident. Anne and Allan's efforts are helping us celebrate and honor our heritage as a community.
Steve Olsen, Lifetime Achievement Award
Over many years, Steve’s tremendous generosity in financial capital has been matched by his donation of time and care by working with many community organizations. He has played a role in countless successful projects that have continued to make the Muskegon community better and brighter, committing his time, attention, knowledge, and commitment to each and every non-profit or project he adopts. Steve,'s constant and consistent generosity and attention to the needs of our community are helping lead the way to a brighter future for all.
LEGACY OF CARING AWARD
The Legacy of Caring award recognizes a lifetime of incredible philanthropy, resulting in a lasting impact on the lives of so many in our community. United Way’s strength is built on the foundation of these caring leaders. The 2018 Legacy of Caring award was presented to Brad and Janice Hilleary. The Hillearys truly embody the spirit of United Way of the Lakeshore’s mission; their generosity to United Way and our community over the years is immeasurable. Through Brad's leadership, Webb Chemical executes one of our top workplace campaigns, engaging employees through special events and a company match. They have opened their hearts and home to over 60 foster children and Janice continues to be a leader and advocate for children in foster care. Read more about Brad and Janice here.
COMMUNITY BUILDER AWARDS
To build a community it takes a solid foundation, good people, and a strong investment. This award goes to organizations that participate in various philanthropic efforts and believe that by working with United Way, we can change lives.
The 2018 Award Recipients were:
Muskegon County, whose employees participated in Day of Caring, helped “Fill the Truck” with needed supplies, partnered in collaborative community impact projects, and increased their employee workplace campaign by 5.5%.
Raymond James Downtown Muskegon employees were engaged in community impact work, community events, and leadership development with the United Way of the Lakeshore, plus they increased their workplace campaign by 8.6%, making them a leading account in the Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate division.
Sun Chemical and USW Local 987 provided leadership on the United Way Board of Directors and several community initiatives, worked on Day of Caring projects, and increased their employee workplace campaign by 4.5%.
Norden/Adamzcak Investment Group of Raymond James employees supported community events such as Fashion and Frolic and G.O.L.F. for the Cure and engaged in community impact work with United Way and other local agencies, plus they increased their workplace campaign by 8.6%, making them a leading account in the Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate division.
Kay Williams, Director of the Hart Area Public Library and “Friends of the Hart Library”, was instrumental in expanding the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program to include children who live in Oceana County; through Kay’s leadership, additional partners have joined in their support to keep the program going and growing.
Magna Mirrors, where in addition to their annual corporate donation, employees in Newaygo, under the direction of Nancy Rath, Human Resources Manager, re-started an annual employee campaign, the first since 2011. They more than doubled the number of employees donating to United Way with this renewed commitment to their community.
The Spirit of the Lakeshore Award
Our most prestigious company award is the Spirit of the Lakeshore, given to the organization that embodies the “spirit” of who United Way is and why we do what we do, an organization that sets an example for others. The 2018 recipient of the Spirit of the Lakeshore Award is Nichols, for their phenomenal investment in improving the education of children in our community. Nichols has been a key partner in launching and continuing the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which provides children birth to 5 years of age a free book each month, providing a matching grant each year. In addition to helping our littlest learners, Nichols helps our high school graduates as one of the largest contributors to the Muskegon Area Promise. Nichols also hosted a “spirit week” for their workplace campaign, leading to a 27% increase in employee giving. Read more about Nichols here.