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ERN Workplace Stability Traning: Increasing Retention & Productivity: October 25, 2018

Day of Caring Newaygo: September 28, 2018

100 Year Campaign: September 10 - December 10, 2018



Keep up with the latest United Way of the Lakeshore news on our Facebook page... just click here.


Meet Our New Oceana County Director

Please help us welcome Barbara Saunders Sims to our United Way of the Lakeshore team! For the past 40 years, Ms. Sims has worked on behalf of young children and their families in the provision of high quality early learning and early intervention services as teacher, administrator and national consultant. She says, “I feel honored and privileged to work with the United Way of the Lakeshore’s tremendous volunteers and dedicated staff to present a strong voice for investing in the people of Oceana County.”

Read more about Barbara here.


United Way of the Lakeshore Announces Free Tax Filing Tool and Personal Support for ALICE

(MUSKEGON, MI) – 1/30/2018
Today, United Way of the Lakeshore announced two free options for people to file their income taxes. The online system is MyFreeTaxes, a product of H&R Block. It allows most filers to complete their taxes online in under one hour. For those seeking in-person help, Goodwill Industries in the Lakeshore Region administers VITA, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program that uses MyFreeTaxes to file taxes for taxpayers needing assistance. Income eligible people are invited to schedule an appointment by calling 2-1-1.

The United Way has partnered over the past decade with H&R Block and Goodwill Industries of West Michigan to provide free tax filing services for federal and state taxes, the partnerships have helped people file their returns, bringing more refunds back to help their families in our local communities. These resources are a direct benefit to ALICE – Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. These people work... read more

Soup & Service: A Martin Luther King Jr Day Celebration

What a great day at United Way as we co-hosted the 2nd Annual Soup & Service Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration! Thank you to all who stopped by and donated school supplies and non-perishable food items. Thank you to the Michigan Community Service Commission for supporting the event. Thank you to Retired & Senior Volunteer Program of Muskegon and Oceana Counties, Youth United - UWL, Muskegon Usc, Young Brothers, Mybrotherskeeper, and Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions for being wonderful co-hosts! A huge thank you to each and every one one of our volunteers including NAACP Muskegon Branch, Community enCompass- YEP, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated Muskegon, AmeriCorps VISTA members and all other volunteers.

See pictures of the day here.

Soup & Service in the news:    WZZM       MLive

Youth Led Community Service Project Cleans Up!

What do you get when you have 100 kids who want a project to serve their community, three empty city lots that need serious clean-up across the street from ML King Elementary, two trailers full of lawn beautification equipment, some water and donuts? You get the job done!  

Read more about this great project and a visit from representatives of the DTE Energy Foundation here.





Make a Difference Day

In its 25th year, national Make a Difference Day is one of the largest annual single days of service nationwide. This year the Muskegon County Commission unanimously passed a proclamation naming October 21-22 as Muskegon County Make a Difference Days, sponsored by Commissioner Kenneth Mahoney. See the proclamation here.

On October 21, Youth United and young volunteers from high schools and middle schools throughout Muskegon County chose to help The Salvation Army as their October service project. Throughout the month students collected personal items and non perishable foods to help restock pantry shelves. They cleaned the supply shelves in the garage, took down the vegetable garden, trimmed up the lawn, readied Christmas gift bags for children, cleaned furniture, built special boxes and more. Karen Brittner, VP of Comerica Bank, volunteered along with the youth and served as a corporate sponsor for the event.

Watch the WZZM news story about our youth here. And for more pictures of this awesome day, click here.

Announcing $100,000 in New Competitive Grants Available to Help ALICE

After a series of community conversations held in Fall 2015-Spring 2016, United Way of the Lakeshore learned from the Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) families that although barriers existed to their security in the United Way priority areas of health, education, and income stability, several barriers emerged as trends that posed limits to many. Access to high-quality and affordable child care and lack of adequate transportation were key issues. A third barrier was lack of resources if presented with an unforeseen event like a car repair, sick child care provider, or other circumstance. Click here to learn more and for an Application of Intent.

Feds Send $93 Thousand to Muskegon and Oceana for Emergency Food and Shelter—Apply by August 5th!

Muskegon County Commissioner Rillastine Wilkins, chairwoman of the local board EFSP in Muskegon County said, “We can put this funding to good use. The EFSP provides a safety net for vulnerable citizens in our community. Whether someone is homeless, in transition from temporary shelter to permanent housing, or has specialized needs related to their transition, these funds will go to local agencies to deliver needed services.” Wilkins added, “Last year hundreds of people were served by this program with emergency shelter, meals, and rental and utility assistance by agencies like The Salvation Army, the Holton Community Center, Catholic Charities of West Michigan, and the mobile food pantries--where the costs of distribution of 50,000 pounds of food were covered through a grant to Second Harvest Gleaners Food Bank of West Michigan, Inc.”

Ken Fisher, chairman of the local EFSP board in Oceana County said, “We have been designated as a high-need area and these funds are coming to us to help meet the needs of our neighbors, friends, and families. We’ll be working as a local board with our Emergency Needs Committees to determine how the funds will be awarded and distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local service agencies.”  Fisher added, “We appreciate the resources this funding brings to our community partners who serve those experiencing serious crisis.”

Read the full press release here.

United Way of the Lakeshore Approves $1.6 million Investment in Human Service Programs for Muskegon, Oceana, and Newaygo Counties

United Way of the Lakeshore’s Board of Directors recently awarded $967,345 to non-profit programs in Muskegon, Newaygo, and Oceana Counties aimed at helping working families meet their basic needs by 2025.

“Thanks to the giving of thousands of residents, the time spent by dozens of community volunteers and the diligent work of staff, United Way of the Lakeshore is pleased to provide needed funding to area health and human service organizations who improve the quality of life for so many in need,” shared Strategy Impact Team Co-Chair, Sherri Campbell, VP, Community Shores Bank.  “The needs are great, and we are fortunate to have so many able partners in the community,” Campbell said.

Read more here, including details of the process (which involves 100 volunteers), funded program focus, and the amounts awarded in each of our three counties.

To see a list of funded programs, click here.

Photos below are of our Community Investment Volunteers hard at work on the process!


VITA Returns Over $3,000,000 to Community!

United Way of the Lakeshore applauds the good work of our partner and grantee, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, as they report outstanding Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) results for our community. Volunteers helped eligible low- to moderate-income individuals and families file a total of 2,911 returns. This increase of 6% over last year’s tax season resulted in $3,003,767 returned to the community.  ALICE families are especially helped by the VITA progam. “For some struggling families, these returns can make a huge difference; helping pay overdue utility bills or even putting food on the table,” said Goodwill Tax Program Coordinator Carl Lewis. Programs like VITA are a key part of reaching our Bold Goal of helping 10,000 more working families meet their basic needs by 2025. Thank you to all of the volunteers, partners, and funders who bring this important resource to our community each year!
Read the full press release here.

United Way of the Lakeshore and the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) team hosted a Literacy Fair on June 21 at the Muskegon Farmers Market. The NCCC team, volunteers from Alcoa Howmet, and staff from the Boys & Girls Club of Muskegon and the United Way of the Lakeshore led 135 young people and their families in learning how to build small book houses for “Little Free Libraries,” participating in arts, crafts, and storytelling, and swapping close to 1,000 books with one another. Other community partners involved in the Literacy Fair included: City of Muskegon, Muskegon Farmers Market, Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), and Nichols print company. Read more here; see pictures here.


United Way of the Lakeshore is proud of our Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce "2016 Future 15" Awardees!
Jana Routt, Director of Labor Engagement and Josh Reece, Board Member

The Future 15 program, coordinated by the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with WZZM 13 and the Greater Muskegon Jaycees, recognizes 15 ‘up and coming’ young professionals that are making a difference along the Muskegon Lakeshore. This year’s nomination process garnered 55 nominations.  A committee comprised of 2015 Future 15 recipients gathered to select the top 15 candidates for recognition this year.  Jana and Josh were selected for their personal and professional contributions to the Muskegon Lakeshore community.  Read more about Jana and Josh here.

DTE Energy Foundation Gives Grant to United Way to Support 100 Summer Jobs to Area Youth
United Way of the Lakeshore and DTE Energy Foundation today announced the launch of the Summer Youth Nonprofit Work Experience Program in partnership with Michigan Works! West and West Central to employ 100 youth in Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Kent, Mecosta, and Lake Counties. The DTE Energy Foundation is providing a $150,000 gift for the 6-week summer program, that places youth ages 15 to 18 in jobs at community organizations. In addition to earning a paycheck, they learn the hard skills required for the job and the associated soft skills, includingwork ethics, being punctual and getting along with their colleagues and customers. Read more here.



211 Resolution Adopted in Fremont
Fremont Mayor Jim Rynberg spoke with Rep. Jon Bumstead to ask that he support full funding for the 2-1-1 resource and referral network. The Fremont City Council passed an unanimous resolution in support of the increased funding on May 4, 2016.  Read the Resolution here.








United Way Cooks Breakfast!
Members of the Newaygo County Community Committee rose early on April 16 to serve 76 breakfasts of pancakes, sausages, donuts, coffee, juice, milk with a big UW SMILE at the 2016 River Country Home & Garden Show.  Pictured l-r are: Robert Ross, Stu Sanders, Jim Rynberg, Martha Gabrielse, Dick Dunning, Holly Moon, James Kelly and Amanda Auw.  The event should actually be called "see how UW cooks breakfast In between the electrical outages"!  Thanks to Martha and her backup generator, we were good to go. Unanimous comments indicated the breakfast was 'excellent'!!


United Way of the Lakeshore Works to Strengthen Community Food System:
Community Foundation Grant to Increase Healthy Eating & Improve Access to Healthy Food

The United Way of the Lakeshore is pleased to announce it has received a $12,000 from the Community Foundation for Muskegon County (CFFMC) to help develop and strengthen the local food system in Muskegon County to sustainably increase healthy eating and improve access to healthy food, especially among children and seniors living in poverty. The grant support comes to the CFFMC from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. United Way of the Lakeshore will focus the project on convening public, private, nonprofit, and governmental partners along with the Emergency Needs Committee to address food insecurity, health standards of food in our food pantries, and convene emergency need providers in an effort to identify healthier food options and standards for food within the local food systems in Muskegon County.  read more


April is Child Abuse and Prevention Month
On April 12, the Muskegon County Commission passed a proclamation calling it Muskegon County Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month.  As mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect, Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson and Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler were on hand to receive the County Proclamation from Commissioner Ken Mahoney. Joining them were Kylene Gee from the Child Abuse Council, Jane Clingman-Scott from the Great Start Collaborative, and United Way of the Lakeshore President Christine Robere.  Read More  /  Read the Proclamation here



Celebrating Volunteers!
United Way of the Lakeshore celebrated National Volunteer Week with a luncheon that gave local agencies the opportunity to thank their volunteers for the valuable skills and knowledge that they bring to their missions. The event was held for 125 people on Tuesday, April 12th at The Muskegon Country Club and featured local youth, corporate partners, and non-profits who each shared their unique perspectives on the importance and benefits of volunteering. Pictured are Youth United volunteer Asia Hughes and United Way of the Lakeshore Community Engagement Director Kristina Coby.  read more

As part of Volunteer Week, the Muskegon County Board of Commissioners issued a Proclamation, which passed unanimously. The Proclamation was sponsored by Commissioner Bob Scolnik, who is also a board member of the United Way of the Lakeshore Volunteer Center. Pictured are RSVP Director LaTonya Beene, Commissioner Scolnik, and United Way of the Lakeshore President Christine Robere.  Read the Proclamation.


Community Foundation Grants Join United Way Funding to Make Preschool Program a Reality for the 2016-17 School Year
The United Way of the Lakeshore is pleased to announce they have received two grants totaling $20,000 from the Community Foundation for Muskegon County (CFFMC) to provide support for the Michigan Education Corps PreK program for July 2016 through June 2017. The grant support comes from the Foundation’s Douglas A. Rosen Fund and the Greater Muskegon County Fund.  The Michigan Education Corps PreK program is an evidence-based program... read more

Muskegon County Supports 2-1-1
On April 12, the Muskegon County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a Resolution asking state leaders to fund half of the annual costs of the 2-1-1 network. The Resolution was sponsored by Commissioner Ken Mahoney. Read the Resolution.

United Way of the Lakeshore Honors Muskegon County Cooperating Churches
The United Way of the Lakeshore honored the Muskegon County Cooperating Churches with a Resolution in Special Tribute on the occasion of the MCCC’s 75th Year Jubilee.  Accepting the honor is Rev. Diane Stark, Unity of Muskegon, and President of the Muskegon County Cooperating Churches. Read the Resolution here...





Oceana County Builds a TP Mountain!
February can bring out the winter blues for many, however things were "rollin" at the Lakeshore Campus in Shelby.  The Lakeshore Hospital Employee Auxiliary sponsored a Toilet Paper Drive to collect rolls and donate to the Oceana County Food Pantries. Teams were chosen to make the competitions a bit more exciting. In the end, the team from Lakeshore Medical -Whitehall was the successor over the golden "plunger" with a total of 822 rolls collected.  Mr. Whipple and his Charmin would be smiling down to know that a grand total of 2255 rolls were collected to be donated.  Arlene Kolbe , Employee Auxiliary President commented it was wonderful to see the amount of participation involved. "This was a great project to help those in need in our community".  Pictured are Nanette Kibbey-Scribner and Arlene Kolbe.





United Way of the Lakeshore Honors Employers Association of West Michigan
At their 100 Anniversary Celebration Dinner on February 23, Christine Robere, on behalf of her board, presented a resolution in special tribute to the Employers Association of West Michigan. Accepting the honor is Lisa Sabourin, President/CEO of EA. The evening was a joyous celebration with an outstanding program that shared the history of local businesses that grew and developed the Association. Read the Resolution here...




Rep. Hovey-Wright Informs Residents on Testing Water for Lead, Copper
Muskegon-area water tested safe; owners of older homes may have concerns.
LANSING — State Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright (D-Muskegon) is providing residents with information on water safety testing in Muskegon County. While the contamination of Flint’s city water with lead has caused a health crisis, treated water from Muskegon and Muskegon Heights Water Treatment Facilities drawn from Lake Michigan has been tested safe.  According to federal guidelines, testing is required... read more



United Way President Greets Muskegon Heights Chief of Police
Welcome Dr. Thomas! As President of the United Way of the Lakeshore, it was my pleasure to pay a courtesy call to welcome our newest community leader, Dr. Joseph E. Thomas, Jr., Chief of Police, Muskegon Heights. Dr. Thomas is... read more