Mercury rising for United Way

Tribune Staff • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:53 AM

Workplace campaigns and individual donations received so far have pushed the community campaign past the 40 percent mark, with more than $950,000 raised toward a goal of $2.3 million.

On Nov. 27, United Way staff celebrated with the Shape Corp.’s United Way committee at Shape headquarters in Grand Haven. Always one of the first companies in Ottawa County to run—and wrap—their campaign, Shape and its employees pledged $230,000, an increase of 6 percent over last year. That was enough to move Shape to No. 1 on the list of 200 campaigns, and tally 10 percent of the community goal.

Campaign co-chairs Budd and Melinda Brink said that United Way staff and campaign volunteers are out in force to try to raise at least 5 percent more than was raised last year.

“That will get us to our goal of $2.3 million,” said Budd Brink, Shape’s chief financial officer.

“But our 62 community partner programs need more than that, particularly those programs that provide emergency food and shelter,” added Melinda Brink. “They took large cuts in federal funding this year.  We hope we can exceed our goal and raise even more, in order to help fill that gap.”

“In addition to Shape, we want to give a big shout out to all the associates at Meijer stores in Ottawa County, who increased their Top 10 campaign more than 10 percent over last year. ITW Drawform and Woodward, Inc. of  Zeeland and Dr. Pepper/Snapple of Holland have also logged big increases,” said United Way President Patrick Moran.  

Other workplace campaigns following the upward trend are AD Bos Vending Services, Automatic Spring Products, Dake, Elzinga & Volkers, Fifth Third Bank, Grand Valley State University, JSJ Corp., Scholten Fant, Target, and Varnum Law.  He noted that, as of Thursday, campaigns in and counted showed an average 2.3 percent increase over last year.

“While it is not the 5 percent increase we need to make our goal, it is a sign of continued recovery and employment strength—as well as individual generosity—in Ottawa County,” said Moran.  “Despite the good news for many, those who are unemployed and the working poor continue to struggle.”

The campaign will continue through the winter and results will be announced in late March. Residents not able to participate in the campaign through their employment may give online at ottawaunitedway.org, or mail a donation to Greater Ottawa County United Way, P.O. Box 1349, Holland, MI  49422.  Anyone with questions may call United Way’s Grand Haven office at 616-842-7130.

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