‘Everyday heroes’ needed now

Jan 31, 2012


That’s what we are hoping happens now. Because it’s crunch time — for the campaign and for our community. 

Last fall, we set a very ambitious goal of $2.3 million for this year’s campaign. That’s $400,000 more than last year’s goal, and almost 12 percent more than the $2,031,496 we raised last year.

We set this big goal because we needed to; because the effective, local programs that rely on the campaign to meet the community’s needs for health, education, financial stability and emergency assistance need our help now. Right here, where so many are so blessed, others remain hungry, homeless, underemployed — but not hopeless. 

And because there are so many of us — about 8,000 — who give generously to Greater Ottawa County United Way’s annual community campaign.

Most work in the 200 local companies that hold workplace campaigns. And this year, on average, giving is up more than 7 percent! Even with this increased generosity, however, we will fall $100,000 short of our goal when the campaign ends — if we do nothing more.

So we are reaching out to the 100,000 working adults in Ottawa County who have not yet participated in the campaign. We’re guessing that, for most, it’s because they haven’t been asked. So we are asking now. 

Between now and March 16, we are asking everyone in Ottawa County who has not already given to the 2011-12 community campaign to become an “everyday hero” and pledge just $1 per week in 2012. The pledge can be fulfilled anytime before the end of the year, in any number of payments, via check or credit card.

But we need our “everyday heroes” to stand up and be counted now to join the movement; to say yes to giving $1 per week so that others may eat, have a roof over their heads, get necessary medical care, be ready for school, make successful school progress, get a good job, achieve their potential, and all of the other important community goals we’ve set together.

We believe that, when people realize they have “superpowers,” they will say yes. 

Here are just three examples of what $1 a week can do in our community: feed 178 meals to a family in need, provide $250 of prescription medicine to a low-income senior, and shelter a homeless family for a month in transitional housing. If that’s not a “superpower,” I don’t know what is!

There is no better bargain anywhere than the collective strength of community we achieve when we live united. 

If you are one of the 8,000 who’ve already given: thank you.

If you are one of the 100,000 who haven’t: please be an “everyday hero.” Visit www.ottawaunitedway.org/hero and pledge $1 per week, payable anytime in 2012.
Then, tell your friends how they can have “superpowers,” too. Go a little crazy on behalf of our community! Tweet it. Change your Linked In and Facebook status to “everyday hero” and post the hero logo and QR code. (Download jpegs at  www.ottawaunitedway.org/about us/media room and logos.)

— By Scott Remenschneider, vice president of Huntington National Bank in Holland and chairman of the Greater Ottawa County United Way 2011-12 Community Campaign.


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