United Way advances the common good by focusing on education, income and health - the building blocks to a good life. A quality education that leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family and good life - these are our goals for the residents of Muskegon, Oceana and Newaygo counties.
Our goal is to create long-lasting changes that prevent problems from happening in the first place. We invite you to be part of the change. Together, united, we can inspire hope and create opportunities for a better tomorrow. That's what it means to LIVE UNITED.
To view our work in Education, Income or Health, click one of the menu items to the right.
Community Investment Report
United Way of the Lakeshore makes over $1 million in community
investments for Muskegon area programs
Nearly 40 programs in Muskegon County ranging from transitional living efforts to respiratory health services received more than $1 million in community investments from the United Way of the Lakeshore to improve the quality of life of local residents. A number of Red Cross programs received funding, including efforts for disaster relief and senior transportation services. (Sally Finneran | MLive.com)
on July 16, 2013 at 9:54 AM, updated July 16, 2013 at 9:55 AM
MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI – Nearly 40 programs in Muskegon County ranging from transitional living to respiratory health services received more than $1 million in community investments from the United Way of the Lakeshore to improve the quality of life of local residents.
The gifts, announced on July 2 and awarded by the nonprofit’s board of directors for a two-year funding cycle, made up about half of the $2.3 million the nonprofit awarded to dozens of health, education and income-focused programs operating in Muskegon, Oceana and Newaygo counties.
In addition to the $1.3 million awarded to agencies, $554,000 went directly to nonprofit agencies as designated by donors while another $150,000 went to response grants, emergency relief and after-school programing, said Lisa Tyler, Vice President – Community Impact for United Way.
Requests this year exceeded available funding by almost $350,000, Tyler said. In Oceana County, the organization renewed more than $83,000 in funding for 22 agency programs while 26 programs in Newaygo received second-year funding totaling $96,000.
Tyler, who facilitated the recommendation procedure led by about 70 volunteers, said the process involved reading applications submitted by human service agencies in addition to making office visits and conducting interviews.
“The volunteers, each one of them, easily spent 20 hours in reading and presentations. For some of them, it’s more like 25 or 30 hours they spend making assessments,” Tyler said.
Norton Shores City Administrator Mark Meyers, who chairs United Way’s Lakeshore Impact Council along with the Newaygo and Oceana Community committees, said citizens from various backgrounds including the business, nonprofit and education sectors made up the volunteer participants.
“It’s not committee driven— it’s very much community driven,” Meyers said.
Part of the process, Meyers said, included reviewing the agencies' budgets, successful outcomes and assessing the number of residents they serve. From there, the volunteers make minimum and maximum funding recommendations that go to the Lakeshore Impact Council, which ultimately makes the final determinations approved by the board.
“It’s a two-year period because it’s a very involved process,” Meyers said. The funding recipients go through a mid-cycle report process after 12 months that allows the Lakeshore Impact Council to assess how they are functioning, he said.
Out of the $1.1 million made in community investments for nearly 40 Muskegon County programs run by 22 agencies, $320,352 went to economic advancement efforts; $142,896 to educational efforts and $623,200 to health programs.
Some of the largest donations went to programs run by the local American Red Cross chapter, Catholic Charities West Michigan and West Michigan Therapy, also known as WMT Inc. Recovery & Housing Center.
WMT received $127,396 for youth development, housing and transitional living programs while Catholic Charities West Michigan received a total of $135,200 for six programs including pregnancy outreach and teen parent efforts.
The American Red Cross, which also serves Oceana and Newaygo counties, collectively received $269,000 for programs focused on blood collection, natural disasters, senior transportation and armed forces services.
Tim Lipan, executive director for the American Red Cross Lakeshore and Westshore Chapter, said the funds make up a one-third of the Red Cross’s budget.
“It's very important in our budget and it’s a key part of being able to provide senior transportation services,” Lipan said. The transit program, which received $89,000 for the two-year funding cycle this year, takes elderly patients to medical appointments for important procedures like dialysis.
The program provides more than 1,500 rides to area residents monthly, and Mark Evans, the nonprofit’s senior transportation director, recently said the nonprofit’s seven vehicles used for the service remain filled to capacity.
“We're very thankful for the United Way to raise funds,” Lipan said
Lipan championed the organizations effort’s to raise money through payroll deduction with local businesses. The set-up deducts money from employees’ paychecks, making it easier for them to give, Lipan said.
“I think that's a very valuable piece of the broad community partnership,” Lipan said.
Other recipients in Muskegon County included Big Brothers Big Sisters, Mediation & Restorative Services, Every Woman’s Place and Mercy Health affiliates such as the Muskegon Community Health Project.
Community Investment Report