Success Stories

Mai’er

“I WANT TO BE ABLE TO HELP PEOPLE WHEN I GET OLDER.”

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Holly

“I DECIDED IT WAS TIME TO GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY.”

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Reggie

“I WAS NEVER MADE TO FEEL ASHAMED.”

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Fred

“SERVING TOGETHER IS A MEANINGFUL EXPERIENCE.”

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Gretchen

“VOLUNTEERING HAS CHANGED MY STORY.”

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Jenny

“LET’S GO FOR A WALK!”

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Mary

“THE WORK THEY ARE DOING IN OUR SCHOOLS IS TRANSFORMING YOUNG LIVES AND I’M SO GRATEFUL TO BE A PART OF THAT.”

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Autumn

“WITHOUT THE [SUPPORT OF] UNITED WAY, I DON’T THINK S.N.A.P. WOULD BE AS GREAT AS THEY ARE.”

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Leonce

“I WANT TO HELP OTHER KIDS WITH DISABILITIES LEARN.”

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Julie

“I’VE BEEN SO HAPPY SINCE GETTING MY OWN PLACE. NOTHING CAN BREAK MY JOY!”

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Audrey

“SHERRY AT THE YWCA HELPED ME MOVE ON AND PROGRESS. SHE LISTENED WITHOUT BEING JUDGMENTAL, AND SHE REALLY CARED.”

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Radiance

“BEFORE THE YMCA, I COULDN’T GET MY MIND STRAIGHT TO FINISH SCHOOL. THEY’RE HELPING TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN.”

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Shonna

“THE BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS GAVE MY KIDS A FREE PLACE TO GO SO THAT I COULD COMPLETE MY NURSING DEGREE.”

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Tony

“I’VE BECOME MORE GENEROUS AND AWARE BECAUSE OF MY TIME HERE.”

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Sam

“I’M LUCKY TO BE ABLE TO USE MY PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS TO CONNECT WITH MY COMMUNITY AND HELP OUT.”

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Beverly

“I KNOW MY CALLING. I WANT TO HELP THE ELDERLY BY BECOMING A HOME HEALTH AIDE.”

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Leona

“IF YOU HAVE A HEART FOR CHILDREN, YOU’RE CAPABLE OF BEING A FOSTER PARENT.”

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Corrie

“IT WAS VERY HELPFUL HAVING THIS PERSON IN MY LIFE WHO HAD BEEN THERE TO HELP ME DO THE RIGHT THING.”

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Jeff

“IT DOESN’T TAKE MUCH MORE THAN A PHONE CALL AND A COUPLE OF VOLUNTEERS.”

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Bradshaws

“WE’RE HOLDING OUR OWN NOW. OUR HEADS ARE FINALLY ABOVE WATER.”

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Charmica

“NOW I’M ON MY WAY. I FEEL GOOD ABOUT MYSELF. I FEEL LIKE I CAN BE A PROVIDER FOR MY CHILDREN.”

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Fanny

“I WANT TO GIVE HER THE BEST START POSSIBLE BECAUSE SHE LOVES TO LEARN AND WE WANT TO KEEP FEEDING THAT LOVE.”

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Powerful testimony combined with new data created a compelling snapshot of progress on Tuesday night at Stryker.

United Way’s Regional CEO Forum, hosted by Stryker Chairman & CEO Kevin Lobo, drew more than 100 community leaders and delivered a glimpse of both recent impact and the great need that remains to be addressed.

“We want everyone that lives in our region to achieve better,” said Matt Lynn, Director of Community Impact for United Way. “That means more children having success in education, more children born healthy, more families becoming economically stable, and more individuals and households tapping into safety nets. That’s what this is all about. This is why we do what we do as a United Way.”

Lynn kicked off the evening with details of a new comprehensive data system that has the capability to measure the cumulative impact of all United Way investments and engagement strategies across our goal areas of Health, Education, Basic Needs and Financial Stability. He was joined by AGS Data Analytics President Alberta Griffin.

A complete report is currently in progress and will gauge the collective impact of our 85 funded programs between Nov. 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017.

Examples of results include:

  • HEALTH– 85 percent of African-American mothers gave birth to babies at healthy weight, and 72 percent carried their babies to full term thanks to intensive home visiting programs for pre- and post-natal care.
  • BASIC NEEDS– 58,422 food-insecure residents in the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo region received about 698,800 meals through multiple programs supported by United Way.
  • FINANCIAL STABILITY– 287 people earned job credentials through United Way supported training programs. In addition, 123 of these individuals saw an increase in their earned income.
  • EDUCATION– 84.2 percent of students surveyed reported improved social-emotional competence after taking part in United Way partner programs.
    Underscoring the importance of impact and the great need in our region, five panelists from both the corporate and nonprofit sectors took to the stage to share their passion for United Way.

Lobo and Tom Beuchler, President and CEO of Schweitzer Construction, spoke to the importance of responsibility and philanthropy within a corporation, and why specifically they support United Way. Lobo and Beuchler are UWBCKR Campaign Co-Chairs, representing Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, respectively.

“This is a community with haves and have nots,” Lobo said. “To us, it’s a calling. Our mission is driven in healthcare, but we also feel it’s incredibly important to have vibrant communities. We want to be a part of that. So we want to lift the entire community.”

Rounding out the panel of speakers were four nonprofit leaders: Luke Kujacznski, of Urban Alliance; Robert Littke, of Senior Services; Grace Lubwama, of YWCA; and Chris Harris-Wimsatt, of Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kalamazoo.

“No single individual in this room can do the work,” said Lubwama. “We all have to do our part. Our part is pulling the rope in different ways so that we’re all going the same direction. Whether it’s investing, whether it’s volunteering, we need to let our humanity come out, and that humanity is taking care of the most vulnerable in our community.”

CEO
Community business leaders learned about new data methods during Tuesday night’s CEO Forum.