Ricky Markiewicz is driven by his passions. As the owner of a small DJ business and a graduate student at Grand Valley State University, he sought out opportunities to use the skills that he had learned through his career and school give back to the causes that are close to his heart.
"I want to know that some of my time, even if it's just a few hours during the week, is going to benefit someone who needs a hand," he says. "There is something satisfying about leaving a volunteer site or event knowing you tried to help others in your own unique way."
It's the first day of Spring Break, and we still have some family-friendly volunteer opportunities that are perfect for rainy afternoons. Volunteering as a family is a special experience and can help teach kids about giving back.
In 1981, Challenge Manufacturing started with one machine in a garage in Walker, Michigan. Today, still headquartered in Walker, Challenge is a Tier 1 automotive manufacturer that employs 3,000 people supported by 1,000 industrial robots across ten locations in North America and Asia. “We see our team members like family at Challenge. When one team member is going through a tough time, other members of the family step in to help,” says Taylor Rose, marketing and communications manager. “United Way mirrors that particular feature in our culture.”
This month, we're coordinating "Fill the Cart" collection drives all across Kent County, and we need your help! Throughout the month, simply add a few things to your shopping cart whenever you go to the store or shop on our Amazon wish list.
Since their first donation 40 years ago, Tom and Laura Madison have become more and more moved to give back through United Way. “We believe in the mission of the United Way and have throughout our lives,” says Tom, a client executive at Hylant Group. “It’s a joint effort on our part. We feel thankful for the blessings we've been given and feel positive about sharing whatever we can, giving hope and a path forward to others.”
Things had finally turned around for Jesse. He had found a job at a production warehouse and was grateful for it. But, he still wasn’t able to afford an apartment. When Jesse had his taxes prepared at United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site, he found out that he would be getting the Earned Income Tax Credit.
The Volunteer Center at Heart of West Michigan United Way launched a new website today! This upgrade will make it even easier for individuals and groups who want to volunteer to connect to local organizations that need help. You can search our database of current volunteer opportunities to find an opportunity that fits your passion, skills, and time constraints. Once you find an opportunity, you can sign-up, and track your service hours!
"My name is Lena and I am 16 years old. I go to Innovation Central High School. Before I came to this program I was diagnosed with depression and spent most of my time by myself by choice. I thought that no one would understand me. But I started coming to this program and it helped me realize that I am not alone. I can spend time with the people...
For the first time in almost a year, extremely cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills are in the forecast for today and Friday across Michigan. Children and the elderly are especially at risk of frostbite and hypothermia. It is important to know the difference between the two and to take steps to avoid both conditions.
Is your nonprofit organization looking for an office space to rent? Join us in the beautiful, historic Heystek Building on Commerce Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids. The office space features a large entry, conference room, two small offices, one large office, men's and women's restrooms, a kitchen, and a large open office area.
#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable gifting season when many people make holiday and year-end donations.
Students from Grand Rapids Montessori gathered to recognize the sacrifices, courage, and patriotism of the men and women who have served our nation and learn about the challenges that some veterans in Kent County face every day.
In our giving community, the holiday marks a time to give back through volunteering, family sponsorship, and charitable donations. Check out our 2016 Holiday Giving & Volunteer Guide for details on dozens of ways to celebrate the holidays by sharing your time, talents, and treasures within your own community.
When Mary and Brian Hannon settled their family in Grand Rapids, they searched for a way to reconnect with their community. Mary joined Heart of West Michigan United Way’s young professionals group, where she helped to plan volunteer opportunities and mobilize her peers. “Through our volunteer activities, Brian and I were able to see firsthand the good work that United Way and their partner agencies are doing in the community," says Mary. She went on to join United Way's Campaign Cabinet, Marketing Advisory Council, and Board of Directors! We sat down to talk to Mary about volunteering, community needs, and what it means to give back.
The election is less than a month away, and voting is one of the most important and effective ways for you to shape public policy. Unfortunately, voting can still be challenging and intimidating for some. Here are some tips that can make voting a little easier.
Thank you to everyone who celebrated our 20th anniversary Day of Caring and helped us kick off our 99th annual fundraising campaign! Throughout the day, nearly 1400 individuals from 25 local companies completed more than 90 projects all around Kent County! Included in the day were opportunities for volunteers to mentor elementary students, renovate low-income homes, prepare healthy meals, beautify landscapes, and improve parks. In the last 20 years, United Way has mobilized more than 30,000 local volunteers through Day of Caring!
Early in his career, Michael became involved in United Way's annual fundraising campaign. As an advocate and volunteer, he found his passion in helping people who were living in poverty and making sure that all children had equal opportunities to thrive in school and in life. We sat down to talk about his family, philanthropy in West Michigan, and why he chooses to dedicate so much to United Way.
Workplace fundraising campaigns are starting, and we're excited! Whether you work at a small business, a major corporation, or even a non-profit organization, you can choose to show your commitment to social responsibility by participating in a campaign. Your gift, combined with the gifts of others, makes it possible for us to invest in community-wide issues that are crucial to helping families in West Michigan rise out of poverty. And, in return, we all benefit from a stronger and safer community.
Stuff the Bus was a wild success (we have entire rooms full of notebooks, pencils, rulers, crayons, glue, and more in our building today). We collected more than 37,500 donated school supplies, and we are still counting! Farmers Insurance, alone, collected over 25,000 items.
You should be proud. Your gift, combined with the gifts of others, makes it possible for us to help families rise out of poverty and thrive in our community. Every day, we see the importance of our collective impact.
Our commitment to connecting resources to important community outcomes is reflected in our Community Investment Fund. Recently, we were able to allocate nearly $5 million from donations to our Community Investment Fund to more than 40 organizations and 70 programs across Kent County.
While Adell Walker was homeless, he ate at Catholic Charities West Michigan's God's Kitchen. Now, after a chance encounter with a Grand Rapids bigwig and 15 years of food, fellowship, and devoted service, Mr. Walker is a friend to many and fondly known as the "Mayor of Division Avenue."