LEADERSHIP CIRCLE: Tom & Laura Madison

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.”

Tom and his wife Laura, a teacher in Forest Hills Public Schools, are Leadership Circle members. Tom has also become involved at Heart of West Michigan United Way as a volunteer on our Campaign Committee and our New Business Committee. He has made it his mission to inform local businesses and professionals of the impact that their contributions can have right here in our community. “I’m astounded to learn the number of businesses that don’t know that all of the money raised by United Way in West Michigan stays in West Michigan,” he says. “And, the beauty of the United Way campaign is that there is strength in numbers. When you add up all of the people who are giving a dollar a week or five dollars every other week out of their paycheck, all of the sudden, you have a significant impact to be made on the community.”

Why United Way?

We gain satisfaction through a sense of knowing that we can make a difference in the lives of others. United Way is an organization that has a long history of trust in terms of channeling donors’ funds back to those most in need in the community. One of the benefits is that United Way, through its process of vetting potential recipients of funding, provides rigorous and thoughtful research in developing a plan which identifies the critical needs of others.

What issue are you most passionate about, and how does United Way address that issue in our community?

We are both passionate about the need for early stage development in terms of family and education.  We also understand that there are many other needs within the Grand Rapids community. We feel confident in the abilities of the UWWM staff to identify the most pressing needs of the community by performing due diligence in the vetting of agency funding applications.


For just $20 a week, you can extend your reach into our community and connect with other community-minded individuals who are working together to create lasting change through Heart of West Michigan United Way's Leadership Circle. Learn more at www.hwmuw.org/leadershipcircle.

This interview has been edited and condensed.