- Rising STAR: JobSTAR Adds New Cohort, New Success Coach by Ken Toll Just 17 months ago, I had the honor of leading the announcement of JobSTAR, Jackson County’s new business resource network. It was an exciting day! I remember how proud I was of the partnership that formed JobSTAR—the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Works! Southeast, the Department of Health and Human Services, Family Service & Children’s Aid, and United Way of Jackson County. I recall how strong that start was, with eight local employers taking part. And I can’t forget introducing Scott Walker, JobSTAR’s Success Coach, and the enthusiasm he brought to his new role. Today I’m experiencing all of ... Read more
- Helping Families With The Most Basic of Needs WE LIVE UNITED by helping struggling families with their most basic of needs. Families living at or near the poverty level often times don’t have access to quality food. Money, transportation, and work schedules are just a few examples of obstacles that can prevent a family from getting to the grocery store to purchase healthy foods. They may live within walking distance to a store that sells mostly unhealthy choices. We want families to have access to fruits, vegetables and other healthy options. United Way of Jackson County and our many partners throughout our community are proud to support the ... Read more
- When Leaders Engage! Our Community Transforms by Ken Toll
Standing on the stage at Forty Nine South, I took in an amazing sight: a gathering of nearly 100 leaders of government, business, education, nonprofits and others who care deeply about Jackson County. A thought struck me:
With this much energy and passion, we can do anything!
I’m talking about Leaders ENGAGE!, a United Way event bringing together the movers and shakers of our community to talk about poverty, ALICE and how we can work together to build pathways to financial stability for all.
We heard from eight panelists—four representing business, four speaking for the community—who touched on the unique barriers ... Read more
- Starting Over and Finding Stability WE LIVE UNITED by empowering women to escape abusive relationships and helping them to build a life of financial independence and stability. United Way of Jackson County’s partnership with AWARE, Inc. provides women and children safety and sanctuary while offering the opportunity to start over. Through your support, these families are creating a new life here Jackson County. Here’s one example of the IMPACT in our community.
It was the second time Mia sought support from the shelter. She thought he had changed, but his habits just laid dormant for a while. After the abuse started again, she left with her ... Read more
- An Opportunity To Make A Better Life We want Jackson County to be a community rich in opportunity and free from poverty. We want our community to be a place where everyone has the chance to achieve financial stability and success. However, the reality is 42% of our households are living at or near poverty. Our friends and our neighbors are struggling to make ends meet. United Way of Jackson County is fighting for the financial stability of everyone in our community by bringing together every dollar, partner, and tool we can to help those in need. Among those tools is an opportunity for individuals to learn ... Read more
- Meeting ALICE by Ken Toll
There’s a quote from the classic book, Alice in Wonderland: “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” That’s certainly true of the ALICE I want you to meet. Every day brings a new challenge to the people who are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – ALICE.
We’ve talked about ALICE before. These are people who have jobs and an income, but they’re living check-to-check at best, just barely keeping their heads above water. Many take on more work, but still can’t get ahead. One unexpected expense can drop ALICE into poverty.
The Michigan ... Read more
- Improving and Changing Lives In Our Community UNITED WE FIGHT for the financial stability of every person in Jackson County. It’s understood that no one can improve their financial situation without first having their basic needs met, which includes safe and affordable housing. Through your support, United Way of Jackson County is able to partner with the Jackson Housing Commission to offer Support Services to individuals who are working hard to improve their lives. This high-risk population is offered assistance with life skills, basic needs, conflict resolution, healthcare coordination, and job development, among other things, while ensuring their housing needs are met. Through hard work and assistance ... Read more
- Finding Stability Through Central Michigan 2-1-1 UNITED WE WIN by helping families and individuals who are struggling find their own path to stability. Each year, thousands who are in need are connected to a variety of health and human services through Central Michigan 2-1-1 in Jackson County. Jeff’s story is one example of how your UWJC support is creating real IMPACT in our community.
Jeff’s fiancé passed away within the last year, and he was having a hard time coping and staying in the home that they shared. The home also had some structural issues making it unsafe for Jeff. Jeff’s family was becoming very worried about ... Read more
- United for Equity in Jackson County United for Equity in Jackson County
by Ken Toll
For a while now, you’ve read my blogs or heard me speak about poverty. You’ve heard the statistic: 4 in 10 households are financially unstable, with a full 15 percent of Jackson County residents living below the poverty line.
That poverty line is far too low to start with. For a single person, it is $15,060. For a family of four, it is just $30,750. Think about it: 15 out of every 100 Jackson County residents are scraping by on this meager income.
That’s a hard fact for our community to face. It’s even harder ... Read more
- An Opportunity For Anyone To Regain or Maintain Their Financial Stability WE LIVE UNITED by providing the opportunity for anyone in need to maintain or regain their stability. Central Michigan 2-1-1 is a collaboration between United Way of Jackson County and LifeWays. It is the single most powerful tool we have to connect those in need with available health and human services. Last year, Central Michigan 2-1-1 received over 10,000 calls from Jackson County, connecting those in need to vital services. Janelle is just one of the thousands who have felt the impact of your United Way support.
Janelle called Central Michigan 2-1-1 because she was experiencing domestic violence and needed help ... Read more