- IMPACT! Finding a Safe and Secure Future We live in a tough and dangerous world. Sometimes that puts families at risk. Fortunately, United Way invests in and partners with experts who help those families find a pathway to a safer, more secure future. Legal Services of South Central Michigan provides this powerful example: LSSCM represented a Jackson County mother of two children forced to flee an abusive relationship that nearly cost the mother her life. An LSSCM attorney met with the mom, advised her about divorce and child custody, and discussed safety planning and housing options. LSSCM represented the client in court and filed a divorce case. In ... Read more
- IMPACT! Feeding The Hungry Gives Hope Helping people develop a pathway to financial stability sometimes means getting them through a time of crisis. Perhaps no crisis is greater than feeding hungry children. United Way partners with the Salvation Army to provide food, energy, and housing assistance for low-to-moderate-income residents. Here’s an example of that impact: A single parent called the Salvation Army office just after closing time, in desperate need of food for her family. She had been traveling from pantry to pantry across Jackson County only to be met with closed doors. The call suddenly dropped, and Salvation Army staff struggled to reconnect. Then came a ... Read more
- Unified Kickoff Celebrates United Way’s Impact Statewide Ads like this one are popping up throughout Michigan “United Ways: assemble!” Like The Avengers of movie fame, United Ways across Michigan, including United Way of Jackson County, are joining forces during the week of September 9 to share stories of local impact and to invite the entire state to be heroes in their community. This is the fifth year that United Ways statewide have come together in what we call the Unified Kickoff. We’re raising awareness throughout Michigan that United Way creates real, meaningful change locally that resonates across counties, regions—and most importantly, people’s lives. “United Way does what no single organization can ... Read more
- Cardboard Boat Race Shows the Power of Community A boat stays afloat in the 2018 race. Now in its eighth year, United Way of Jackson County’s annual cardboard boat race shows no sign of sinking from site. What Floats Your Cardboard Boat? Race is a celebration of the fun and partnership that makes Jackson County great. This year, 16 boats put together by area businesses, schools and organizations will compete for awards—and the honor of staying afloat. The race represents the collective power of Jackson County. Just as people bring their talents and energy to building cardboard boats, the work of United Way to transform our community–to make sure all people ... Read more
- Live United: How Labor & United Way Transform Our Community by Colleen Sullivan Editor’s note: On upcoming this Labor Day weekend, United Way celebrates and thanks our friends in Labor who generously give their time and resources to support our work. We asked our Labor Liaison, Colleen Sullivan, to share her perspective. Live United! We wear the shirts, slurp coffee from mugs emblazoned with it, and doodle on meeting agendas with pens reminding us of this important United Way slogan. The phrase is central to all we do but how much have you thought about what that means? Living United isn’t a clever branding message to eat, sleep, breath United Way but it ... Read more
- Making It Personal: Local Boy Helps ‘Stuff The Bus’ Hunter Clemons shops for school supplies for Stuff The Bus At age 13, Hunter Clemons impacted more lives this month than most of us do in a year. When the eighth grader at Michigan Center Junior High heard about United Way’s Stuff The Bus, he decided to earn chore money and invest it in backpacks and school supplies for kids in need. “One day my mom saw a post on Facebook about a fundraiser my aunt’s company was putting on, asking for donations for the Stuff The Bus challenge,” said Hunter, the son of Jamie and Tony Clemons. “Since our family already gives ... Read more
- Calculating Move: Empowering People to Succeed by Bethany Stutzman One of the big lessons that we in the nonprofit sector keep learning is this: We don’t have all the answers. But much of the time, the people we’re trying to help do. A case in point: A few weeks ago, I and several of our United Way staff visited the Family Independence Initiative in Detroit. This organization works with low-income individuals to empower them to create their own solutions to reach financial stability. We sat with a cohort of program participants who were planning a fundraiser to purchase back-to-school supplies. This group focused specifically on items needed by high ... Read more
- 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