MUSKEGON – United Way of the Lakeshore celebrated the thousands of residents in Muskegon, Oceana and Newaygo with its theme “There’s No Place Like Home” at its 2012 campaign finale Wednesday, Dec. 5.
The Muskegon County campaign is at 95% of its $2.85 million goal, Campaign Chair Brad Hilleary told the crowd at the Holiday Inn. With some continued effort, the goal is still achievable, he noted.
“This just goes to show how great Muskegon is and that although times can be tough, our community believes there’s no place like home,” Hilleary said. “The needs are great, and we’re not done yet. We’re asking anyone who hasn’t given to give if they can. Every dollar makes a difference.”
In 2011, programs funded by United Way provided more than 93,000 instances of services in education, income and health in Muskegon, Oceana and Newaygo counties.
There were some new twists to this year’s campaign, including a Harley-Davidson sweepstakes and a 100-mile bike ride, Hilleary said.
Anyone who gave a new gift of $50 or more, or who increased by $50 or more, was eligible for the 2013 Harley-Davidson sweepstakes. There were 3,821 new or increased contributions, including 2,187 new gifts that totaled $198,692.
The inaugural Ride United took place in early September. Thirty bike riders completed either 100- or 50-mile bike riders, raising $13,000 for United Way. Sponsored by DTE Energy, Meijer, Priority Health and 5/3 Bank, Ride United is expected to continue in 2013.
Manufacturing reported at $1,157,323, which is 5% higher than 2011. Highlights included Fleet Engineers, which increased 369%; Webb Chemical with a 20% increase; Nowak with a 105% increase; Knoll with a 29% increase; and CWC with an 8% increase.
Other highlights of the 2012 campaign include:
• In Construction/Utilities, there were six new campaigns.
• In Education, Ravenna Public Schools increased by 53%; Oakridge Schools went up 40%; and Muskegon Public Schools grew by 39%.
• In Government, West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission again had 100% participation and a 72% increase in giving; and Muskegon County’s campaign went up by 9%.
• In Commercial/Retail, Wesco has had two, two-month periods of giving throughout their stores; they match contributed change up to $1,000 per store. That promotion continues through this month. Several restaurants gave a portion of their sales to United Way: Cherokee Restaurant, Chili’s, Hearthstone Bistro-Bar-Grill, Carmen’s Café, The Brownstone Restaurant, Hennessy’s Irish Pub, Pints and Quarts, CF Prime, Dockers, Verdoni’s and Russ’ Restaurant.
• In Healthcare/Professionals, the dental office of Dr. Todd Hunt was a new campaign with 100% participation; Parmenter O’Toole increased by 40%; and Brickley DeLong had 99% participation.
• The Non-profit division saw steady increases as well, Salvation Army increasing 300%; Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lakeshore up 82%; Arc/Muskegon up 73%; Mediation & Restorative Services up 70%; Disability Connection increased 24%; Catholic Charities grew by 22%; and the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce increased 13%.
• In Finance/Insurance/Real Estate, Fifth Third Bank surpassed last year’s goal. Fifth Third Bank increased 14% over 2011.
Campaigns in Oceana and Newaygo counties also reported. In Newaygo County, the schools in the county surpassed their combined goal, with more to be reported. Several major campaigns are underway; they are already at about 77% of goal.
In Oceana County, the school campaigns also increased, by 56%; Gray & Company raised more than 25% of the overall county goal; GHSP’s campaign increased by 20%. The Oceana County campaign has raised about $94,000, or 87%, with several campaigns still running.
Several campaigns continue to run and donations come in daily. To run a campaign, call Nancy Robbins at 722-3134, ext. 224. To make a donation or get more information, visit www.unitedwaylakeshore.org, or call 877-722-3134.
United Way of the Lakeshore works to advance the common good by focusing on education, income and health in Muskegon, Oceana and Newaygo counties. For more information, contact United Way of the Lakeshore at 877-722-3134.