United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region

ONE MISSION THAT UNITES US ALL

Month: November, 2012

United Way: Why Partnering Matters

by United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region

Posted on behalf of Christopher Riker, Director of Marketing &
Communications at the United Way of the Battle Creek & Kalamazoo
Region

As the saying goes, “Nothing ever changes until somebody motivates a critical mass of the right people to commit to change.”

It’s a good saying – and it happens to be true.

The need for change is immense. You don’t have to look far to find troubling statistics on school readiness and achievement, children and families in poverty, and individuals and families struggling to gain access to high quality and affordable healthcare.

The first step in summoning real, lasting, community-wide change is acknowledging the reality of the needs. This requires open, honest and inclusive conversations as well as coming together to organize and mobilize efforts and resources in effective, strategic ways. That’s how we collectively create meaningful change.

To take that first step, people must recognize that money alone is not the answer. If it were, we would have “fixed things” by now. We live, work, play and innovate in a region that is home to extraordinarily generous companies, foundations, nonprofits and individuals. That’s a critical part of the mix. Beyond that, transforming the community
requires all of us to have shared goals, awareness and commitment to working together to achieve success.

The good news is, United Way has always partnered across all sectors to identify the greatest needs in the community, define their root causes, and mobilize human and financial resources to accelerate change and advance the common good for all. Even better, we’ve succeeded because so many in our greater community have been willing to partner as well.

That’s the call to action I want to make today. Each person’s willingness to provide the “critical mass” to bring about change is crucial to achieving specific goals in the areas of EDUCATION, INCOME and HEALTH. Our collective success hinges on our ability to continue and grow these partnerships.

We all win when a child realizes his or her full potential.  We all win when individuals and families have enough income to support themselves through retirement. We all win when individuals and families have access to high quality and affordable healthcare.

If you’re already engaged, thank you! If you’re looking for the opportunity to join us, welcome aboard! To LIVE UNITED, you can GIVE, you can ADVOCATE and you can VOLUNTEER. I look forward to showing you how! Please email information@uwbckr.org

Happy Thanksgiving!

by United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region

Since the annual holiday season begins with Thanksgiving Day, I want to bring that theme to this letter. Please accept my deepest gratitude and appreciation for your unwavering support of United Way. Without your generosity we would not be able to mobilize the great resources of our community to improve people’s lives in real, meaningful ways.

As most of you know, this has been a year of major change for our United Way. Since the official merger of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo organizations on July 1, we have accomplished a great deal. We have:

  • Aligned the goals of the two United Ways around education, income and health;
  • Merged and restructured the Board of Directors with cross-regional leadership;
  • Reorganized staff and implemented robust communications to build a strong team;
  • Received $125,000 to date from major sponsors and corporations to help with merger costs and near-term regional projects;
  • Conducted two campaigns this year – one in Battle Creek, one in Kalamazoo – while coordinating regionally to ensure consistent messaging, branding and staff support.

The year ahead will bring continued focus on integrating our operations while advancing the work of United Way and our partners across the region. And, as always, we will honor the intent of donors.

If you’re interested in hearing more about the merger and the work of United Way, please feel free to visit our website or call us at (269) 343-2524. I wish you and your loved ones a warm, safe and uplifting holiday season.

Sincerely,

Mike Larson

President & CEO United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region

United Way; A Catalyst for Change

by United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region

Posted on behalf of Christopher Riker, Director of Marketing & Communications at the United Way of the Battle Creek & Kalamazoo Region

If I do my job right, you’ll never again think of United Way as simply a fundraiser.

Of course, that’s how most people view United Way – understandably so, since raising and investing funds in the community is an important part of our work. But if our region is to thrive, United Way must be much more than a fundraiser and funder.

This year we celebrate the 125th anniversary of United Way’s founding by affirming our role as a catalyst for change. With more than 1,800 local and autonomous United Ways throughout the world, we work with partners across all sectors to identify the greatest needs in the community, define their root causes, accelerate change and advance the common good for all.

In our view, we all win when a child realizes his or her full potential.  We all win when individuals and families have enough income to support themselves through retirement. We all win when individuals and families have access to high quality and affordable healthcare.

Money is part of the solution. But if that was the whole answer, the issues that plague our region would have been solved long ago.

Funding is just the start.  United Way works diligently with people and organizations to understand conditions and set goals in the areas of EDUCATION, INCOME and HEALTH, the building blocks of a vibrant community. We mobilize both human and financial resources, report results from our collective efforts, add value whenever/wherever possible, and invite individuals and organizations to engage with us in creating a stronger, safer, healthier region.

That’s way more effective than simply running an annual campaign – because success depends on all of us working together.

That’s where you come in.

You can GIVE by donating your time, talents and yes, some of your financial resources.

You can ADVOCATE by finding your voice and become a champion for United Way and the critical issues we tackle together.

You can VOLUNTEER by lending a hand to our shared efforts.

No great social movement was ever created by one individual or organization working in isolation. In order to create the change necessary in our region, we need individuals and organizations working together. Our collective future depends on our collective actions.

Join us. LIVE UNITED.  

To find out how you can get more engaged, please email information@uwbckr.org