United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region


Month: March, 2013

Thank You

by United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region

A community is woven from the threads of stories.

Most people don’t see it.  They see a world spinning upon data, dogma and dispute.  But the truth is, each of us pens our life’s saga, and collectively we author a broader narrative.  That gives us the power to transform our community when we write that story together.

Consider the tale of Aracely.  Her mother, Fanny, describes the preschooler as a candle, Imagefueled by a passion for   learning and new experiences.  Take the fuel away — as was Fanny’s plight in her youth — and the flame would die.  Instead, through the Kalamazoo County Ready 4’s initiative and the Learning Village, Aracely is learning and growing, preparing for kindergarten and for everything else the future offers.

“Her candle will burn long and bright, and that’s all any parent can ask for,” says Fanny.

Then there’s the tale of Charmica.  It’s a story that any of us could experience — job loss, homelessness, isolation.  Into her story stepped the Women’s Co-op of Battle Creek, making it possible to earn her GED, attend college and secure a place to live.  Image

“Today I’m studying for my nursing boars, and I actively participate with the Co-op in helping others,” Charmica says.

Two stories.  Two chronicles that might have ended differently if not for those willing to help rewrite their narratives.

United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region is proud to support these efforts — and grateful for the generosity, compassion and involvement of donors, volunteers and partners like you.

With our 2012 Campaign coming to a close, we celebrate not merely numbers, but lives transformed.

Of the changing story of our regional community.

And of you, the authors of a truly epic tale.


Mike Larson, President and CEO and Chris Sargent, Executive Vice President and COO

Helping to Change the Story: Mark Zigterman

by Kierstin Nall


After ten months of unemployment, Mark Zigterman was contacted by a temp agency about an opening at United Way. While he didn’t know it at the time, it would be the beginning of a new journey. Filled with a renewed sense of hope, Mark began his new job at United Way in January 2006 as a Finance Assistant.

Living as “middle class” in the region since the 1980’s allowed Mark to live a blinded life. “You don’t often know how big the problems actually are. We don’t always tend to think about those that are struggling,” says Mark of his life before United Way. “I always knew about United Way. I knew that they were a good organization, but I was never really involved.”

Through his employment, Mark began to learn more about the role United Way plays in the community. “We don’t just fund organizations, we support programs. We provide leadership, accountability and expertise while focusing on the most important issues.” Mark is happy to work for an organization that focuses on the three pillars that he believes are tied to one another: Education, Income and Health. “If a family is dealing with health or financial issues, they cannot focus on education.” Mark comes from a family of educators and fully believes in the work and mission of United Way: To advance the common good by creating a better life for all.

Today, as a Senior Accountant at United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region, Mark works his magic with numbers to ensure United Way’s accounting records are accurate and monitors financial procedures and internal controls. He works hard to ensure United Way can be as effective as possible and he is taking on new roles, such as grant accounting.

“I get up every morning, and I enjoy coming to work. I have a passion for accounting, and I know I am helping make a difference in this region with every number I crunch and spreadsheet I create.”

United Way continues to be successful because of the dedicated employees, volunteers and partners, like Mark. Mark is helping change the story.