United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region


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.

Volunteer Spotlight: WMU Students Lend a Hand

by Kierstin Nall

Students enjoying their time at Goodwill!

Students are an extremely valuable part of the community we live in. Now, I suppose I am a little biased since I am a student. But, as I approach graduation, I’m taking more notice of the active role students play in changing people’s lives for the better. At United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region, we understand that students offer a lot. They are innovative, fresh thinking, and passionate about giving back.

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to bring together a great group of 24 students from Western Michigan University to participate in a volunteer opportunity at two local agencies, Heritage Senior Living Center and Goodwill Industries of Southwest Michigan. Students who visited Heritage enjoyed time at the organization’s “Harvest Festival” and got to know the residents through games, snacks and conversation. Goodwill asked students to help repaint areas of their warehouse, a task that allowed staff to stay focused on their mission.

These are just two examples.   There are others as well as great potential to do even more.  We need to make sure students understand the importance of engaging in our community. If we  give them the opportunity, they’ll make this a better place to live and work.

Top 25 Breakfast

by Kierstin Nall


Early morning meetings seem to be happening much more frequently around our office. Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Top 25 Breakfast, this year held at the Gilmore Car Museum. What an amazing location with so much history! Though it was early, excitement was in the air from the region’s largest contributing organizations and companies toward the United Way campaign.

I really enjoyed the breakfast and listening to each of the Campaign Chairs from Battle Creek and Kalamazoo provide their encouragement for the efforts this year. Part of the program included a panel made up of Cindy Ruble, Executive Director of Educator’s Task Force, Paul Spaude, President & CEO of Borgess Health Alliance and Tim Terrentine, Vice President at Southwest Michigan First.

I think it is safe to say that everyone left the room feeling extremely encouraged. Our focus on Education, Income and Health is addressing root causes of the largest community issues, that will ultimately change lives. Community collaboration is what makes this possible.

Thanks to everyone who came! For an extended view of highlights from the panel, check out the video below!