Seeking Nominations for Volunteer Leader of the Year

Somewhere out there is the next Bertha Carson-King. For that matter, she or he could be the next Margaret B. Upton. You may work side-by-side with them, or you may simply admire their work from afar. Regardless of the situation, if you know of a stellar volunteer for any organization or series of organizations in Michigan’s Great Southwest, it’s time to help get them the recognition they justly deserve.

United Way of Southwest Michigan is seeking nominations for their upcoming summer Volunteer Recognition Event.

The event recognizes and celebrates the outstanding volunteers in Berrien and Cass counties, and the night will be highlighted by the presentation of the prestigious lifetime achievement award, the Margaret B. Upton Volunteer Leadership Award. That’s an honor that is given to the one volunteer in Berrien County who demonstrates a long-standing history of volunteerism of more than 10 years and a diverse volunteer background with multiple organizations.

The winner, like the 2016 honoree, Bertha Carson-King, will receive $3,500 to donate to the non-profit organization of his or her choice. The deadline to submit nominations for the MBU award is May 12th.

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There is a veritable army to choose from, according to United Way of Southwest Michigan President Anna Murphy. As she tells us, “There were over 32,000 United Way volunteer hours tallied in 2016, equaling more than $764,000 in service.” She reminds us all that, “Volunteers are a driving force behind improving the common good in southwest Michigan. Our Volunteer Recognition Event gives us a chance to recognize some of the extraordinary work being done in our communities.”

Additional awards will also be presented the night of the event including:


The LIVE UNITED Youth Scholarships recognize one winner from Berrien County and one from Cass County who demonstrate a commitment to volunteerism through innovation, dedication, and advocacy for community improvement.

Each winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship made out to the college on their behalf. Only current High School Seniors are eligible to apply. Both winners must be able to attend the event. The nomination deadline is May 5th.


The Sustaining and Emerging Volunteer Awards recognize volunteers from Berrien or Cass County who show a commitment to United Way’s goals in the areas of Education, Income, Health or Basic Needs. These volunteers have elevated an organization to new levels. The Emerging Volunteer winner will have the opportunity to direct $300 to the non-profit organization of their choice while the Sustaining Volunteer will be able to direct $500. The nomination deadline is May 12th.

To submit nominations or to apply, visit For any additional information not found on the website, you can contact Jan Radde at

United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in southwest Michigan. They do this by LIVING UNITED. By forging unlikely partnerships. By finding new solutions to old problems. And by mobilizing the best resources. To join the fight, visit

In the photo accompanying this story on Moody on the are, from left to right, Priscilla Upton Byrns, daughter of the late Margaret B. Upton, 2016 award winner Bertha Carson-King, and Congressman Fred Upton, grandson of Margaret B. Upton, as captured at the awards event last year.