Start Your Engines for United Way Campaign 2019 in Michigan’s Great Southwest

Everybody’s pulse quickens when the charge goes out to “Start Your Engines!” The pulse races even faster when you’re the one turning the key and the engine actually fires making you the winner of a new car over the next two years. Imagine yourself behind the wheel at Tyler Automotive next winter when United Way of Southwest Michigan caps another campaign with a lucky car winner in Michigan’s Great Southwest.

This week, everyone is being told to start their engines and get into the chase for not only a shot at a two-year lease on a sub-compact vehicle from Tyler Automotive, but the rev up the Campaign Kick Off taking place this week.

United Way of Southwest Michigan’s campaign is open. And for the second year in a row, the United Way team has partnered with Tyler Automotive to provide a new car challenge. Donors who give $156 are automatically entered into a drawing to win a two-year lease on a sub-compact vehicle from Tyler Automotive. For every additional $100 contributed, donors receive an additional entry into the drawing.

Ten finalists will be selected, and the 2018 winner will be announced on February 19, 2019 at Tyler Automotive in Stevensville. Consolation prizes will be awarded to the 9 other finalists. At last year’s car giveaway, Duane Berger of St. Joseph rode away with a new set of wheels as shown in the photo accompanying this story on Moody on the Market.

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United Way President Anna Murphy is delighted, saying, “We appreciate Tyler’s support of United Way. This campaign created some great engagement around the community, but more importantly, created huge impact.”

The automatic entry of $156, which equates to $3 per week, is enough money to provide 34 meals for someone dealing with food insecurity. It provides one free book for a child every month for 5 years.

This year, United Way of Southwest Michigan is leading a state-wide unified kickoff, to encourage people to get involved in their communities.

Michael Larson is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Michigan Association of United Ways (MAUW). He says the unified kickoff allows United Ways of all sizes to spotlight their local impact statewide at the same time, noting, “While each United Way tackles the needs in their local community, together we improve the quality of life for all people across Michigan.”  Larson adds, “When we share our ideas and successes, we grow together and transform our communities in meaningful ways.”

Beginning immediately, participating United Ways are sharing their stories through advertising, news media and social media. A common online website,, includes a video and links to the local United Ways taking part.

While the week-long kickoff is statewide, funds raised locally will stay local,  according to Murphy who reminds everyone, “We’re focused on impacting local lives and sharing that story across Michigan.”

According to Larson, the unified kickoff sprung from a dialogue four years ago between MAUW, Capital Area United Way, United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region, United Way of Jackson County, and United Way of Southwest Michigan. The effort adds no additional cost to participating United Ways, and in fact it helps increase visibility for smaller United Ways that may not have resources for extensive marketing.

Larson suggests, “United Way connects and mobilizes all sectors in a community to create lasting change that produces healthy, educated and financially stable individuals and families,” and adds, “The unified kickoff is about telling that story and inviting people to get involved.”

United Way of Southwest Michigan fights for the Health, Education and Financial Stability of every person in every community. They have the influence and relationships to make sustainable change a reality. By harnessing resources from corporate, nonprofit and public partners, they provide immediate assistance to the most vulnerable populations while addressing the root causes of the community’s longstanding challenges and changing lives for the better. To join the fight—through giving, advocacy and volunteering—visit online at

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