United Way of Southwest Michigan Seeking Nominees for Volunteer Recognition

Photo: 2017 and 2018 Margaret B Upton Volunteer Leadership Award Arden Pridgeon of St. Joseph (L) and Jerry Flenar of Buchanan (R), who will be helping decide this year's winner.

The United Way of Southwest Michigan is asking for nominations of volunteers for recognition at their annual Volunteer Recognition Event.

The highest honor of the event is the organization's lifetime achievement award, the Margaret B. Upton Volunteer Leadership Award. The award goes to one volunteer in Berrien County who has a volunteer history of more than 10 years, a diversity of volunteer experience with multiple organizations or significant contribution to a single organization, and teamwork and leadership experience through various levels including physical, clerical, and/or service at the board level.

The winner will also receive $3,500 to donate to the nonprofit organization of his or her choice. Two runners-up are also chosen to receive $750 to donate.

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“Last year, we had 2,242 volunteers serve 17,776 hours, and that’s a value of $438,120 in service hours,” said Julee Laurent, Senior Manager of United Way of Southwest Michigan’s Volunteer Engagement. “Volunteers are crucial to improving our community in Southwest Michigan, and our Volunteer Recognition Event gives us a chance to celebrate some of the extraordinary work they’re doing to lift us all up.”

The United Way will also present the Sustaining and Emerging Volunteer Awards to recognize volunteers from Berrien or Cass County who show a commitment to the organization's goals in education, income, health or basic needs.

The Emerging Volunteer winner will be given $300 to donate to the nonprofit organization of their choice while the Sustaining Volunteer will be able to donate $500.

The deadline for nominations to be submitted to United Way is August 16, 2019, the Volunteer Recognition Event will take place on Thursday, October 3. You can click here to nominate a person for the Margaret B. Upton Volunteer Leadership Award. For more information, you can contact Julee Laurent at the United Way of Southwest Michigan.