She was right up there on the small screen Jumbotron along with the leaders and volunteers from United Way organizations from all across the state of Michigan, as Anna Murphy represented the communities of Michigan’s Great Southwest in the official kickoff today of the 2019 campaign season and a statewide effort to celebrate the local impact, encouraging people to get involved. She also renewed a recent tradition that will make somebody a big winner again this year.
Dozens of United Ways across Michigan, including United Way of Southwest Michigan, kicked off that statewide effort today, known as the Unified Kickoff. The wide ranging effort allows United Ways of all sizes to spotlight their local impact on a statewide stage, according to Michael Larson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Michigan Association of United Ways (MAUW).
Larson notes, “Whether locally, regionally, or across Michigan, United Way plays a unique role in bringing together the people, ideas, and resources needed to tackle the toughest issues,” and adds, “By sharing our stories, we grow together and show how our work is improving life for all people across Michigan.”
Starting today, participating United Ways will share their stories through advertising, news media, and social media. A common online website, which is linked below, includes a video and links to the local United Ways taking part. Here is that link: http://letsliveunited.org
While the week-long kickoff is statewide, funds raised locally will stay local, says Anna Murphy, President of United Way of Southwest Michigan, who tells us, “Our message this week is about celebrating our collective impact while focusing on how we change lives for the better right here in Southwest 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; in fact, it increases visibility for smaller United Ways that may not have resources for extensive marketing.
As Larson puts it, “United Way connects and mobilizes all sectors in a community to create lasting change that produces healthy, educated, and financially stable individuals and families,” adding, “We’re thrilled to tell that story to every person in Michigan.”
For the third year in a row, United Way of Southwest Michigan has partnered with Tyler Automotive to provide a car challenge to kick off the campaign. 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 are selected, and the 2019 winner will be announced in February of 2020 at Tyler Automotive on Red Arrow Highway in Stevensville.
The automatic entry of $156, which equates to $3 per week, is enough money to provide 34 meals to someone dealing with food insecurity, two months of support to help a young child learn to read, one free book for a child every month for five years, school supplies for eight kids to start the school year, or support for two individuals to address their mental health.
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 among us 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 www.uwsm.org.