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History

Mission and Movement of the United Way of Northeast Michigan

In the beginning…

On September 14, 1955, the United Way was formed in Alpena. At that time it was referred to as the United Fund of Alpena. Prominent people like Frank Kelley (former Michigan Attorney General), Phillip Glennie who was a local judge, Phil Park from Besser Company, Harold Hudson, Russ Wilson, Edgard Diamond, James Dotsch & William McDonald, who were local businessmen formed the United Way. In the late 60’s the name was changed to the Alpena County United Way and in 1986 it was changed to its present name of United Way of Northeast Michigan. The first campaign had a goal of $65,000 of which $52,692 was raised for seven (7) local and thirty-two (32) state and national human care agencies. The first chairman was William McDonald and the first Campaign Director was Alan Walker.

What is the United Way…

The United Way of Northeast Michigan serves the region by directing charitable resources to meet human needs. In other words, the United Way is here helping meet the health and human care needs of thousands of people in Alpena, Alcona & Montmorency Counties.

How is this mission accomplished…

The United Way helps develop and coordinated health and social programs. It serves as a central resource in planning and providing community-wide services. The organization communicates with the public to broaden the understanding and knowledge of human service needs and the resources required in meeting those needs.

How is this done and who is doing it…

Through a single community-wide campaign, which is usually held in the fall of the year, volunteers raise funds to support local, state and national human care agencies. Volunteers carry out the great majority of United Way activities.

Who gives to the United Way…

Anyone! Funding comes from many different areas throughout the community. Contributions are received through corporate and employee contributions from major firms and small business/commercial entities, educational institutions, professional people, community service agencies and individuals.

How are the funds raised distributed…

Funds raised during the annual campaign are distributed effectively, based on the community’s needs, by volunteers who represent diverse segments of the community. Prior to allocating funds raised, the volunteers assess the community needs and determine how to distribute funds so that donors know their money is battling the most pressing community issues and reaching the people who are most in need. The local United Way has a Board of Directors and along with the Allocations Committee they have the task of allocating funds to the member agencies.

Who receives the benefits of the dollars raised…

Thousands of people receive assistance from the United Way partner agencies on an annual basis. They reach out to persons from infancy through senior citizens. Dollars raised assist agencies that provide disaster relief, emergency food and shelter, crisis intervention, day care, physical rehabilitation, youth development, and much, much more.

Does the United Way offer assistance other than through the annual campaign…

The United Way is involved with the Emergency Food & Shelter Program and has been for thirty ((30) years. This program awards grants to civil jurisdictions that are in the greatest need of help. Programs assist with food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, food banks, rent/mortgage payments and utility assistance. Dollars used for this program come directly from the federal government. Information and referral is another service provided. The United Way has the ability and the resources to assist individuals or families who are looking for help in many areas. 

The United Way also collaborates with local and state organizations in building a stronger, healthier, more compassionate community. The United Way is one of the lead organizations with the “Project Connect” committee. This committee assists individuals and families in Alpena, Alcona & Montmorency counties with finding the correct resources for what their need may be. The committee also donates paper, cleaning and hygiene supplies to food pantries. 

The UWNM supports 2-1-1, an information and referral service, financially and through advocacy. United Way offers, twice a year, the opportunity for any 501c3 organization to apply to the Emerging Needs Fund. This fund assists with emerging community needs; new approaches to previously-identified needs; agency or community need. The intent of these monies is to fund program that seek to meet high priority needs of the community.

We are…

LOCAL! The United Way of Northeast Michigan (UWNM) is an independent, locally controlled organization governed by a Board of Directors from the community. (The UWNM is separate and autonomous from the United Way Worldwide (UWW) and the Michigan Association of United Way’s (MAUW). UWW and MAUW do not control UWNM.)

We are…

DONOR CHOICE! In the United Way campaign, contributors have the choice of where they want their dollars to go. A contributor many choose to invest their gift in the community wide fund, a target area, or select a specific member agency. 

We are…

EFFICIENT! Over 97% of the funds collected go to support community programs and services in the service area. The fundraising, marketing and management expenses of 15.9% (2012) are well below the Better Business Bureau’s guideline of 35%.

We are…

COMMUNITY BASED! Community citizens decide where and how community dollars are spent. Volunteers (non-board members) serve on the Citizens’ Review Panels along with representatives of the United Way Board and they review the agencies’ programs and funding requests and make recommendations to the Board of Directors, as a whole for distribution of allocated dollars.

We are…

ACCOUNTABLE! The United Way of northeast Michigan and each United Way community partner agency must be recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)3, non-profit organization, be governed by a volunteer board of directors, be audited annually by a CPA firm, if applicable, annually present and defend their entire budget to a panel of community volunteers, and operate at a reasonable cost.