Our Work

Mission and Movement of the United Way of Northeast Michigan

Our mission...
United Way of Northeast Michigan serves the region by directing charitable resources to meet human needs.

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 Alcona, Alpena & 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 through out 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 raised to the member agencies.

Can you designate a gift to a specific agency?
Community wide care is the most powerful way to invest a contribution. This gift will help all community partner agency programs. We also honor specific designations to partner agencies as well as any outside organizations that are 501c3 tax exempt human care entities. There is a 5% charge for designation loss on payroll deduction and direct bill donations and there is a 10% administrative charge on organizations outside of Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Presque Isle Counties. There is no charge on designations made to other United Way’s. The United Way also offers impact area designations to Basic Human Needs, Education, Health & Income Services. Partner agencies are categorized under these impact areas and donations designated to these areas are split between the 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, 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-four (34) phases. 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 worked with other local organizations for many years in bringing 2-1-1 to the coverage area; which has achieved and became a reality in 2012. The United Way continues to financially support this service.
The United Way collaborates with local and state organizations in building a stronger, healthier, more compassionate community.
We are the fiduciary for the Great Start Collaborative for Cheboygan, Otsego, Presque Isle (COP) counties. And for the Wash a Coat Program.
In August 2016 the United Way held the first “School Clothes Initiative”. This program allowed twenty-five (25) youth from 6th – 12th grade to receive a $125 gift card to shop with an adult volunteer and pick out new clothes and personal hygiene products. We partnered with Meijer and they added a $50 gift card for each youth to purchase school supplies. Meijer also gave each youth a backpack with assorted school supplies. This program continued in 2017 and thirty (30) youth were invited to participate. This has become a signature initiative of the United Way.
In 2013, we initiated the Mini Grant Program (f/k/a Emerging Needs Fund). This program, which is offered twice a year, March & August, offers 501c3 human care agencies, with or without United Way affiliation, to apply for grant up to $1,000 for 1) community needs and/or 2) new approaches to previously-identified needs; and/or 3) an agency or community emergency. In 2017 $18,396 was distributed through this program and $74,796 since the inception.
In 2013 and 2014 the United Way partnered with CLEAResult/Efficiency UNITED and Young Appliance Art Van to distribute refrigerators to citizens who are Alpena Power Company customers, were 200% of the poverty level and had refrigerators that were 10 years or older. During that time we were able to replace 123 units, 73 in apartment complexes and 50 individual homes.