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2022 Annual Report

Dear Friends of United Way,

2022 was a year of transition for the United Way of Northeast Michigan. Our old business model was no longer viable and we made the move to improve our fundraising and delivery of program and services enhancing the common good by creating opportunities for all. In years past 80% of our support was provided by workplace campaigns and employee pledges. The pandemic, changing workplaces, mergers, centralized payroll and accounting has provided a significant decline in employee workplace support. Today workplace campaigns equal less than 30% of our campaign success. We have transitioned to corporate partnerships, grants and special fundraisers supporting our own programs.

Our old business model had the United Way as a “pass-through” organization where our campaign fundraising provided direct support to community investment partners who went through an application and vetting process on an annual basis. We continue to support other community human service agencies through a simpler and timelier mini-grant process and we’ve redirected much of our financial support into our own programs, i.e., Christmas Wish List, 2-1-1, Summer Stock Up, Gear Up, Stuff the Bus and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. The pandemic taught us that we can be ready to meet the needs of the communities we serve and our relevance is in our ability to respond quickly. 2022 ushered in a new chapter of relevancy and purpose for the United Way of Northeast Michigan.

We are the fiduciary agents for Great Start Collaborative-Cheboygan, Martin Luther King Committee, Run United and we received a $75,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation/Michigan Health Endowment Fund/W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support the Healthy Food Initiative in Northeast Michigan for 2022. We became the Alpena County Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) champion in June of 2022. DPIL is a 60 volume set of books beginning with the children’s classic The Little Engine that Could™. Each month a new, carefully selected book is mailed directly to child’s home addressed to the child. The best part of the program is the book is a FREE GIFT! There is no cost or registration requirement. All children under the age of 5 that live in Alpena County are eligible. More than 550 children (of 1300+ eligible) registered in 2022. We have received generous support of this program from our donors.

We strengthened our relationship with school success workers and have assisted them by providing special classroom needs, Dial-A-Ride coupon booklets, additional school supplies, driver education expenses and work clothing. They have helped us identify teens in need for Gear Up and we were able to provide those teens a $200 chaperoned pre-school shopping trip. School Success workers helped identify families in need for our Christmas Wish Program and we were able to provide 370 children with essential basic needed items at Christmas. Volunteer matching donors make this program successful.

We participated in Summer Stock Up a statewide program collecting food for area food pantries and we collected 26 tons of food that was distributed to Salvation Army, St. Vincent De Paul and Grace Lutheran’s Little Food Pantry.

Our Stuff the Bus program in August collected nearly a full school bus of school supplies that were distributed to Alpena Public Schools, Alcona Community Schools, Hillman and Atlanta schools.

We distributed Emergency Food & Shelter Program funds of $16,394 from Phase 39 and $50,057 from Phase ARPA-R throughout our 3 county service area. Some of these funds provided more than $8,000 of motel/hotel vouchers for homeless clients of NEMCSA.

Our membership in the Michigan Association of United Ways allowed us to sponsor the 21-Day Disability Equity Challenge to our communities. More than 150 people participated. Our community support allowed us to provide gas cards to Friends Together, 50 holiday food boxes to the area veterans the Boys & Girls Club, 350 free lunches during Nicolet’s community celebration and we sponsored the Road to Restoration workshop allowing citizens to get assistance with getting their Driver’s License restored. And, our work continues and the needs in our community continue to grow.

We are excited about our new direction and with our ability to improve lives in our community. Thank you for your support!

Joseph Gentry
Executive Director