Coopersville Superintendent to Chair United Way Board
Thursday, April 25, 2013-Holland, MI. At its Annual Meeting, held this morning at the Ottawa County Administration Complex, Greater Ottawa County United Way welcomed a new board chair and two new trustees.
Ron Veldman, Superintendent of Coopersville Area Public Schools, accepted the gavel from Pete Esser, publisher of the Holland Sentinel, who chaired the board during the fiscal year ending March 31. Veldman has been a member of the board for five years and also serves on its executive committee, development committee, and as co-chair of the education division of the community campaign.
Esser remains on the board as an at-large member of the executive committee, which also includes Larry Koops of Fifth Third Bank, vice-chair; David DeYoung, JSJ Corp., treasurer, and Mark Wilson, Huntington Bank, secretary.
The board voted to add two new trustees for three-year terms each. They are Lyndsie Post, of Jenison, a communications manager at Davenport University; and Jeanene Kallio, of Holland, a human resources manager at Tennant Company.
Returning trustees are Les Denton, West Michigan Labor Council; Eric Kaelin, WGHN; Randy Kortering, Haworth; Sarah Lilly, Five Star Realty; Jack Russell, Shape Corp.; Bob Spaman, County of Ottawa; and Paul Thurman, ITW Drawform.
The board thanked outgoing trustees Michael Metzger of Grand Haven (JSJ Corp., retired) and Taiyoh Afrik of Holland (Johnson Controls).
In photo above, newly elected chair of Greater Ottawa County United Way’s Board of Directors, Ron Veldman (left) superintendent of Coopersville Area Public Schools, with outgoing chair Pete Esser, publisher of The Holland Sentinel (center) and United Way President Patrick Moran.
GARDENFEST Offers Free Family Fun this Saturday
GRAND HAVEN, MI – Loutit District Library will be the host of the second annual GardenFest this Saturday fromnoon to 4:00 p.m. The free event, presented by local nutrition and health business BOD-E-NOMICS, features fun, family-centered, hands-on activities to encourage growing, cooking and eating healthy, fresh food.
BOD-E-NOMICS, founded in 2006 when retired Registered Nurse Viki Goldberg and licensed massage therapist and Grand Valley State University alum Wendy Schweifler linked up, has grown into a movement far beyond their 2010 book release of BOD-E-NOMICS: Your Body is Your Business and YOU are the CEO.
“Viki and I, being health professionals, realized that many of our patients and clients did not know how their bodies worked or how what they put in their bodies and how they moved their bodies affected their health,” Schweifler says. “We hoped the more we educated people, the more choices they would have, and the more often they would hopefully made healthier choices. As we started the book, Viki realized how our finances are intertwined with every health decision we make, so we added that to the book as well.”
BOD-E-NOMICS and its creators have played a hand in many of the Grand Haven community’s green, healthy events, including Gardenfest, which was created by Schweifler.
“As I was talking to my clients, some of the moms said that their kids probably didn’t even know what vegetables were because they were so busy and were a drive-thru family,” Schweifler said. “Then, when I asked the kids, they thought food came from the store or restaurant. So I knew we needed to do something.”
The result is Gardenfest, which features fun, hands-on events for kids to learn about gardening, sustainability, and nutrition. It is also an opportunity for local businesses to promote themselves in order to educate the adults on the many local resources available. In addition, Gardenfest is a fund raiser for Greater Ottawa County United Way to further give back to the Grand Haven community's health. “I’m very lucky because my education at Grand Valley taught me valuable business skills and the experience of working hands-on with area businesses and I get to bring that knowledge right back to my community,” Schweifler says.
There is no admission fee for GardenFest, but $1 tickets will be sold for drawings for prizes for kids and adults. Donations from Grand Haven Eagles and Eagles Auxiliary made the prize drawings possible. All proceeds from Zumba and GardenFest go to Greater Ottawa United Way, which funds more than 60 local nonprofit programs to improve the health, education, and financial stability of Ottawa County’s citizens. For more information, visit www.ottawaunitedway.org or find GardenFest on Facebook.
Donate to Boston Marathon Bombing Victims
Greater Ottawa County United Way is helping citizens of Ottawa County to donate to a fund for the victims of the April 15, 2013 bombing at the Boston Marathon. When you click on the link below it will take you to a secure page powered by United Way's Truist donation system. Your donation, less a 3.99% processing fee, will go directly to United Way of Massachusetts Bay, headquartered in Boston, which is making sure that donations go where they are needed most. If you have questions, please call us at 616-396-7811.
Greater Ottawa County United Way Achieves Coveted 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator
April 9, 2013 - Ottawa County, MI— Greater Ottawa County United Way has achieved the highest-possible rating from one of the nation’s premier charity evaluators.
On April 1, Ken Berger, President and CEO of Charity Navigator, announced that GOCUW received Charity Navigator’s four-star rating for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency. The rating indicates that GOCUW “adheres to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way,” Berger wrote in a congratulatory letter to GOCUW President Patrick Moran.
“We are honored to receive this wonderful designation,” Moran said. “Our supporters demand and deserve accountability, and I am very pleased that we are recognized for consistently providing it.”
In achieving the ranking, GOCUW joins a select group of charities that have achieved four out of four stars.
“This exceptional designation from Charity Navigator differentiates Greater Ottawa County United Way from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust,” Berger wrote.
Forbes, Business Week, and Kiplinger’s Financial Magazine have all profiled Charity Navigator’s unique method of applying data-driven analysis to the charitable sector.
Based on information provided in IRS form 990, Charity Navigator analyzed GOCUW's performance in seven financial metrics: program expenses, administrative expenses, fundraising expenses, fundraising efficiency, primary revenue growth, program expenses growth, and working capital ratio. It also evaluated the institution in several accountability and transparency performance metrics.
Community Celebrates Campaign Increase
Greater Ottawa County United Way has completed the 2012-13 community campaign, and Thursday night it announced campaign results and honored outstanding campaign companies, nonprofit community partners, and volunteers at its annual Celebration Dinner. One of the highlights of the event, held at Doubletree Hotel in Holland, was the announcement of a 2.5 percent increase over last year’s campaign, with a total raised of $2,234,165, which was 97 percent of the $2.3-million campaign goal.
"We really thought we’d hit our goal, and even hoped we’d go over it,” said Budd Brink, Chief Financial Officer of Shape Corporation, who, with wife Melinda Brink, retired assistant superintendent of Grand Haven Area Public Schools, co-chaired the campaign. “We believe, however, that by setting an ambitious goal we created a campaign that was full of energy and helped more people to live united. We are celebrating that we increased the campaign for the fourth year in a row, with nearly every division of the campaign posting an up result,” he added.
United Way reported that workplace campaign participation notched up from 25 to 26 percent, and individuals outside workplaces gave 6 percent more than last year. A retiree mailing campaign, which was spearheaded by Sandy Huber and Steve Groters, both retired principals from Grand Haven Area Public Schools, netted $17,775, an increase of 62 percent over the previous year.
Melinda Brink said, “The major firms of Ottawa County came through once again, posting a 9.5 increase over a similar increase last year. The workplace campaigns at 54 major firms raised just over $1.5 million, or two-thirds of the campaign total. These are manufacturing companies, energy suppliers, banks, healthcare companies, and large retailers, and we are so grateful that they have weathered these past few difficult years without ever losing their will to invest in our community … the United Way,” she said.
Budd Brink congratulated his colleagues at Shape, whose campaign increased 10 percent and raised more than $230,000 to become the top campaign in Ottawa County. “But we tip our hats to our good friends at Haworth—whose campaign we edged ever so slightly this year. They welcomed us warmly and hosted our campaign kickoff press conference in their headquarters on September 19, the same day that their workplace campaign kicked off. Year in and year out, the people of Haworth – and the Haworth family – are superheroes who help keep this community strong,” he said.
United Way President Patrick Moran said, “Our goal was to support the increasing needs of our community partners in Ottawa County—and with four years of campaign increases, careful fiscal management, and strong community impact, we have been able to increase our community investment dollars for the past three years.” United Way community investment dollars help support 62 health and human service programs of 42 local nonprofit agencies.
Highlights of the campaign include 237 workplace campaigns completed, with 153 of those showing increases or staying the same compared with 2012 results. For the tenth year in a row, United Way received a challenge from an anonymous donor who offered to match all new or increased leadership gifts (gifts of $500 or more from an individual or household) made by residents of the Tri-Cities, up to $30,000. Louann Werksma, United Way Director of Development, reported that 116 new or increased leadership gifts totaling $64,120 were received from Tri-Cities residents, meeting that challenge. “County-wide, 684 households gave leadership-level gifts totaling $739,622, representing almost one third of the total campaign,” she added.
“As hard as we work on our workplace campaigns, we still only reach about 20 percent of the citizens of Ottawa County,” said United Way President Patrick Moran. “The other 80 percent can join the movement anytime by visiting our website and checking the box to become an Everyday Hero with a pledge of just $1 per week. If each of Ottawa County’s 100,000 working adults who don’t now contribute to the campaign would pledge just $1 per week, we could triple the campaign.”
United Way officials said that their work could not be done without the generosity of corporate partners and volunteers alike. A total of 46 volunteers served on this year’s Campaign Cabinet, and 64 community members served on community investment panels to decide where the dollars that are raised should be allocated.
Volunteerism was also celebrated Thursday, with United Way Director of Volunteerism Shannon Morton announcing that the fourth year-long campaign to “raise” volunteers exceeded its goal of 6,000 volunteers. According to Morton, a total of 6,933 volunteers gave 128,288 hours of service, valued at $2.8 million, to Ottawa County from March 22, 2012 through March 21, 2013. Wendy Schweifler of Grand Haven, a certified massage therapist, author, and owner of a health and nutrition franchise who has been a long-time volunteer for United Way and several other community organizations, was named 2013 Volunteer of the Year.
The Center for Women in Transition, a United Way community partner agency, received the Nonprofit Pinnacle of Partnership Award. Paul Thurman, Impact Cabinet Chair, honored community investment volunteers with 3-year and 5-year service awards.
Among other successes celebrated Thursday, United Way applauded individuals and teams for their hard work and ingenuity. Bob Van Dyke of Automatic Spring Products Corp. received the Joe Martella Above and Beyond Award. This award is given to a company campaign coordinator who consistently goes above and beyond in managing the workplace campaign. United Way’s “Out of the Box” award for the most innovative company campaign was presented to Dake Corp. of Grand Haven. Twelve Ottawa County companies and organizations—A.D. Bos Vending Services, Inc., Anderson Technologies, Automatic Spring Products Corp., Children’s Advocacy Center, Fifth Third Bank, ITW Drawform., Greater Ottawa County United Way, The Holland Sentinel, JSJ Corp., PNC Bank, Shape Corp. and Varnum Law--were the recipients of the major Community Builder Award. This award recognizes the companies that GIVE, ADVOCATE, and VOLUNTEER within the community and on behalf of United Way.
The prestigious G.W. Haworth Strength of the Community Award was presented to three generations of the Bos family of Holland – Thomas G. and Jane Bos, Thomas J. and Laurie Bos, and their children David, Megan and Tommy. This award recognizes the organization, family or individual that exemplifies United Way’s leadership spirit of volunteering, philanthropy, and community problem-solving.
“United Way and its board, staff, and volunteers can’t thank our Ottawa County communities enough for their generosity and continuous dedication to making Ottawa County a great place to live and work,” said Moran. “Because of the partnership among investors, volunteers, and programs, we are able to put in place the building blocks of a better life for everyone in Ottawa County.” END
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