It's not just about raising money; it's about changing lives at Flint-area United Way

FLINT, Michigan—The goal is quite simple even in its enormity. The United Way of Genesee and Shiawassee Counties is looking to make a difference 100,000 times over. 

While the United Way goals of the not-so-distant past centered on dollars and cents, the local United Way made a shift several years ago to instead focus on the number of life-changing moments it could produce. In 2018, the local United Way produced 100,000 moments and its goal is to do the same this year.

At the 2019 campaign kickoff celebration, CEO Jamie Gaskin described those moments as a person helping someone else. It could be helping a young mother find a physician in Flint. It could be providing a backpack full of food for a family in Clio. It could be finding meaningful employment for someone in Fenton. 

“The needs that we have spread from one end of our county to the other,” Gaskin said at the kickoff event at the Flint Farmers’ Market on Thursday, Aug. 22. It is one of eight kickoff events held in the area.

The United Way is funded through the contributions of employees at more than 200 workplaces throughout Genesee and Shiawassee counties — typically through donations of a few dollars out of each week’s paycheck. 
Jamie Gaskin, CEO of the United Way of Genesee and Shiawassee Counties, talks about the collective impact of donors at the 2019 campaign kickoff Aug. 22 at the Flint Farmers' Market.
Greg Viener, Huntington Bank regional president and vice chair of the local United Way, noted that last year’s campaign helped 354 adults gain meaningful employment, 29,000 people get help through the 2-1-1 service line, and 500 children enroll in early childhood education programs.

All told, the United Way was able to leverage local dollars to bring $15 million additional investments to the region.

“None of this would be possible without the partnerships that we have,” Gaskin said. “We really are the product of our collective action together.”

Last year’s campaign allowed the United Way to fund 72 projects. Here’s a look at the programs funded in Flint and the surrounding communities:

Genesee County grants:

• American Red Cross - Disaster Services 
• Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flint and Genesee County - Community-Based Mentoring 
• Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Flint – Greater Futures Start Here 
• Catholic Charities - Center for Hope 
• Communication Access Center - Understand Clear 
• Family Service Agency of Mid Michigan - In-Home Eldercare 
• Family Service Agency of Mid Michigan - Representative Payee 
• Genesee Intermediate School District - SKIP 
• Genesee STEM Academy - After School Clubs 
• Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan - Uniquely Me! At Shelter of Flint and YWCA 
• Greater Flint Health Coalition - CHAP 
• Jewish Community Services - Senior Wellness Outreach 
• Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan Inc. - Youth Financial Literacy 
• LISC - Financial Opportunity Center 
• MADE Institute - Life Skills Program 
• Metro Community Development - HMIS 
• Motherly Intercession - Reading and Counting to Success PLUS 
• Shelter of Flint, Inc. - Caterpillar Clubhouse 
• Shelter of Flint, Inc. - Emergency Services 
• The Salvation Army - Emergency Support Services 
• Valley Area Agency on Aging - KISS 
• Voices for Children Advocacy Center - Court Appointed Special Advocates 
• YMCA of Greater Flint - Y Safe Places 
• YWCA of Greater Flint - Safe House & SAFE Center 

Flint grants: 

• Boy Scouts - Water & Woods Field Service Council - Urban Scouting 
• Crim Fitness Foundation - Flint Community Schools 
• Genesee County Habitat for Humanity - Homeowner Occupied Repair Program 
• Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan - Girl Engagement Initiative 
• Michigan Education Corps - Reading Corps 
• St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center - Small Pantry Program

Burton area grants:

• Atherton Community Schools - Early Childhood Literacy 
• Beecher Community School District - Early Childhood Literacy 
• Bendle Public Schools - Early Childhood Literacy 
• Bentley Community Schools - Early Childhood Literacy 
• Kearsley Community Schools - Early Childhood Literacy 

Clio area grants:

• Clio Area Schools - Early Childhood Literacy 
• Genesee School District - Early Childhood Literacy 
• LakeVille Community Schools - Early Childhood Literacy 
• Montrose Community Schools - Early Childhood Literacy 
• Mt. Morris Consolidated Schools - Enhancing Student Learning 
• Westwood Heights - Early Childhood Literacy 

Davison Grants:

• Davison Community Schools - Early Childhood Literacy 
• Outreach East - Small Pantry Program 

Fenton/Linden Region Grants: 

• Fenton Area Public Schools - JumpStart Parent-Child Programs  
• Lake Fenton Community Schools - Project Read! 
• Linden Community Schools - Play TOGETHER/Learn TOGETHER 
• Center of Hope – Small Pantry Program 

Flushing Region Grants: 

• Carman-Ainsworth Community Schools - Early Childhood Literacy 
• Flushing Community Schools - Early Childhood Literacy 
• Swartz Creek Community Schools - Pre-Kindergarten Literacy Program 
• Westwood Heights Schools - After School Programming 

Grand Blanc/Goodrich Region Grants:

• FISH of Grand Blanc - Small Pantry Program 
• Goodrich Area Schools - Early Childhood Literacy 
• Grand Blanc Community Schools - Family Connections Parent Education 

Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Marjory Raymer.