United Way Goal: $14.1 Million

September 6, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Heart of West Michigan United Way announced today that it has set its 2007 fundraising goal at $14.1 million.

Part of the money will focus on the organization’s new emphasis on childhood development and literacy. The local United Way also supports 116 programs at 52 social service agencies.

This year’s goal is $200,000 more than the $13.9 million raised in 2006. Last year, the United Way surpassed its $13.8 million goal by $100,000, but the previous two years, the organization fell short of its goals.

Campaign Chairman Frank Merlotti, president of Steelcase Inc.’s Premier Group, said he’s confident United Way can meet the goal that was set by the campaign cabinet, which includes 45 business and community leaders. He said the United Way is looking to Grand Rapids’ three nonprofit acute-care hospitals — Metro Health, Saint Mary’s Health Care and Spectrum Health — to lead growth in donations.

“We anticipate a positive increase in the growing health care sector,” Merlotti said.

United Way plans to double the number of reading tutors, from 1,000 to 2,000, who work with children in Grand Rapids Public Schools in the Families and Communities Together for Students program.

The United Way also is planning its annual Day of Caring volunteer event for Tuesday.

Some 1,600 volunteers from 48 businesses and organizations will fan out to perform service projects for 71 nonprofit agencies. The projects range from reading to children to painting.

Participating in the Day of Caring are: Aetna, Alticor, Americorps, Autocam, Behler-Young Co., Cascade Engineering, Chemical Bank, city of Grand Rapids, Comphealth Medical Staffing, Custer Workplace Interiors, CWA 4034/AT&T, Detroit Diesel Remanufacturing North, DTE Energy, Ernst & Young, FedEx, Feyen-Zylstra, Fifth Third Bank, G&T Industries, Gordon Manufacturing, Grand Valley State University, Haviland Enterprises, Heart of West Michigan United Way, Hungerford Aldrin, Lear Local 2344, Nichols & Carter, Huntington Bank, IKON Document Efficiency at Work, ITW Dahti Seating, JC Penney Catalog, JPMorgan Chase, Kent Regional 4C, Lacks Wheel Trim Systems, Macatawa Bank, Marsh USA, Mercantile Bank of Michigan, Nationwide Insurance, Philip Morris USA, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, Principal Financial Group, Progressive AE, Rapidparts, Steelcase, Target Stores, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Vi-Chem Corp. and Zondervan.     

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