The 2020 United Way Campaign at FHLBank Indianapolis was one of the largest fundraisers that the bank has hosted, and the benefits of our employees’ charitable giving are still being seen well into this year. Last year, through employee donations and matching contributions, the bank raised a total of $103,000.
Each year, our CARE Committee hosts a fundraiser to support the United Way of Central Indiana; however, our 2020 campaign was different in several ways. In addition to running the fundraiser auction and raffle in an entirely virtual environment, the bank added the Michigan Association of United Ways as a partner to broaden our reach to the entire FHLBank Indianapolis district, which includes both Indiana and Michigan. The Michigan Association of United Ways supports the 50 individual United Way programs across the state of Michigan.
“Adding the Michigan Association of United Ways ensured we are making a difference in our entire footprint,” said Dee Bolden, MPP Quality Assurance Manager, and United Way Chair.
In total, FHLBank Indianapolis donated $50,000 to the Michigan Association of United Ways. With this donation, the organization created and awarded $5,000 mini-grant awards to 10 different Michigan United Way chapters to support their programs for Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed (ALICE) households in their communities. ALICE households are working families that struggle to cover basic household expenses of food, housing, childcare, a basic smartphone, transportation, and healthcare.
Below is a summary of how the FHLBank Indianapolis’ 2020 donation to the Michigan Association of United Ways is impacting communities across Michigan.
The United Way of Northeast Michigan will use the grant to provide children living in ALICE households with school clothing and supplies in July and sponsor children for Christmas to gift them needed items. This funding allows the organization to expand both programs to serve more children from ALICE households.
The Oscoda Area United Way will divide the funding among three programs in their service area. The organization has a monthly food giveaway for 150-200 families each month, a backpack program to provide meals for Oscoda Area schools, and Fish Inc. Oscoda to support neighbors with food, clothing, gas, utilities, and shelter. Because the COVID-19 pandemic increased the need for food and financial support, this funding will provide needed resources to local agencies to help them continue to support the ALICE households in our area.
The Otsego County United Way (OCUW) suffered from the first shutdown in 2020 as a service industry community and tourist spot and is now losing the discretionary dollars offered at the beginning of the pandemic. Vulnerable individuals continue to lack access to employment and health and human services benefits. Public transportation is scarce and limited for the rural community, so car repairs and insurance are vital. The mini-grant will help OCUW provide much-needed resources for the ALICE households in the community.
United Way of Saginaw County will use the funding to provide gift cards to families in need of gas cards, groceries, and transportation. The organization expects to bridge the need for emergencies and critical situations for the populations they serve, including ALICE households.
United Way of Lakeshore will use the mini-grant to help the displaced ALICE households in the Muskegon County Lakeshore area where the local shelters are at or near full capacity. This shortage leaves families vulnerable to cold weather, financial burden, and COVID-19.
United Way of Bay County created a new program for ALICE households to receive immediate funding assistance for a bill they need help with while also being enrolled in a financial education series, ‘ALICE Thrives,’ in partnership with PNC Bank. The classes will teach participants how to budget, save, and invest their money to reach their short- and long-term financial goals.
United Way of Gratiot and Isabella is providing a safety net to families working to make ends meet in a community where one in every two individuals is living below the ALICE threshold in Gratiot and Isabella Counties. The funds administered to these families are for one-time, unplanned instances such as addressing car trouble hindering a single mother from getting to work.
United Way of Jackson County (UWJC) started a campaign in 2020 to award $480,000 to local organizations, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were unable to reach their goal. Their program partner, the Child Care Network, provides funding to ALICE households who cannot afford quality, licensed childcare on their incomes. This grant funding will allow UWJC to fully fund the Child Care Network annual allocation and continue to help families have access to quality and essential services.
Mecosta/Osceola United Way works to help ALICE households in rural communities struggle with transportation and childcare. Mecosta Habitat, a member agency, helps the Mecosta/Osceola United Way by purchasing supplies and providing emergency home care work. With the help of the mini-grant, they will help members of the community with food and shelter and support to youth at severe risk with their schoolwork and counseling services.
United Way of Montcalm/Ionia
currently funds 59 mobile food trucks, but not nearly enough to meet the community’s needs. The majority of the community is in a food desert without public transportation, and the $5,000 mini-grant is being used to administer the program, recruit volunteers, and market upcoming food trucks. The organization hopes to order 16 more food trucks (eight in Montcalm and eight in Ionia) to outliner areas.