SHIAWASSEE COUNTY — The United Way has announced the release of $180,000 in grants to 14 different nonprofit organizations in Shiawassee County that are “making significant impact through the community.”

The grants are funded through the United Way Genesee County Serving Genesee and Shiawassee Counties’ (UWGC) annual workplace campaign and coronavirus disaster donations, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“United Way-supported services are needed locally, and we are investing in every corner of Shiawassee County,” said Jeff Apsey, member of the United Way board and the committee that chose grant recipients following a competitive process, in a news release. “We are grateful to our labor community, business leaders and individuals from Shiawassee County who invest their time, talent and hard-earned funds into the United Way.”

Receiving $55,000 community impact grants from workplace campaign donations are:

n American Red Cross, for disaster cycle services

n Catholic Charities’ Hunger Network and Community Closet programs

n SafeCenter, emergency and comprehensive intervention strategies

n Respite of Volunteers of Shiawassee, volunteer programs

n Shiawassee Family YMCA, “There’s a Y in Every Family” program

n Shiawassee Regional Education Service District, Great Start Preschool Investment Foundation

n The Arc of Mid-Michigan, Connections (teen and adult) program, summer day care

n Voices For Children, prevention program

To support community basic needs amplified by the coronavirus pandemic, on March 25 the UWGC set up a COVID-19 relief fund. Through the support of many companies, such as Meijer, Huntington National Bank, Cargill and the Cook Family Foundation, and individual donors, the fund raised about $60,000 and took no administrative fees.

“We were encouraged to see so many people and organizations come together to raise up Shiawassee County from the negative impacts of the pandemic,” Cook Family Foundation Executive Director Tom Cook said.

Nonprofit organizations were hit hard, with donations decreasing due to the pandemic. The following groups received $60,768 from the COVID-19 relief fund:

n American Red Cross, personal protective equipment

n Capital Area Community Services, resident utility and rental support

n Catholic Charities, emergency sheltering and PPE

n Direct resident assistance, emergency food

n Greater Lansing Food Bank, support for mobile food distributions and pantries

n Homeless Angels, shelter cleaning support

n Respite Volunteers of Shiawassee, PPE

n SafeCenter, emergency sheltering and PPE

n Salvation Army, emergency sheltering

n Shiawassee County on Aging, emergency food deliveries

n Shiawassee Family YMCA, PPE

n Shiawassee Regional Education Service District, PPE

n The Arc of Mid-Michigan, basic needs support

n Voices for Children, PPE

“The United Way brought a depth of knowledge and expertise and became part of our team, allowing a ‘tag team’ approach to assist with navigation and problem-solving during our community’s response to COVID-19,” said Jodi DeFrenn, Shiawassee County Health Department emergency preparedness coordinator.

The UWGC administer’s FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program for Shiawassee, Genesee and Lapeer counties. For the current program year, the UWGC received $28,542 plus $50,519 from the federal CARES Act.

Local organizations receiving $69,061 in federal dollars were Catholic Charities for emergency food; Looking Glass Community Services, for emergency food and shelter; SafeCenter for emergency sheltering and Salvation Army for emergency food.

For many years, the United Way ran a separate chapter in Owosso but it ceased operations in September 2017. Despite a rebranding campaign that included renaming it Heart of Shiawassee County, the local chapter was unable to overcome a downward trend of donations.

Two months later, the United Way of Genesee County and Heart of Shiawassee United Way announced the United Way of Genesee County would take over. The combined organization is called the United Way of Genesee County Serving Genesee and Shiawassee Counties.

“In 2020, our third year in Shiawassee County, we are pleased to continue to increase our local investments to the county,” said UWGC CEO James Gaskin. “Every Shiawassee County dollar donated to the United Way is returned to Shiawassee County through investments in high-quality programs through the United Way and our partners.”

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