GLADWIN COUNTY – United Way of Clare and Gladwin Counties welcomes Martin Hodge, Senior Pastor of the Beaverton Church of the Nazarene, as the 2019/2020 Gladwin County United Way Campaign Chair. So why does a man who is already devoted to making Gladwin County a better place to live by supporting multiple community organizations want to take on another opportunity to do so? Because it is another opportunity to do so.
United Way is a volunteer-led, nonprofit organization that seeks and addresses the root causes of key issues, and is accountable for the stewardship of community resources. United Way is the largest privately-funded nonprofit in the world, creating solutions that build stronger communities. Nearly 2.6 million volunteers and 9.6 million donors across the world Live United in order to advance community-based and community-led solutions. For every dollar donated to United Way, 86 cents goes to our mission.
In Clare and Gladwin counties, we devote our energies to three major elements of a prosperous community: education, health, and financial stability, states Executive Director, Sarah Block, adding: “We believe that as a community, we are better together and with our combined efforts and talents we are able to make the biggest impact.”
Last year, in Gladwin County only, using your United Way donations, we were able to impact our friends and neighbors in the following ways:
n66 individuals with special needs were able to find employment through Arnold Center.
n60 children were matched to a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters.
n170 residents were able to retain peer support, recovery coaches, and sobriety services.
n61 girl scouts were provided scholarships to help pay for dues, program books, recruitment materials, and staff support.
n290 children and their families were able to become educated on safe families/safe children.
Because of where we help, how we help, and who we help, Martin Hodge, was a perfect fit to lead our campaign efforts, shares United Way Board President, Jane Zdrojewski. Our strategy aligns perfectly with his overall strategy to make Gladwin County a community of people who truly “Live United.”
Martin added, “I am always looking for ways to help better our community. I have served on the Lions Club executive council as the treasurer, as well as the Health Advisory Board for Beaverton Schools. I teach Junior Achievement, lead a character-building assembly for our elementary students, and help coach cross country at the high school. I am an active member of the Beaverton Area Business Association and the Beaverton Ministerial Association. When our local United Way board reached out to ask for me to add United Way to my bag of tricks, I had two questions: How much of the money collected actually goes back to help Gladwin County people, and how is the money spent in order to do so?”
Sarah gathered the facts in order to provide Martin with the answers he needed. For every false statement out there that has indicated otherwise, please know that the truth is that 86 cents out of every dollar raised in Gladwin County funds programs which directly impact local people in need. The great advantage of donating to United Way is knowing that your donations are being combined with others who are devoted to keeping their contributions local, and due to the allocation process, local people are determining where we can get the biggest bang for each buck,” adds Jane.
Martin adds that he sees a lot of poverty here in Gladwin County. He has worked hand-in-hand with several families who he has taught to balance a checkbook and who now understand the need to plan for future financial emergencies. “It is so rewarding to help a family out of a financial crisis to the point where they are able to save for future expenses,” says Martin. “I also recognize that some in our community have disadvantages that have created a cycle of poverty that is difficult to escape. I want to be part of an organization that can help create a road map to a better life.”
This community realizes that “I” do better when “we” do better. We work together to make this community a more desirable place to live. We have come together through tragedy and through celebrations, but it is the daily interactions that make this community special -- Martin Hodge.
If you would like to know more about your local United Way and how to give - or get - help, please reach out to Gladwin County United Way Campaign Chair, Martin Hodge, or to Executive Director, Sarah Block, or to any of your local board members (see sidebar). Also, there is a local United Way representative available to serve you on the second Wednesday of each month from 1:00-3:30 PM on the second floor of the BAC. We are available to visit your workplace or organization to share more about United Way and show you how you also can be part of an organization that can help create a road map to a better life.