United Way and CMU kick off new five-year fundraising campaign


Greek Life representatives Dan Delgado and Jake Cummings discuss involvement with United Way. (Michael Livingston | Beat Reporter)

United Way of Isabella and Gratiot Counties announced a partnership with Central Michigan University in hopes to raise over $500,000 over the next five years. The campaign officially starts Aug. 26.

The fundraising campaign’s kick off celebration was held Aug. 21 in front of Warriner Hall as students, CMU staff and charitable community members gathered to cherish more years of communal philanthropy.  

This year, United Way celebrated 60 years of CMU support. United Way is a fundraising agency that directs profits toward programs that serve the community. They dedicate their work to ending generational poverty, improving education and providing financial stability for low income families. 

United Way is spearheaded by Annie Sanders, who was elected last year. She is a two-time CMU graduate with a long history of community service including Special Olympics and Alumni Relations. 

“United Way makes such a profound impact on our community and on the individuals that live here, and that’s something I always wanted to be a part of,” Sanders said. “We can only do this with your support.” 

In the past, CMU has issued annual campaigns with a goal of $100,000 a year. 

“We’re doing something a little different this year. We’re setting a five-year campaign,” said CMU President Bob Davies. “This allows us to think of long-term impact."

In 2017 the annual campaign reached $67,084. Due to a $81,421 donation from Greek Week, the 2018 campaign reached $138,741.

Members of the 2019 Greek Week committee, Dan Delgado and Jake Cummings, announced they will be continuing their support of United Way for the upcoming five-year-campaign. 

“Greek week is our way of working together to make an impact in the Mount Pleasant community,” Cummings said. “We choose United Way so we could have a steady vehicle for our charitable giving.” 

United Way currently supports 49 different local non-profit organizations.  

Among those organizations is Listening Ear, a 24/7 crisis hotline based in Mount Pleasant that provides multiple services for mid and northern Michigan. 

“Last year we took over 7,289 calls and 1,155 of those were from Isabella county,” said Nicholas Goike, director of crisis services at Listening Ear. “That’s over a thousand people in this county that we have offered immediate support to and that wouldn't be possible without United Way.”