‘Joyful giving’Published 10:31pm Thursday, July 14, 2011
Local businesses are using creative ways to fundraise for the United Way of Southwest Michigan.
Flaktwoods Fan Group, a company that sells, designs and ships industrial fans, held a picnic Wednesday. Employees who donated to the UWSM had their names entered in a drawing for paid days off, and management volunteered for a dunk tank and employees bought throws.
“We believe that a good local business supports its community,” said Ric Pawloski, president and general manager of Flaktwood, which employs 40 people at its facility at 1701 Terminal Rd. in the Niles Industrial Park.
About a dozen employees participate in regular year-round payroll deductions for the UWSM. The company holds other fundraisers, including the annual picnic that raised $600 last year. Its goal this year was to raise at least $1,000; employees had raised more than $1,200 before the first employee even sat in the dunk tank Wednesday. Flaktwood suppliers and business partners also contributed.
“This is a really great example of a company turning an event into a United Way event,” said Susan Withrow, campaign manager for the UWSM.
The UWSM works to improve education, help people achieve financial stability and promotes healthy lives. It received 3,721 visits from people in Niles last year.
The UWSM raised more than $3 million last year — the first time in about a decade it beat its fundraising goal. It will announce its campaign goal for 2012 this fall.
Withrow said most businesses participate in the payroll deductions program or hold fundraisers late in the year, but a few, like Flaktwood, commit to raising money before the campaign goal is announced each fall.
“To me, it’s the idea of joyful giving,” Pawloski said. “The bad news is there are problems in the community. The good news is we can do something about it.”
To learn more about or contribute to the United Way of Southwest Michigan, visit www.uwsm.org or call Susan Withrow at (269) 982-1700.