A Civic Engagement Campaign for 2020 

2020 is an important year for America’s democracy, with critical resources and political representation at stake. And United Way is deeply involved. From building awareness of the U.S. Census to activating voter registration, more than 200 state and local United Ways are leading voter and census engagement initiatives across the country.

Civic engagement is at the heart of what United Way does. For over 130 years, United Way has brought together leaders in communities to solve problems in a non-partisan manner. Today, our role is even more important than ever. We know that solving the health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic means that people need to be civically engaged, policymakers must take action that will help workers, children and families, and we need an accurate census count to determine where resources are needed the most.

To meet the challenges of this moment, United Way has launched the United We Count, United We Vote campaign to mobilize local United Ways, partners and caring citizens in helping people be civically engaged and make their voices heard during this time of uncertainty. We invite every person in every community to join us by pledging to complete the census and pledging to vote in 2020. Join the fight. Link to the website is here.

Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Live United.

Greater Ottawa County United Way

The Time for equity is now

United Way is dedicated to empowering individuals to reach their full potential and lead thriving lives. In this unique and uncertain time, United Way remains committed to building inclusive communities where donors, stakeholders, advocates, volunteers and partners come together to make real progress in addressing inequities in education, income and health.

Equity, removing barriers and increasing opportunities for everyone is our focus, a priority that must always and persistently be pursued in the present. Uncertainty, rapid change and disruption has shaken us out of our comfort zone and caused pervasive anxiety. So much so that our natural inclination is to retreat into comfort, into the not so distant past and into the way of being that many affectionately refer to as “normal.” What is becoming clearer every day is that despite our best efforts to revert to how things were before the COVID-19 pandemic, we will never truly get there.

The uncomfortable truth is “normal” under the circumstances that existed prior to COVID-19 sweeping across the globe was woefully untenable, to begin with. Virtually every indicator for health, education and financial well-being presented glaring racial gaps. As communities of color brace for the brunt of this on-going medical and financial crisis these preexisting inequities stand to be further exacerbated. Early evidence of this is already emerging. Now is the time for us to stand resolute in our cause.

The reality is many of our communities were in crisis long before the pandemic. Sadly, we are already seeing evidence these same communities are most impacted by this ongoing crisis. Our commitment as a United Way network is to remain steadfast in our push for equity in the present. Our call to action for you all is to do the same. It is as vital as ever that internal change in operations and policy that creates equitable workplaces continue. It will take us understanding and addressing the factors that impede progress based on identity to create more inclusive organizations, companies, communities and nation. We must vigorously pursue equity in the present so we can create a future that works for all of us.

Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Live United.

Greater Ottawa County United Way

Source: United Way Worldwide

covid-19 & alice part 2

In last week’s blog on discovering ALICE we answered the question, “Who is ALICE?” and the various challenges facing these individuals and households amid the COVID-19 mitigation efforts in Ottawa County. To continue this series on ALICE in part 2 we discuss the assistance ALICE may receive during the crisis, and what you can do to help an individual or household in your community who falls in the ALICE category.

Government Actions to Assist ALICE:

The federal government has provided relief to households amid the job losses via a stimulus check and unemployment benefits. Housing regulations such as a hold on evictions along with banking relief measures are the ways the government assists ALICE individuals and households. See a summary below:

-Immediate Income to Offset Ongoing Bills

  • Unemployment Benefits
  • Cash Payment Assistnace (stimulus check)


  • Paid sick leave
  • Coverage for health expenses


  • Rent/mortgage freezes
  • Moratorium on evictions and foreclosures

-Debt & Credit Cards

  • Relief for student loans
  • Suspend credit card late fees

-Jobs to Go Back to

  • Small businesses
  • Industry bailouts
  • Work programs

Business Actions to Assist ALICE:

Businesses in Ottawa County have the ability to assist ALICE through various categories of assistance.

-Jobs Both Present & Future

  • Job-share, flexible hours, shift rotations
  • Safety measures, new cleaning protocols
  • Work-from-home support and technology
  • Increase in hourly rate for essential workers
  • Provide free back-up care for dependents
  • Continue to pay during closed/suspended service

-Health Care

  • Paid and unpaid sick leave
  • Paid leave for workers in risk groups
  • Maintain health insurance

-Internet Companies

  • Access to internet and technology

-Community Support

  • Relief funds
  • Food bank support, beverages, meals
  • Supplies for health care professionals

What YOU can do: Action For ALICE:

Now it is time to discuss what you can do for ALICE individuals and households in Ottawa County.

-Make the case for ALICE in your community

Social Media: @United4ALICE on Twitter and Facebook

#HelpALICE #EssentialALICE #UnitedForALICE #ActionForALICE #MeetALICE #ALICErecovery