Muskegon, Muskegon County's online magazine

Celebrate 100 Years of Lakeshore United Way May 10


Our proud Lakeshore community celebrates 100 years of Living United May 10 at the Frauenthal. Please join us for a walk through time!

The year was 1918, and it was January 27. It was 3:00 in the afternoon in West Michigan, but in far off France it was 9:00 in the evening and guns were firing. As American soldiers were in the trenches fighting what would later be known as World War I in Europe, local business leaders with the Muskegon Chamber of Commerce huddled to determine how they could help our troops with their needs closer to home.

With the leadership and support of W.E. Jeannot, F.C. Whitney, Archie McCrea, H.E. Langeland,  W.H. Wilson, A.J. Dratz, F.W. Riblet, T. Lunsford,  L.C. Walker and C. Young, the Muskegon War Chest was underway! This was the foundation from which the Community Chest would rise, creating a brighter future for the families of our troops and others across our community. It paved the way for what we now know as the United Way of the Lakeshore.

Muskegon, Muskegon County's online magazine

Glimpse the history of United Way of the Lakeshore May 10.

A common thread is woven throughout. The past 100-year history of our local United Way has consistently embodied its current mission — uniting to inspire change and build thriving communities. Bringing together agencies, donors, advocates, and volunteers to identify and address the most pressing needs in our area has always been the cornerstone of the United Way.

Workplace campaigns over the years have raised funds from individuals to be directed to community human service needs through a rigorous review and investment grant process in order to garner the greatest community impact. Teams of local community impact volunteers have reviewed and assessed grant applications to make recommendations to the United Way Board of Directors, which made final decisions for support to programs that best met the prioritized needs. An annual Day of Caring in each county continued to mobilize small armies of volunteers to provide hands-on help where it was needed; making an impact in a single day that had a ripple effect throughout the years.

Muskegon, Muskegon County's online magazine

Above, having fun at a CWC Textron workplace campaign event.

Ratchet up to 2018. After several changes in name and structure, the original War and Community Chest evolved into a three-county human service agency. Its territory encompasses more than 3600 square miles, with a population of nearly a quarter-million.

Today, 40 percent of families in the region are in need of help to meet their basic needs. To serve these families, in 2017 United Way of the Lakeshore raised in excess of $2 million in contributions from more than 7,000 caring donors to support programs in education, income stability, and health.

Muskegon, Muskegon County's online magazine

Join us to celebrate. To recognize and celebrate 100 years of caring, we invite you to join us on May 10, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the Frauenthal Center in Muskegon. As we revel in our history through a walk across time, you will experience an entertaining reflection of the United Way of the Lakeshore and its Agency Partners — you’ll even have a chance to meet characters from history who have been brought back to life for this special evening!

We’ll have hors d’oeuvres to nibble on, including delicious favorites from across the decades and a cash bar. There will be fundraising for our future, with a Silent Auction full of unique gifts and amazing experiences.

To wrap up the evening, we’ll premiere our 100-Year Video that shares United Way highlights throughout the past Century, including excerpts from our 100 Voices of Impact project, rounded out by live entertainment that celebrates the spirit of United Way through song, dance, and the spoken word.

If you are from the area, you may see someone you know on screen or stage. Please join us for what expects to be a fabulous tribute and a memorable event. We look forward to seeing you May 10! Please visit for more information and to RSVP.

United Way of the Lakeshore is uniting to inspire change and build thriving communities. Our Bold Goal – 10,000 more working families meet their basic needs by 2025. For more information, contact United Way of the Lakeshore at (231) 722-3134. Learn more about United Way of the Lakeshore at, like the organization on Facebook and receive up to date information from Twitter at

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