Muskegon, Muskegon County's online magazine

United We Ride, Read, and Raise Funds!


A little rain didn't stop the 7th Annual Ride United!

Thank you to everyone who participated in Ride United this year! We had 185 registered riders for our seventh annual event – a record number. The day was rainy, with some thunder and lightning giving us a show before the riders headed out, but we still had 116 riders out on the six, 25, 50, and 100 mile routes along our beautiful lakeshore.

We also appreciate our volunteers, who spent a rainy Saturday making sure our riders had water and snacks, and to our SAG vehicle crews from Betten Baker Chevrolet, Breakaway Bicycles and Great Lakes Ford who fixed flats and kept our riders safe. Check out our Facebook page for videos and pictures!

Muskegon, Muskegon County's online magazine

Save the date for our eighth annual event – June 15, 2019, and plan to join us! Ride United raises funds and awareness – funding for programs that support those in need in our community, plus awareness of a healthy lifestyle that includes bicycling on our beautiful trails!

Early Reading Sets a Lifelong Path for Learning

Reading aloud to children from a young age promotes language development and early literacy skills, while also fostering a love of reading that can last a lifetime! United Way of the Lakeshore helps support Early Literacy programs in our community through funding and partnerships. Reading is a great way for children of all ages to keep up their literacy skills during the summer months!

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL) mails books each month directly to children under the age of five. We are happy to share that this program has been expanded to include all of Muskegon County and Oceana County!

Books are sent from the DPIL organization to children, but our community must raise the funds needed to cover the $25 annual cost per child. Generous donors in our communities helped launch the program, and continue to help fund it as we expand. For the second year in a row, Nichols Corporation has matched $25,000 in local donations for this program – thank you to Nichols and all those who donated!

To date, 2829 children in Muskegon County and 324 children in Oceana County are receiving books at home. Another 434 children have graduated from the program by turning five. To learn more about the program, and to register or sponsor a child, visit here.

Muskegon, Muskegon County's online magazine

Above, Oceana Director Barbara Saunders Sims reading to a group of kids during a Dolly Parton event in Pentwater this spring.

Read Early Read Often, a program of the Muskegon Intermediate School District, is a countywide effort to urge parents, siblings, grand parents and community members to read to infants and toddlers. Reading every day, everything, everywhere will lead to success in school and in life. Business, agency, education, library, media, faith, medical, government, and community partners have come together to spread the word. Their Play & Learn Group for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers is a chance to meet other parents and kids while enjoying play time and learning. Learn more and see a schedule here.

United Way of the Lakeshore’s 2018 Fundraising Campaign

Gary Nelund, Mayor of Norton Shores and our 2018 Campaign Chair, has been meeting with past campaign chairs to get the ball rolling for our fundraising campaign this year. The Campaign Cabinet leads the way for our campaign, but there are many ways to get involved in helping us making our 100th year of caring for our community the best ever!

Muskegon, Muskegon County's online magazine

Above, 2018 Campaign Chair Gary Nelund tells us why he donated on Giving Tuesday to help support early reading.

One way to get involved is to become a United Way of the Lakeshore Loaned Executive. This unique professional development opportunity is a great way for new and emerging leaders to gain enhanced leadership qualities, improved team building skills, project management skills, and exposure to community's top businesses and professional leadership. Retirees also make excellent Loaned Executives, with their great work experience as well as extra time to invest in their community.

Loaned Executives assist the United Way in planning, organizing and managing workplace campaigns, after a one day training on July 24th. If you are enthusiastic, organized, a self-starter, and a positive, community-minded person we would love to have your help! For more information, download a brochure here, or contact Kara Zielinski, our Resource Development Director, at (231) 332-4003 or

For more ways to become involved with United Way, visit our website at or check out our Facebook page. You’ll find ways to donate, volunteer, and advocate as we work together to inspire change and build thriving communities!

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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A little rain didn't stop the 7th Annual Ride United! Christine Robere of United Way of the Lakeshore thanks the riders, volunteers and sponsors and looks forward at UW reading programs.

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