United Way of Genesee County Celebrates 100 years

In the early 1920s, Flint was bursting at the seams as the city's population skyrocketed from 13,000 at the turn of the century to nearly 100,000. People of all walks of life headed to Flint to work in the auto factories and its population continued to grow over the next 50 years. 

In 1922, executives from General Motors and other local philanthropic leaders founded the Flint Community Chest starting a legacy of protecting the welfare of Genesee County residents. In 1928, the Community Chest was incorporated as a separate body. During its 100 years, the United Way has been known by a variety of monikers: Red Feather Fund, United Fund and finally the United Way of Genesee County. No matter the name, the purpose of the organization never changed. Whether it was the Great Depression, World War II, the Civil Rights movement, Flint Water Crisis or Covid-19 pandemic, the United Way has always sought ways for the community to be able to LIVE UNITED.

As we take this year to celebrate our Centennial, we hope you will explore all the ways you can LIVE UNITED! Below are 100 ways the UWGC has Lived UnitedThere are 100s of MORE ways, with your help, that we can continue to an impact in the years to come:

Genesee Serves/Non-Profit Center

 1.  Build the capacity of grassroots community organizations and local non-profits 
 2.  Advocate for a culture of volunteerism in the county
 3.  Host the county’s volunteer center where residents can search for volunteer opportunities
 4.  Nurture youth volunteerism through Global Youth Service Day
 5.  Further the missions and impact of Genesee County non-profits


 6.  Foster collaboration between local AmeriCorps members 
 7.  Manage state service programs like the Flint Urban Safety and Health Corps
 8.  Create a network of AmeriCorps host sites and national service members
 9.  Recruit new AmeriCorps programs and host sites in Greater Flint
10. Plan National Days of Service like MLK Day and the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance
11. Grow fresh produce through community gardens
12. Tutor K-3 students in reading 
13. Beautify public spaces and remove blight
14. Patrol community spaces like the Flint River Trail
15. Raise awareness about the opioid epidemic 
16. Train and develop volunteer leaders 
17. Teach students about healthy foods and gardening
18. Coach after school sports


19. Respond to local disasters with financial and resource support
20. Facilitate collaboration between local service providers in crisis 
21. Respond to community challenges like the Water Crisis and COVID-19
22. Organize emergency volunteers and AmeriCorps members during crises
23. Provide emergency food, shelter, and utility assistance 
24. Support emergency housing and supportive services for survivors of intimate partner violence
25. Organize food box giveaways in partnership with local unions

Water Crisis

26. Install water filters and replace faucets in Flint homes with local unions
27. Distribute water during the Flint Water Crisis with UAW union members
28. Partner with local agencies for long-term Water Crisis recovery 


29. Distribute free face masks and face shields
30. Support COVID-19 vaccine mobile clinics
31. Grant local nonprofits COVID-19 relief funds

Basic Needs

32. Support 2-1-1, a free phoneline that connects residents to local resources
33. Ensure safety nets are in place for vulnerable community members
34. Work to ensure every community member’s basic needs are met
35. Offer emergency transportation for residents in need of shelter, fresh food, or medical care
36. Support local food pantries through the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan
37. Keep residents warm in the winter through home heating repairs 
38. Address the community needs of hunger, housing, and health
39. Keep children warm in the winter with hat, glove, and scarf donations
40. Support the distribution of diapers for infants and toddlers in Genesee County 
41. Provide wellness and crisis services to LGBTQIA+ youth experiencing homelessness
42. Coordinate volunteers to assist the National Association of Letter Carriers annual food drive throughout Genesee County
43. Provide annual Holiday Gift Baskets for needy union families with AFL-CIO/AFSCME unions.


44. Improve access to quality healthcare
45. Recruit life-saving bone marrow donors 
46. Build ramps with the UAW for greater handicapped access
47. Reduce health disparities in the community through programs like Community Health Access Program
48. Translate medical and financial appointments for immigrant and non-English speaking residents
49. Train healthcare workers in effective communication for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals
50. Provide free annual flu vaccines clinics

Financial Stability

51. Increase job retention and employment rates through workforce development 
52. Reducing barriers to reintegration for returning citizens
53. Train returning citizens in life and job skills
54. Give families access to free tax assistance 
55. Support anti-poverty initiatives 
56. Provide one-on-one financial counseling
57. Coordinate workforce development programming to increase employment
58. Educate youth on the importance of budgeting and savings


59. Check in on homebound seniors through daily phone calls
60. Provide hot, nutritious meals to homebound seniors
61. Keep seniors living independently and safe
62. Connect seniors with volunteer opportunities to engage with the community
63. Provide respite support for senior caregivers
64. Provide prepared food for seniors based on their cultural needs


65. Transition families from emergency shelters to permanent housing
66. Address the root causes of homelessness 
67. Connect residents in crisis to housing and rental assistance
68. Repair homes to improve the health and safety of homeowners
69. Track the rate of homelessness in Genesee County  


70. Partner with auto dealers like Randy Wise Automotive Team for community good
71. Engage local employers in workplace campaigns to support community impact 
72. Collaborate with healthcare community partners like McLaren and Hurley
73. Provide fiduciary services for small non-profits
74. Distribute public and private funding to community initiatives
75. Build partnerships through the Flint & Genesee Chamber
76. Raise funds for the community through events like the Ally Challenge by McLaren
77. Raise funds with local unions to respond to community emergencies
78. Host the annual Flint Firebirds hockey fundraiser with the local UAW
79. Collaborate with local unions to invest, advocate, and volunteer in Genesee County 


80. Work towards an equitable society for all persons through education and advocacy
81. Support literacy efforts for youth
82. Increase parent knowledge of early childhood development
83. Prepare youth for the job market with employment skills training
84. Mentor youth through quality after school programming 
85. Create wraparound services for students and their families in public schools
86. Build community playgrounds to provide safe spaces for children
87. Teach financial literacy skills to high school students
88. Enroll students in high-quality early childhood education programs
89. Build continuing education opportunities for kids outside of school
90. Organize neighborhood recreational programs like FWC Berston Boxing and Battle Cats Wrestling
91. Advocate for foster children in the court system 
92. Address the prevalence of child abuse with services and advocacy
93. Teach students employable STEM skills
94. Gift a children’s book to every newborn in Genesee County
95. Teach boys and girls outdoor skills and awareness through Urban Scouting 
96. Engage students in academic enrichment activities during summer vacation
97. Tutor high school students in ACT and SAT preparation services
98. Teach youth how to establish their own businesses
99.  Provide driver’s education to low-income students
100. Advocate to legislators on policies that impact the health, financial stability and basic needs of people


How will you help us get to 101 and Beyond?