United Way's Programs



Congratulations Ian Mark and Alex Jacoby on winning United Way’s Teen Financial Literacy Video Contest!

United Way Montcalm-Ionia Counties fights for the Health, Education, and Financial stability of every member of our community. A good understanding of financial literacy helps individuals control their financial resources in order to make informed and effective decisions to provide for themselves and their families. When teens understand financial literacy, they can manage their money more successfully and be better prepared to budget for real life situations. 

According to United Way’s ALICE Report which looks at the population called ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) in Michigan, low-wage jobs continue to dominate the Michigan economy, making it more challenging for workers to find jobs with wages that can support a basic household budge. The job market has shown improvement since 2010, but 61 percent of jobs in Michigan pay less than $20 per hour. Teaching teens in Montcalm and Ionia counties financial literacy before they graduate is vital to their success.

In an effort to build financial literacy and to help teens pave the way for financial success in the future, United Way partnered with several local financial institutions. PFCU, the title sponsor, along with platinum sponsors - Mercantile Bank of Michigan, Isabella Bank, and Independent Bank to encourage teens to submit short videos on an array of financial topics from credit scores, to saving for a car, how to fund college and more. Teens from Tri-County, Montabella, Lakeview, Vestaburg, Carson City-Crystal, Greenville, Central Montcalm, Belding, Ionia, Portland, Lakewood, Saranac, and Pewamo-Westphalia school districts were invited to participate and were encouraged to create a 90 second video on a financial topic of their choice. Suggested topics ranged from explaining a credit score, saving to buy a car, to how to fund college. The goal is that the teens would create a short video that would show his/her creativity and teach others about the financial literacy topic of their choice. 

Mercantile Bank of Michigan’s Vice President, Dan Mitchell had this to say about the program, “This program was a great way to learn of the talent and creativity of middle and high school students to promote financial literacy in our communities.  The two finalists’ presentations were both accurate and informative, as well as, extremely creative and entertaining.  Given the unfortunate timing of the contest and restrictions, we are excited to see how the program will grow in participants and topics in the years to come.  Congratulations to the 2020 Winners!” 

United Way Montcalm-Ionia Counties is excited to announce the winners of United Way’s first Teen Financial Literacy Video Contest. Ian Mark, a 6th grader homeschooled in Lakeview, was awarded 1st place and a $500 prize for his video on How to Afford College. Alex Jacoby, a 7th grader of Central Montcalm Middle School was awarded 2nd place and a $300 prize for his video titled How to Calculate a Credit Score.

Dave Seppela, West Regional President for Isabella Bank stated, “The creativity and information that this contest drew out from our community’s younger generation was amazing. It gives me hope that they will in the future make good financial decisions based on what they learned through this contest.”

 “Independent Bank is always looking for ways to promote Financial Literacy, and despite the setbacks of the Coronavirus, these participants and videos did not disappoint!  Thank you for helping us to get the word out!” said Lisa Brown, AVP, Community Leader at Independent Bank.

As we help children and families move toward self-sufficiency, we know a key step is preparing children, youth and adults to succeed in school and life. 

Congratulations Ian and Alex on a job well done! 

1st Place - Ian Mark!

2nd Place - Alex Jacoby!

Thank you to our Sponsors!

2020 Title Sponsor

2020 Platinum Sponsor


Prescription Savings Card - Everyone Can Save!

Cost should never prevent you from taking your medicines. FamilyWize and United Way are proud to bring prescription savings to everyone by providing FamilyWize Prescription Savings Cards.

The FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card:

  • Is free to everyone - both insured and uninsured
  • Covers all FDA approved prescription medications
  • Is easy to use with no registration, activation or restrictions due to preexisting conditions
  • Has unlimited use - show it every time you fill a prescription

You ALWAYS get the lowest price. Your cost will be the discount price with the FamilyWize card or the pharmacy's usual and customary retail price, whichever is lower. You are responsible for the entire payment of the prescription medicine purchase after any discounts are applied. The FamilyWize card cannot lower the co-pay for medicine covered by insurance.

Visit familywize.org for more information.

Pick up your savings card at any one of the following locations in Montcalm and Ionia counties:

  • United Way Montcalm-Ionia Counties
  • Ionia County Health Department
  • EightCap offices 

Pop Up Giving

Fast. Fun. Instant Impact.
Thank you to all who attended United Way Montcalm-Ionia Counties first Pop Up Giving event at Flo's Pizzeria Ristorante and Sports Bar on November 7, 2019. 
Pop Up Giving is a fun event where the attendees fund the pot, hear the two nonprofits present, and vote to decide where the money goes.

Have Mercy and IM SAFE were the nominated organizations for the first event.

Congratulations to Have Mercy who won $860 at the end of the night!

Thank you to our sponsors:

  • Flo's Pizzeria Ristorante and Sports Bar hosted and served food and drinks. 

  • Wesco donated popcorn. 

  • WGLM allowed us to use their PA system.

United for Soles

In September 2019, approximately 3,200 pairs of shoes were donated to Ionia and Montcalm school districts and nonprofit organizations. The schools and organizations take them and self-determine how they will be distributed to those in need.

United for Warmth

2019 Winter Coat Drive

Make a Difference - Warming Hearts and Homes
Amerigas, Rural Gas & Holton's LP Gas in Ionia, Greenville, Lakeview are collecting new and gently used coats now until November 1st.

Thank you to everyone who donated in 2019!

VITA - Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

Do you want to learn to do income taxes or can you already do your own income tax returns?  We need you!  United Way Montcalm-Ionia Counties sponsors VITA sites locally in partnership with other local agencies.  However, this is a volunteer driven program.  We cannot succeed and assist your neighbors without your help. 

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $53,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.