United Way partnership works

Published 4:14 pm Saturday, January 21, 2006

By By JOHN EBY / Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS - The Board of Commissioners on Thursday endorsed a February United Way campaign among Cass County employees coordinated by Treasurer Linda Irwin.
Such a campaign “offers them an opportunity, if they choose, to make a contribution to the campaign so we can raise the dollars needed in this county,” said Sharon Polfus, development director for United Way of Southwest Michigan in Berrien County.
Polfus, who has worked for United Way for 24 years, told commissioners that Cass County volunteers approached United Way of Southwest Michigan last year as their “limited resources got to a point where they felt they were not able to effectively run a United Way campaign here in the county. The agencies that are here in this county depend heavily on United Way funding, so I started meeting with people here in the community back in late October, going to companies and organizations and explaining this partnership that has been formed with Cass County United Way.”
Cass County United Way is based in Dowagiac at 205 S. Front St. (782-5659; fax, 269/925-1590; Benton Harbor phone, 269/925-7772).
Steve Lehman, director of Woodlands Addiction Center, is chairing the $100,000 campaign. Joy Decker of Cassopolis chairs the board.
Agencies Cass County United Way helps fund include American Red Cross (Kalamazoo chapter), Boy Scouts of America's LaSalle Council, Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Council on Aging, Hospice, Child and Family Services/The Link Crisis Intervention Center, Disability Resource Center, Domestic Assault Shelter, Girl Scouts of Singing Sands Council, Habitat for Humanity, Legal Aid of Western Michigan, Michigan State Extension (Building Strong Families and 4-H leaders), St. Vincent dePaul, The Salvation Army/CURE, Volunteer Center of Southwest Michigan and Woodlands Addicition Center.
Cass County has been part of past United Way campaigns.
Judge Susan Dobrich, who led the effort in 1994-95, commented, “A lot of Cass County agencies really benefit. I certainly support it and would ask you to all support it.”