United Way of Southwest Michigan invites community to honor leaders during National Volunteer Week

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN — This week, one regional organization is honoring its volunteers.

Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week is an annual celebration across the country to recognize the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to address social challenges. Each year, United Way of Southwest Michigan acknowledges the volunteer leaders who are making a difference in the community by giving their time and talents. This year, National Volunteer Week runs from April 19-23.

“This past year, in the face of great need and also great limitations, so many volunteers stepped up to help in whatever way they could during the pandemic,” said Debbie Ramirez, director of volunteer engagement at United Way of Southwest Michigan. “Volunteer leaders inspire all of us to serve and deserve our heartfelt thanks for continuing to lift Southwest Michigan up, no matter what issues we face.”

United Way of Southwest Michigan is seeking nominations of volunteers for recognition at the organization’s annual Volunteer Recognition Event, to be hosted on Oct. 7. The deadline for nominations to be submitted to United Way is June 30.

To submit nominations or to apply, visit uwsm.org/nominate-a-volunteer.

The highlight of the event is the presentation of the lifetime achievement award, the Margaret B. Upton Volunteer Leadership Award. This honor is given to one volunteer in Berrien County who has a long-standing history of volunteerism of more than 10 years, a diversity of volunteer experience with multiple organizations or significant contribution to a single organization, and teamwork and leadership experience through various levels including physical, clerical, and/or service at the board level.

The winner will receive $3,500 to donate to the nonprofit organization of his or her choice. Two runners-up will also be chosen to receive $750 to donate as well.

In addition to the Margaret B. Upton Volunteer Leadership Award, United Way will present the Volunteer United Service Impact Award and Volunteer United Business Partner Impact Award to an individual volunteer and corporation, company, or business from Berrien, Cass, or Van Buren County who has made tremendous contributions to a nonprofit organization that supports work in UWSM’s impact areas: education, health, income, and/or basic needs. Both winners will have the opportunity to direct $1,000 to the nonprofit organization of their choice.

For any additional information, contact Debbie Ramirez at debbie.ramirez@uwsm.org.

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