BENTON HARBOR — Woodlands Behavioral Healthcare Network’s counseling partnership with Southwestern Michigan College merited an Excellence in Impact Award from United Way of Southwest Michigan.
United Way celebrated its record-setting $4,186,203 2016 campaign March 16 at Lake Michigan College Mendel Center as it prepares for its 75th anniversary this year. The effort shattered the $4 million goal set after raising $3.8 million in 2015.
CEO Kathy Emans, board Chairman Bob Wagel, licensed clinical social worker Tonya Cosey and Misty Collett, who received a standing ovation for a video about overcoming methamphetamine addiction, accepted the award on behalf of the Cassopolis-based mental health agency.
Presenter Berrien County Council for Children Executive Director Jamie Rossow commented, “Recipients must be engaged with United Way and working toward our goals in education, income, health and basic needs. They have to show measurable impact, demonstrate collaboration and make a long-term commitment to doing good work.
“This organization is often found at the intersection of innovation and collaboration,” Rossow said. “Their work in the mental health and substance abuse arena is difficult — especially in a small rural county where needs often outpace resources available, which many times forces them to get creative.”
“In addition to consistently delivering solid outcomes across their current list of services,” Rossow said, “last year (Woodlands) formed a new relationship with Southwestern Michigan College to provide mental health assessment referrals and treatment to students who otherwise might have dropped out of school because of undiagnosed or untreated issues.”
“In the first four months of this pilot project, the program impacted student retention rates by almost 25 percent,” Rossow said. “This unusual tactic could have been a risky move, but clearly, it’s paying off.”
Chief of Staff Tom Atkinson, Director of Campus Security and Conduct Lyndon Parrish and Director of Niles Campus Brent Brewer represented SMC.
Atkinson during United Way’s annual meeting was elected to the Board of Directors along with Nermina Kamencic of Gast Manufacturing and an officer slate of Chair Andy Janson of Hanson Logistics, Vice Chair Ann Cardon, St. Joseph Public Schools Superintendent; Treasurer Kim Richardson of 1st Source Bank; and Secretary Dave Doetsch of Mid-West Family Broadcasting.
Zack East of Mid-West Family Broadcasting and Dan Peat of Kinexus were announced as 2017 campaign co-chairs.
Pacesetters for the 2016 campaign included AEP D.C. Cook Plant, Competitive Edge, Edgewater Bank, 1st Source Bank, Kemner Iott Benz, Lakeland Health, Meijer of Benton Harbor, Meijer of Stevensville, Mid-West Family Broadcasting and Walsworth Publishing.
Milestone Awards presented by Christine Vanlandingham of Area Agency on Aging and Niles Superintendent of Schools Dan Applegate — CARES, Edgewater Bank, Horizon Bank, Lake Michigan College, Lakeland Health, Modineer, Old National Bank and Senior Nutrition Services, UPS, Vail Rubber Works and Watervliet Public Schools, Breakthrough; Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor, Gateway, The Herald-Palladium, Kemner Iott Benz, Lakeshore Public Schools, Michigan Gas Utilities, Mosaic CCDA, Pri Mar Petroleum, St. Joseph Public Schools and Teachers Credit Union, Trendsetters; 1st Source Bank, AEP D.C. Cook Plant, Andrews University, Berrien Springs Public Schools, Chemical Bank, Child and Family Services of Southwestern Michigan, Coloma Community Schools, Coloma Township Police Department, Competitive Edge, Gast Manufacturing, Honor Credit Union, Indiana Michigan Power, Kinexus, Martin’s Supermarket of St. Joseph, Mid-West Family Broadcasting, Walsworth Publishing and Whirpool Corp., Landmark; and Ravitron and Wolverine Pipeline, Capstone (denoting 100-percent employee participation while implementing seven best practices).
Large Business of the Year (100-plus employees), presented by Bob Harrison, LMC — Gast Manufacturing and Whirlpool Corp.
Medium Business of the Year (26-100 employees), presented by Kim Richardson of 1st Source Bank and Nermina Kamencic of Gast Manufacturing — Mid-West Family Broadcasting.
Small Business of the Year (one-25 employees), presented by Jennifer Ray of Cass District Library and David Brooks of Wolverine Pipeline — Coloma Township Police Department.
Employee Campaign Chair (ECC) of the Year, large business, presented by Joe Tanko of AEP D.C. Cook Plant — Lauren Thurston and Stephanie Timmer of Chemical Bank.
ECC, medium business, presented by Zack East of Mid-West Family Broadcasting — Becky Ritter, 1st Source Bank.
ECC, small business, presented by Sarah Hadley of Competitive Edge — David Ravitch and Allan Volker, Ravitron.
Inspired Giving Award, presented by Tanya Urias of Honor Credit Union — Lindberg/MPH.
Campaign Cabinet Choice Award, presented by Zack East of Mid-West Family Broadcasting — Martin’s Supermarket of St. Joseph.
David J. Weichhand Award, presented by Dave Doetsch of Mid-West Family Broadcasting — AEP D.C. Cook Plant.
Impact Chair Recognition, presented by Andy Janson of Hanson Logistics — James Knight of United Federal Credit Union.
Live United Award, presented by Nermina Kamencic of Gast Manufacturing — Kinexus.
In addition to Woodlands’ Excellence in Impact organizational award, Zech Hoyt of Niles Community Schools gave an individual Excellence in Impact Award to Mike Mortimore for being a “tireless public health champion” before retiring at the end of 2016 after 38 years with Berrien County Health Department.