United Way Gets Grant To Support Community Initiative

The United Way of Southwest Michigan has received a $67,000 grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund for a project intended to improve the community’s health. Marketing Director Jennifer Tomshack tells WSJM News they’re going to use the funds to create a network of outward-looking groups to engage the community.

“It’s about having community conversations and making sure that impact work starts with community conversations,” Tomshack said. “For example, with a particular partner agency, it would involve having those types of conversations with the people they serve so that they can bring back to the table any larger conversations they might have with out other impact partners as well as us. If everyone is doing this, everyone in the community is the one leading the change then.”

Tomshack says the United Way of Southwest Michigan wants the supporters of different community groups to talk about community health challenges. It’s following a method developed by the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation called Turning Outward. She says this will ensure that health challenges are faced in a way that considers the voices of individuals concerned. The United Way is one of 57 organizations to receive one of the grants.