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United Way
United Way of Southwest Michigan
Issue: 3
February 2016


If you made a household or individual income of less than $62,000 in 2015, file your taxes for FREE online today at:
If you made a household or individual income of less than $54,000 in 2015 and need assistance in preparing your basic return, schedule a VITA appointment by calling 2-1-1.  

Please visit to download our flyer and share with your friends.

"CHECK OFF" my Taxes
 It's easy for you and your neighbors to LIVE UNITED by "CHECKING OFF" the UNITED WAY FUND this tax season.  By donating all or part of your state tax refund to the United Way Fund, you're directly supporting the United Way of Southwest Michigan, helping us  continue the  fight to end hunger, homelessness, and abuse in our communities.  

Together we can make a difference.  

To learn more, visit

The Girls on the Run season kicks off February 29th, and we need more coaches for this program.  If you or someone you know would like to coach, please visit our website:

Help inspire girls to be JOYFUL, HEALTHY and CONFIDENT using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.
Click Here!
United Way of Southwest Michigan is pleased to announce the release of our new website, designed with a fresh new look and user-friendly navigation.  We hope that through this site you're able to connect directly with us and the work we're doing.  Feel free to look around and stay for awhile!  This site will be the best place to stay up to date with what's happening, from our many volunteer opportunities to our latest press releases.  We're excited to grow this site and continue to build our online community!  #UWSM

Stop by at WWW.UWSM.ORG
We are blessed to live in such an amazing community that truly represents how to LIVE UNITED. With the great combined efforts of so many local individuals and businesses, we are pleased to announce that as of January 31, 2016 the 2015 UWSM Campaign year is officially closed.

This year, as a whole, the donor contributions showed a 4% increase over the 2014 Campaign year. This shows that as a community we truly realize the importance of changing the lives of our friends and neighbors in need.

On behalf of all of us at United Way of Southwest Michigan, thank you for your continued support of those in need in Berrien and Cass Counties. We are looking forward to announcing and celebrating our final attainment at our Annual Celebration in March 2016.
Bridge Academy - Kinexus
Bridge Academy - Kinexus

The Bridge Academy is an innovative year-round learning community that provides training and education to refocused youth and young adults.

Each participant begins as an entry-level trainee and works at his or her own pace to be promoted to  lead, supervisor, manager, and finally, director trainee -all while working to complete a GED or high school diploma and earning industry recognized certifications. 

This is one of the Income-focused programs that receives funds from United Way of Southwest Michigan. To know more about the program visit Kinexus' website:


Be Healthy Berrien is a county-wide partnership of Berrien County Health Department, Lakeland Health, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, United Way of Southwest Michigan, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph YMCA, and Niles-Buchanan YMCA working together to reduce obesity and chronic illness through policy, systems, and environmental change. 

In 2015, the Be Healthy Berrien Steering Committee developed and pilot-tested the "Be Healthy Berrien Worksite Wellness Toolkit." During this pilot test, five Be Healthy Berrien organizations implemented over 18 policy and environmental changes, making healthy eating and physical activity easier for 402 employers.  

In 2016, Be Healthy Berrien is going to grow this project and help 20 more worksites in the greater Niles area use the Be Healthy Berrien Worksite Wellness Toolkit. The goal is to help employees be physically active during the workday through new or improved worksite wellness programs.  Help will be given to worksites to improve their environment with things like physical activity stations, bicycle racks, walking clubs, flex-time policies, and physical activity break policies. This project is made possible through funding received from a Michigan Health and Wellness 4x4 grant received from the Michigan Department  of Health and Human  Services.


What does UWSM have in common with NASA Exchange Johnson Space Center? And Quicken Loans? And CVS Health? UWSM was recognized nationally as one of the "Best and Brightest in Wellness" by the National Association for Business Resources. We're very proud of the honor! We know how important health is, and we hope to build off this in 2016.
For more information about Be Healthy Berrien, please visit

United Way