United Way Affiliates In Michigan, Northwest Will Merge

Two small United Way affiliates along the Washington-Oregon border will merge and another in Michigan will combine with a larger affiliate.

United Way of Southwest Michigan (UWSM) in St. Joseph, Mich., announced that it will begin merging with Van Buren County United Way (VBCUW) in Paw Paw, Mich., just outside Kalamazoo. United Way of Walla Walla County in southeastern Washington will merge with United Way of Umatilla and Morrow Counties in northeastern Oregon. Both mergers are expected to be completed and take effect by July.

Once combined, UWSM will serve Van Buren, Berrien and Cass counties. UWSM reported total revenue of $4.1 million in 2016, with expenses of $3.9 million, according to its most recent Form 990. Net assets were $6.3 million. The total number of individuals employed that year was 21. For the same year, VBCUW reported revenue of almost $227,000 and expenses of $315,319. Net assets were $228,883 and three individuals were employed that year.

In Walla Walla, the combined organization will be called United Way of the Blue Mountains, with offices in Walla Walla, Wash., and Pendleton, Ore. Walla Walla Executive Director Christy Lieuallen will lead the organization as Kricket Nicholson will retire after 12 years as executive director of United Way Umatilla and Morrow counties.

A steering committee will drive fundraising and community investment within the respective communities, Lieuallen said in a press release announcing the merger. A new regional board of directors will include representatives from each county, she said, with local steering committees driving fundraising and community investment within the respective communities.

United Way of Walla Walla County is the larger of the two eastern Washington affiliates, reporting revenue of $422,404 against expenses of $417,081 in 2017, the most recent tax form available. Net assets were $252,054, with three individual employed during the year. United Way of Umatilla and Morrow Counties reported revenue of $241,280, with expenses of $217,937. Net assets were $283,43 with only one individual employed during the year.