United Way for Southeastern Michigan and United Way of Washtenaw county Have MErged to create a brighter future

United Way for Southeastern Michigan and United Way of Washtenaw County are both mission-driven service organizations with a shared vision for our region and a proven ability to drive meaningful impact. We also share a strong set of core values and a common purpose. We are committed to addressing the most pressing social issues locally and regionally that affect families. Poverty and financial instability; championing equity, diversity and inclusion; and engaging our communities in making impact through giving, advocating and volunteering are what we do each day.

Our organizations are both committed to exploring new ways to drive the maximum impact from every dollar raised. Given that and our strong history of collaboration, after careful consideration the boards of United Way of Washtenaw County and United Way for Southeastern Michigan have voted to merge into a single United Way for Southeastern Michigan serving Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.

This merger will bring exciting new opportunities to grow resources and maximize efficiency, allowing us to have even more impact for everyone in our region. By combining our region-wide network of thousands of donors, advocates and volunteers, as well as hundreds of partner service organizations, the merger will strengthen our ability to help families in need while working toward long-term solutions to some of our region’s greatest challenges.

Hear more from the presidents and CEOs of both United Ways

Pam Smith,
United Way of Washtenaw County

Dr. Darienne Hudson,
United Way for Southeastern Michigan

A message from both CEOs

Merger FAQs

What differences will I see after the merger?

While United Way of Washtenaw County (UWWC) will now become United Way for Southeastern Michigan (UWSEM), the mission and work in the community will remain the same. We’ll continue to service Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties at their current level, maintaining existing programs and initiatives, as well as exploring the potential to expand programming. In the near future, we’ll work to leverage existing resources, draw new resources, and generate new ideas to have an even greater impact here in our region.

How will United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s leadership be structured after the merger?

A regional governing board of directors will be made up of representatives from the merging United Ways. A Washtenaw County community investments committee will be created and report to the governing board to ensure regional engagement, knowledge, and representation. Dr. Darienne Hudson, president and CEO of UWSEM, will continue in that role over the merged organization. Pam Smith, who has been an outstanding president and CEO for UWWC, will serve as a senior consultant and advisor throughout the transition.

How did the merger come about?

After many years of partnership and collaboration on core programs — including our 2-1-1 helpline — and exploring shared services, both United Ways decided that this was the best path forward. United Way of Washtenaw County was the first to raise the possibility. The idea came out of a strategic planning process UWWC completed in early 2022.

How will the merger impact staff?

Staff will combine as one team under United Way for Southeastern Michigan which may result in changes to positions or supervisory relationships. With a fully integrated operation, we will increase our capability for greater impact locally and regionally.

Will United Way for Southeastern Michigan keep both of its offices in Detroit and Ann Arbor?

Yes. We’re committed to keeping both offices for the foreseeable future and we’ll continue to explore ways to enhance our physical presence across the region in ways that best meet the needs of our community and our partners.

Will the merger change the impact made by my financial gift?

Yes — your dollars will go further for even greater impact! With the increased efficiency and combined expertise resulting from the merger, you can be even more confident that your dollars will make a meaningful difference in people’s lives right here in our community. You’ll also continue to be able to invest directly in the areas of work that matter most to you.

How will the merger affect United Way’s partnerships and programs?

United Way for Southeastern Michigan remains committed to ensuring that families and service agencies across our region can continue to rely on our support and partnership. With this merger, our goal is to increase our impact and increase the availability of services in our region. In the near term, we will maintain all existing investments, partners and programs in Washtenaw County.

Will there be Washtenaw representation on the board of directors?

Yes. The Board of directors for the merged organization will have representatives from the existing UWWC board. Washtenaw Board members not joining the governing Board will be invited to join other committees and subcommittees.

Will organized labor continue to play a key role in the merged United Way?

Yes. Both United Ways enjoy a strong, long-standing partnership with Labor in our respective communities which we will continue to grow. We’re committed to engaging union leaders and members in local and regional committees, and to consulting and engaging local representatives and Labor council regions in shaping our work and impact strategy.

Will United Way for Southeastern Michigan continue to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion?

Yes. Diversity, equity and inclusion are core values at both United Way chapters. That commitment will not diminish. The merger will allow us to accelerate our impact as we share best practices and maximize available resources for this work.

Have other United Ways merged in the past? How well did those go?

Yes. Mergers across the network are not uncommon and result in greater impact for the community. In fact, United Way for Southeastern Michigan was created by the merger of two organizations nearly 20 years ago. We also gained valuable insights from the successful three-way merger that created United Way of South Central Michigan in 2022.

Will I be able to donate to United Way in the same way I always have?

Yes. While we’re always looking to build on our existing tools to give you more flexibility in how you contribute to driving impact through your gifts to United Way, you’ll see no change in how you give in the near term.

Will this merger affect the way I volunteer with United Way?

Yes — by providing even more opportunities. While you’ll see little change in the near-term, we hope to create even more opportunities for people to volunteer across the region and be personally involved in our work. We will continue to utilize our volunteer portal to connect individuals and companies with opportunities to give back across the region.

How long will integration take?

Fully integrating the work, administration, processes and staff of two merging United Ways will take time, but we’re committed to doing it well and as quickly as possible with an unwavering focus on meeting need in the communities we serve.

Who do I ask if my question isn’t listed?

Please email Merger@UnitedWaySEM.org.

Read the press release

Click the button below to read the details of this historic merger.
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Learn more about United Way of Washtenaw County

Learn about all the important work United Way of Washtenaw County does in their area.
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Learn more about United Way for Southeastern Michigan

Learn about all the important work we do in our area.
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