Friends of United Way: Learn More About Our Partners

Published on October 28, 2020 in ,

When we Stand United, we accomplish great things.

United Way for Southeastern Michigan works to help households reach stability and help children thrive, but we can’t do it alone. Hundreds of partners help make it all possible. Our new virtual tour series, Friends of United Way, offers a behind-the-scenes look at how these partnerships work and how your dollars make a difference throughout Southeastern Michigan.

“We’re weaving together a network of supportive organizations that can meet the needs of our community,” said Sara Gold, senior director of Health and Basic Needs at United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

Even before the pandemic, 44 percent of households in Southeastern Michigan struggled to afford their basic needs. With unemployment skyrocketing, we know the problem is worse now, and even those who still have jobs are not immune.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen a great recovery and the jobless rate has come way down,” Sara said.

“As people have found jobs, they are not making enough money to meet their basic needs. With the pandemic of course, all of those issues that existed before COVID-19 are just magnified, and our community is really struggling with the economic ripple effects of this pandemic.”

Together with our partners on the frontline, we’re making a difference in the community every day. Watch the videos below to learn more.


Since its founding, Zaman International has applied a needs-based, community-driven approach to all programming in order to help households meet their basic needs and break the cycle of poverty.

Zaman has been working to help families achieve stability and self-reliance since 1996. United Way provides Zaman with grant funding, technical support and volunteer assistance. Our volunteer portal connects Zaman with people who are interested in supporting their cause.

During this virtual tour, you’ll get a look at Zaman’s Hope for Humanity Center in Inkster. The facility houses the organization’s crisis assistance, vocational training and life skills programs.


United Way’s partnership with First Step helps survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

“We partner with organizations like First Step, who can provide both education and direct services for survivors of domestic violence so that their household can get back to a stable state and they can thrive,” Sara said.

We provide operational support, which is essential to give First Step the flexibility they need to reach people during the pandemic.

“Unfortunately, during the pandemic, we are hearing from those partners like First Step that the ability for people to seek help for domestic violence has really become much more difficult,” Sara said.

“People are stuck in their homes. They aren’t going out and behaving in the way that they normally would to be able to go seek help, so our support for organizations like First Step is even more important. They’re having to change the way that they operate.”