United Way for Southeastern Michigan has been named Crain’s Detroit Business 2021 Best-Managed Nonprofit. The prestigious award annually recognizes organizations that have had a significant impact on the metropolitan Detroit communities and families while modeling best-in-class operations. This year’s submissions focused on what nonprofits are doing to address diversity, equity, and inclusion, both within their organizations and in the communities they serve.
United Way was one of five finalists for the award.
“We are honored to receive this recognition from Crain’s for the work we do for families. This is really about the hard work and commitment of our employees, community partners, and Board who drive what we do each day in striving to create a more equitable community,” says Dr. Darienne Hudson, president and CEO, United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “We are proud of our work providing direct support to families in crisis and helping them move toward a path to stability and prosperity. To pursue our mission in earnest, we know we must also work to address the root causes of the economic hardship so many families face.”
The ongoing pandemic, financial hardship, and natural disasters have displaced many families and caused interruptions in their ability to consistently provide stability at home. Given the tremendous challenges faced by individuals and families, there has been an increased need for support from nonprofits like United Way and its partners.
This year, DTE Energy has partnered with United Way to lead the organization’s fundraising and volunteerism efforts to meet this challenge. Jerry Norcia, president and CEO of DTE Energy, and Bishop Edgar Vann, senior pastor, Second Ebenezer Church, and founder, Vanguard Community Development Corp., have partnered to co-chair the 2021-22 Torch Drive campaign for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.
“United Way plays a vital role in helping our communities and people in need. Their work directly supports our customers so they can keep the lights on, stay safe during hot summers and cold winters, and help our youth learn, grow and succeed,” said Jerry Norcia, DTE Energy president and chief executive officer. “DTE has partnered with United Way for more than 40 years because of our shared passion for improving lives with our energy. It takes all of us to make a positive impact, and United Way leads the charge.”
As shared by Crain’s, the Best-Managed Nonprofit program honors the “Best in leadership and financial stewardship in Southeast Michigan’s nonprofit community.” Winners were selected after in-person interviews by a panel of nonprofit experts and undergo a financial review by the nonprofit practice group at Plante Moran PLLC.
“United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s aspirational goal is to create and sustain equitable communities across the region,” says Bishop Edgar Vann, pastor of Second Ebenezer Church. “During the toughest and most unprecedented times we’ve faced, United Way leads with integrity and focus. It is truly the best managed and the most impactful. I am most proud.”
For its entry, United Way brought attention to its innovative work integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion as a central strategy throughout the organization, including grant-making, internal organizational structure, staff trainings, and building programming to engage the community. This includes their inaugural 21-Day Equity Challenge, which launched in May 2021 and engaged more than 5,000 individuals and nearly 50 corporate and community partners to learn and discuss issues around bias, racism, and privilege among other equity-related topics.
United Way for Southeastern Michigan has also received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator — the highest rating available, noting that donors can “give with confidence” to this nonprofit. Charity Navigator is the largest charity assessment organization in the U.S., providing donors with insights into a nonprofit’s financial accountability and transparency.
“We are also thrilled to be recognized by Charity Navigator,” added Hudson. “Our staff works diligently to make sure every contribution we receive from donors is used to maximize impact for those in need. As an organization, we are going to continue to work for the most vulnerable in our community – giving them a chance to live in stable households where children have the chance to thrive and succeed.”
This is the seventh consecutive 4-star evaluation for United Way.
United Way for Southeastern Michigan and the finalists from this year’s Best-Managed Nonprofit program will share insights and lessons learned during a hosted webinar in January of 2022.
To learn more about the work United Way does across Southeast Michigan, visit their website at www.UnitedWaySEM.org.
About United Way for Southeastern Michigan
United Way for Southeastern Michigan, a member of the United Way Worldwide network and an independently governed 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, works to help households become stable and ensure children have the support they need to thrive. For more than 100 years, United Way has been a leader in creating positive, measurable, and sustainable change in communities throughout southeast Michigan. United Way works in partnership with donors, agencies, corporate and municipal partners to help families meet their basic needs of housing, food, health care and family finances, and ensure children start school ready to learn and graduate ready for life. To give, advocate, volunteer or learn more, visit UnitedWaySEM.org.