The Lifeline Initiative, a partnership of the United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region and Kalamazoo Community Foundation, concluded in December.

While the immediate needs of our community have certainly not gone away, the United Way and Community Foundation are thankful for those donors who generously gave $4 million in assistance during one of the most challenging economic periods in Kalamazoo County’s history. These gifts were above and beyond what those donors were already contributing to both organizations, which makes these contributions even more special.

Jennifer Tucker of Goodwill Industries of Southwestern Michigan reports the impact Lifeline grants had on their tax counseling initiative.

"Providing free tax preparation and filing to families can mean the difference between being able to pay rent and being homeless on the street. The money people save in filing costs cannot compare to the money brought back into the community by the Earned Income Tax Credit. Many people depend on their tax refunds to make ends meet."

Emily Kobza of Communities In Schools Kalamazoo told us about the impact Lifeline had on their Kids’ Closet program.

"Attendance is an important factor in students’ success in school. Kids can’t learn when they aren’t in class. Providing essential items of clothing, school supplies, and personal hygiene products reduces obstacles that prevent our children from being in school on time, every day, all day, ready to learn. Kids’ Closet assures students will attend school, physically comfortable and with dignity."

Through these grants, the lives of thousands of Kalamazoo County residents were touched in some way and there are as many stories that are testimony to the power of people working together to cast a lifeline to people in need.

View the complete list of Lifeline Initiative grants >