Mission: Uniting resources to build a stronger community.
To accomplish this goal the Organization shall:
• analyze and evaluate the human needs of our community; both present & future;
• increase awareness of these needs and motivate the community to contribute to them;
• provide financial and other support for community programs and individuals;
• facilitate coordination of services;
• provide an information and referral network.
Vision: United Way envisions a community where all individuals and families achieve their human potential through education, financial stability, and healthy lives.
Impact: Be accountable for our work and sustainable results, collaborating efforts to make a positive difference in our community.
Inclusion: Strive to include diversity, equity, and inclusion practices at the center of our daily work by providing equal access to all with dignity and respect.
Innovation: Welcome change and commit to continuous improvement to drive constructive change in everything we do.
Integrity: Commit to actions and communications that are always fair, accurate, direct, honest and transparent.
Leadership: Facilitate meaningful collaborations by bringing the community together to accomplish common goals.
Otsego County United Way Staff
I am a student of life, humbly learning from those around me; always knowing my four greatest teachers will be my children and husband. I love the smell of dirt in the spring, the taste of a bold espresso, people that hold onto hugs a little too long, full moons reflecting off lakes and the sound of my children’s laughter. A Michigander through and through I grew up in Lake Orion, earned a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Ferris and a master in public administration degree with a concentration in nonprofit leadership from Western. Despite my roots, I am grateful for my husband’s career that afforded us the opportunity to go East for 5 years. Living in Erie, PA I worked under a Benedictine nun, as an AmeriCorps*Vista, helping nonviolent paroled women and their children. This experience propelled me on the path of human service. While living in Binghamton, NY I was the director of administration for the Young Women’s Christian Association within the housing program that provided emergency and transitional housing for women and children. We headed back to the Mitten in 2010 and I worked in Wyoming, at a food pantry as the community development manager. In 2015 we moved to Gaylord, where I pursued training in my second passion, Yoga. I am the co-owner of Yoga-45 and have been a registered yoga teacher for almost 5 years.
I have spent my career helping others in need.
The most fulfilling part of my time with United Way/RSVP program is by helping place people where they are needed most. The relationships are genuine and heartfelt. I hope to be a bright light in the lives of others. Being active helps me stay connected to our community.
I am proud to be a part of the umbrella of services that are coordinated through Otsego County United Way. Our community is excellent at networking to help those in looking for services with its array of close partnerships with other agencies.
I am very passionate about the medical transport programs (1:1 and TACKLE van) that take patients to their much needed medical appointments and cancer treatments.
United Way Assistant Executive Director
I started with the Otsego County United Way in January of 2020. I certainly could have never predicted how our world and community would change over the next few month, but I am so grateful to have been part of an organization that stepped up to help.
I've always believed in the good of people, without fear or judgement, and these trying times certainly reinforced how many community members were ready and willing to step up to help others.
A bit about my background: I moved to Gaylord from Washington where I was studying photography with the Art Institute of Seattle. Once here my husband at the time and I started and opened Moments Photography and Photo Booth where we specialized in family photos, weddings, high school seniors, and photo booth rentals.
Along with our business I have had many opportunities to get involved in Otsego County. I currently sit on the Gaylord Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Board of Directors for Guardian Gals, Inc., and the Board for Park of the Pines campground. I also chair the Leadership Otsego County program. This truly is a great place to be involved.
In my "free" time I enjoy traveling, camping, kayaking, hanging out in hammocks, and spending as much time outdoors with my daughter, Lennon, as possible.
RSVP Volunteer Coordinator
Alice McPherson has lived with her family in the Gaylord area for the past 22 years. She recently retired from a teaching position with the East Jordan Public Schools. Alice is looking forward to working with the staff at the Otsego County United Way and the volunteers in the Gaylord area. She has a passion for wanting to help make a difference in her community. Her husband, Scott, works for the City of Boyne City. Together, they have two daughters – both currently students at Michigan State University. She enjoys reading, gardening, and camping.
Linda Durant, owner and operator of The Holistic Spa/LMT, moved to Gaylord from California in 2009. Linda is heavily involved in her community by involving herself in many organizations such as DMA, Chamber, United Way, Alpenfest, etc. She currently holds a seat on the DDA board, Chairs the GACC Program Committee, Chairs OCUW Power of the Purse Committee, the Development Coordinator for OCUW, and coordinates Alpenfest’s Art tent. During the 2020 COVID shut down she advocated for OC graduating high school seniors creating the Facebook group Otsego County Adopt a 2020 High School Senior and spearheaded the 2020 Procession and Drive-In graduation for Gaylord High School seniors. She never understood what the word community meant until moving to Gaylord and she is proud to be part of it.