United Way receives funding boost from 2020 Ally Challenge

GENESEE COUNTY — Since first teeing off in 2018, the Ally Challenge presented by McLaren has raised over $3 million for local charitable organizations.

Among the tournament’s major charity recipients is the United Way of Genesee County and the multiple agencies it bestows grant money to.

Despite having no fans in attendance, the Ally Challenge raised $363,690 last year for the United Way through innovative fundraising promotions. Altogether, 13 programs external to the United Way were supported by funds from the Ally Financial investment, including: Burton HeatsON!, Catholic Charities, Faith Foundation Resources, Family Service Agency of Mid-Michigan, Junior Achievement (JA Flint Finance Park), LISC (Financial Opportunity Center), the Metro Community Development, Mott Community College (Choice Neighborhoods), My Brother’s Keeper, the Salvation Army, Shelter of Flint and the YWCA (Safe House and Safe Center).

Jamie Gaskin, CEO the United Way of Genesee County, said that his organization granted the funds to sources that exemplify Ally Financial’s core values: promoting financial literacy, housing stability and economic independence.

“Our aim (with the Ally funds) is to help people in the workplace environment advance with skill sets to attain a living wage job,” he said. “With these funds, we provide people with access to training and certifications and mentor them at their workplace and help people with basic needs around things like car repairs, getting insurance and navigating childcare needs.”

In terms of housing assistance, the Ally investment enabled the United Way to help over 2,300 clients transition from emergency shelters to more permanent housing environments and assist 260 individuals in receiving wrap-around case management to prepare them for relocation from dilapidated Section 8 housing to a new development.

Additionally, over 40 homes received furnace repairs/upgrades, and 121 homes received repairs including roofs, plumbing and electrical work. Eighty-four percent of United Way clients also increased their disposable income, 113 individuals gained employment and 187 youth received financial education, thanks to funds from the 2020 Ally Challenge donation proceeds.

Some of the most impacted areas from the United Way investments were the housing stability ($234,000) and adult financial literacy categories ($78,000). Non-profits who received the biggest financial aid included Catholic Charities ($50,000); the YWCA ($66,500); and the Salvation Army ($20,000, Pathways of Hope financial literacy).

Heading into this year’s tournament, Gaskin said he hopes to see higher fundraising numbers with fans in attendance.

“Last year’s donations from the tournament represented about 25 percent of our total grantmaking numbers,” he said. “It’s really an important part of our funding. This year, we will hopefully have more around the half million-dollar mark.”

As in 2020, the United Way will once again be the primary beneficiary for the Ally Challenge. Important fundraising promotions during the tournament will include Birdies for Charity, which gives multiple Michigan 501(c)(3) charities the opportunity to raise additional funds and benefit from the number of birdies made by PGA Champions Tour players during competitive rounds of the Ally Challenge.

Pro golfers can also raise money for charity by hitting golf balls into the Ally Challenge “A” logo or through the windshield of a 3-D replica of NASCAR driver Alex Bowman’s car at Warwick Hills’ driving range. Each shot that lands inside the “A” or the 3-D car will raise money for the Humane Society of Genesee County.

The Ally Challenge presented by McLaren will be held at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club in Grand Blanc Township from Aug. 27 to 29. To learn more about charity opportunities at the tournament, visit theallychallenge.com.