WECO: Wyoming Employees Community Outreach

Community: City of Wyoming, Michigan
Population: 10,000+

Can one public servant take a dollar a week and the heart-felt desire to serve his community after 9/11 into a thriving non-profit that has served 1,000 families? Paul Turner, a City of Wyoming motor pool employee, and the founding board members he inspired, did just that. Since 2003, more than 2,300 Wyoming kids have received clothing, backpacks, school supplies, even recreation fees from Wyoming Employee Community Outreach.

Participating City of Wyoming employees are encouraged to donate at least a dollar week through payroll deduction. WECO has raised over $164,000, and spent nearly every dollar on the kids. Target Stores became a critical partner, allowing recipients to shop for their needed items, with WECO paying the bill. Schools and human service professionals make referrals with a one-page application for a Wyoming child or family with a need. Within a day or two, the need is met. For a dollar a week.


Replicability:

WECO is run by City of Wyoming employees, and the organization partners with Target stores to help monitor the students' purchases. Every community has students and families in need, and every organization has good employees who want to make a difference in others' lives. These employees can form partnerships with any large department store and create a similar program anywhere throughout the country.

Creativity and Originality:

WECO has many fundraising opportunities. Employees have the opportunity to donate through automatic deductions from paychecks and at various City events. Recently, employees participated in the second annual "Change Challenge for WECO" in which they donated spare change to a shared departmental bucket and then "sabotaged" other departments' donations by adding paper bills instead of coins. This event was considered fun by all and allowed WECO to assist 23 children. WECO also hosts an annual Christmas party; event goers purchase raffle tickets, and prizes are raffled off throughout the event. The party raised over $3,200 which helped 43 Wyoming children.

Community Impact:

Over 2,300 children in Wyoming, Michigan, have received clothing, backpacks, school supplies, and recreation fees as a result of WECO's fundraising. That's over $164,000, and with very little overhead cost, nearly every dollar goes directly to the kids.

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