DRIVE FOR LIFE | CHARITIES

  
Thanks to the generous outpouring of support and contributions from the community and businesses in the area, the Drive for Life Foundation Gala was a huge success in 2021, raising over $800,000 in benefit of our local charities. These organizations offer our area's most vulnerable citizens a number of indispensable programs and services. 

As we prepare for this year's 40th Annual Drive For Life Foundation Gala, we would like to share with you some impact highlights and additional information from our 2022 benefiting organizations. We are proud to be able to make an impact right here in our community, keep reading now to learn more about how our annual gala and foundation helps raise funds for these amazing charities and organizations. 

If you would like more information on getting involved, please click here. We are always looking for volunteers and generous donors to help make this event a success.

American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society offers help for patients, survivors and caregivers in Michigan and throughout the United States. With the support of the Drive for Life Foundation, the organization has been able to receive 20 Active Research Grants in Michigan-with four of these newly awarded in July 2021- representing an investment towards finding a cure of more than 13.8 million. 

Besides this incredible accomplishment, the American Cancer Society has also been able to launch the Diversity in Cancer Research Program to improve diversity and inclusion in the field of cancer research. This program has funded 32 summer interns at 8 institutions across the nation, sparking innovation and igniting a passion for research. 

Locally in Michigan, from October 2021 to March 2022, the American Cancer Society has invested over $100,000 in transportation grants impacting over 1,600 individuals. 

The organization has also invested $75,000 in lodging grants in Michigan that are expected to provide 750 nights of lodging to those impacted by Cancer. The American Cancer Society's free 24/7 helpline & online chat also continues to provide answers and support for people facing cancer and their loved ones. In 2021, the organization provided support to more than 250,000 people, an average of 684 people per day.

To learn more please visit: Cancer.org

First Day Shoe Fund

First Day Shoe Fund is dedicated to providing new athletic shoes to elementary students in need at Kalamazoo County public schools. We believe all students should start school on equal footing. Since 2006, FDSF has been distributing new athletic shoes to students in our community; in 2021 we gave out over 5,200 pairs of shoes to students in need. That means that thousands of students were able to enter their classrooms comfortable and confident and participate fully in gym and recess because of our amazing community supporters. 

 

Never has our service been more important than in the past few years with COVID-19, high unemployment and rising inflation. Families tell us every year how a new pair of shoes positively impacts their student. " My husband lost his job (sole income for the household) shortly before the start of the school year and we were unable to afford properly fitting shoes for our oldest son. This program was a huge blessing to our family. I don't know how we would have been able to get shoes for our son otherwise". FDSF Family 2021

 

Our Fall distribution will take place in September/early October 2022 once the students are back in class and we anticipate that this will be our largest distribution to date. We are grateful to Zeigler for becoming a school sponsor for 2022; this support will enable us to continue to expand our vital service.

 

To learn more about First Day Shoe Fund, please visit firstdayshoefund.org 

MRC Industries

MRC Industries, Inc. is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization in Kalamazoo providing employment, skill-building and case management services to individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities, traumatic brain injury and/or mental illness.

 

MRC's mission is to encourage and support individuals living with a disability to achieve their fullest potential through employment, skill-building and active community involvement.  

 

The organization serves approximately 600 individuals each year with the philosophy that every person is unique, valued and entitled to be treated with respect and dignity.   This philosophical framework results in programs and services focused on an individual's needs, desires, strengths and abilities.   

 

To learn more please visit: https://mrcindustries.org/     

The Salvation Army

"The Salvation Army of Kalamazoo has been helping those in the most need for over 136 years. Generous donors such as The Drive for Life Foundation and the Zeigler Automotive Group help us meet those needs all year long as we provide emergency assistance to over 1,300 of our neighbors for rent, food, and utility assistance, 100 kids getting a backpack with all the necessary school supplies, hosting the annual Veteran's Standdown each fall, serving as a cooling and warming shelter during temperature extremes, 2,696 kids receiving toys for Christmas during our annual Toy Shop, 1,100 individuals receiving winter clothing wear as part of our Share the Warmth coat drive, and over 1,300 households receiving holiday food during Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Without the support of The Drive for Life Foundation, we would not be able to serve all our neighbors in need."

To learn more please visit:https://centralusa.salvationarmy.org/kalamazoo/

Big Brothers Big Sisters

"Drive for Life Foundation's support of Big Brothers Big Sisters keeps local kids connected and helps create and support mentor/mentee (Big/Little) relationships. These mentoring friendships help local youth realize and own their potential. Zeigler Drive for Life Foundation helps clear the path to big futures for our local young people."


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Michigan helps children realize their potential and build their futures. We nurture children and strengthen communities. And we couldn't do any of it without you. Since 1958, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Michigan has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (Bigs) and children (Littles), ages 6 through 18, in Kalamazoo, Allegan, Calhoun, and Van Buren counties. The financial support of thousands of donors makes it possible for the agency to professionally match and professionally support Bigs, Littles and their families through the life of the match. This leads to positive friendships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.

Make an Impact Today: Whether you get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters as a donor, potential Big Brother or Big Sister, partner, advocate, or family member, you have the power to change a child's future for the better. 


To learn more please visit: https://www.bbbsmi.org/

You can the support the Drive for Life Foundation by sponsoring us or purchasing a ticket to our 40th Annual Drive for Life Gala, donating to our Silent Auction or Live Auction, or volunteering. Contact us today for more information.