United Way of Ottawa and Allegan Counties Announces New Roles for Three Staff Members

United Way of Ottawa and Allegan Counties is excited to announce three staff members have stepped into new roles.

Shannon Behm transitions from Vice President of Volunteerism to Vice President of Development, effective October 1, 2022.

“Shannon embodies the true spirit of United Way,” said United Way of Ottawa and Allegan Counties President and CEO Brian Gaggin. “We are very excited to have her accept this new role in our organization and look forward to the relationship she will cultivate and the positive
effect she will have on our organization, our partners, and our community.” Behm has held the role of Vice President of Volunteerism since 2009. Prior to joining United Way, her experience with community service organizations included acting as Community Resource Manager at Habitat for Humanity and a position with AmeriCorps as a Vista, where she was instrumental in developing United Way’s signature youth program, Students LIVE UNITED.

Her new role puts her in direct contact with United Way partner companies, major donors, and individual donors as she hopes to develop these connections into deep, long-lasting relationships. Her experience and passion for the work and the support that United Way brings to our counties.

“I am so excited to transition to a new role within United Way that will focus on new and creative fundraising opportunities while allowing me to keep volunteerism as a responsibility of this new role,” said Behm. “As VP of Development, I hope to expand community engagement to create meaningful and sustainable pathways to better health, education, and financial stability.”

Behm studied psychology and nonprofit business at Western Michigan University and Southern New Hampshire University. She currently resides in Grand Haven Township.

Volunteering is also at the heart of Kessie Karg’s new role as Director of Community Relations, effective October 1, 2022. “Kessie’s knowledge and involvement in so many areas of United Way have given her the experience needed to excel in her new role,” said Gaggin. “We’re very
excited to see her bring our brand and our message to the community. We’re confident her spirit for volunteerism will make her a role model that others will seek to follow.”

Karg previously held the title of Associate Area Director with United Way of Ottawa and Allegan Counties, where she worked to strengthen relationships with United Way agencies and collaborative partners. Her oversight of the Volunteer and Goods Donation Center has given her
insight into the community's needs. She also brings a background in private business and industry to United Way.

“Overseeing both counties, Ottawa and Allegan, I’ll be responsible for creating, innovating, and managing United Way’s engagement strategy in a way that inspires and motivates the community to connect and grow,” says Karg. “It's been quite a taxing last two to three years for everybody, and we are all feeling the energy, strength, and momentum to get back out there, connect, support, and give back. By building relationships with corporate and community volunteers, I will ensure an energized, efficient, and effective volunteer base of support for United Way and the community.”

Karg holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from Western Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Manchester University. Karg is currently working on her master's in social work (MSW) from Grand Valley State University. She currently resides in Holland.

Allyson Huttenga steps into the Director of Corporate Relations role, effective October 1, 2022. “Allyson’s drive became apparent from her first day,” said Gaggin. “Her process-driven organizational skills and desire to help streamline corporate campaigns have already proved so
valuable to our corporate partners. We are very excited to have her join our team.”

She will be responsible for stewarding and supporting United Way’s 150+ corporate campaign partners as they facilitate their workplace campaigns. In addition, Huttenga has been charged with streamlining and re-energizing the United Way workplace giving campaigns, increasing
participation, and delivering a single point of contact for campaign partners.

Huttenga comes to United Way with a wealth of experience gained from her previous positions as Community Relations Manager and then Development Director at Harbor Humane Society, along with positions at Van Andel Institute and Avenue for the Arts–Dwelling Place. Her knack
for continuous process improvement, creative problem-solving, and authentic relationships will be a long-term benefit to United Way and its corporate partners.

“The fundraising efforts and generosity of our partners are critical for our Community Investment process to be successful in creating change,” says Huttnega. “The more resources generated through workplace campaigns, the more funds being invested into impact programs surrounding
improved health, financial stability, and education in our communities.”

Huttenga holds a degree in community leadership from Aquinas College.

United Way seeks to build stronger, more resilient, and more equitable communities where everyone can thrive. Its efforts are focused on three areas of impact – education, health, and financial stability. To learn more about United Way of Ottawa and Allegan Counties and how to
support its work, visit oaunitedway.org.