2019 Call to Justice Honoree: Kate White

By Marley Van Fossen, Screening Integration Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan

On August 7, 2019, Elder Law of Michigan will honor Kate White with the 2019 Joe D. Sutton Call to Justice Award for her elder abuse prevention work.

The Joe D. Sutton Call to Justice Awards honor those that share the mission of Elder Law of Michigan, Inc. to advocate for, educate, and assist those in need, with a continued focus on older adults and persons with disabilities.

Ron Tatro, Vice President of Elder Law of Michigan, said “Kate has served Michigan seniors over several decades. First, with the State of Michigan, Elder Law of Michigan, and now with Michigan Community Action, her commitment and dedication to the senior community have remained strong and resolute.”

Kate White, Executive Director of Michigan Community Action (MCA), is transforming the work of the Association to empower the Community Action Network to succeed in an environment of scarce funding and growing regulation. “There are more demands than ever before on Community Action. Together we will grow and refine services and our advocacy work to live up to the promise of Community Action to make America a better place to live.”

MCA hasn’t lost sight of its role as a change agent and an advocate. “As we reflect on what has worked to move families out of poverty, we emphasize opportunities for affordable housing, early childhood education, and adult literacy. Energy efficiency and weatherization are cornerstones of our agenda to ensure that low income families can afford utilities and live in safe, comfortable homes that allow them to succeed at school and work. These are the building blocks for strong communities and thriving families.” The mission of MCA is to inspire Community Action Agencies to champion solutions to poverty and to promote economic opportunity.

Previously as President & CEO of Elder Law of Michigan, Ms. White led Elder Law from being characterized as “three lawyers in a phone booth” to a nationally recognized provider of legal and aging services. Once limited to serving people in Michigan, the organization grew to become a national voice in the conversation around public benefits, elder rights, elder abuse prevention, and economic security for all people of all ages, particularly vulnerable adults. She received the prestigious Liberty Bell Award in 2011 from the State Bar of Michigan for her advocacy on legal issues for the poor.

Ms. White has a background in Humanities, with a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University. In 2017, she became a Certified Community Action Professional (CCAP). Her career encompasses experience in the public and private sector in government, aging, employment and training, and resource development.

She joined the Michigan Community Action Agency Association in August of 2013. Ms. White is Secretary of the Michigan Nonprofit Association Board of Directors, the Coalition to Keep Michigan Warm, the Silver Key Coalition, and many other initiatives focused on aging, anti-poverty efforts, public policy, and support for Community Action. She was awarded the Charles Braithwait Award for Leadership by the National Community Action Foundation in March of 2019.

Elder Law of Michigan is proud to honor Kate with the 2019 Joe D. Sutton Call to Justice Award. Join us in honoring Kate and her years of service in making a difference in the lives of older adults Wednesday, August 7th, from 6 pm to 8 pm at UrbanBeat in Lansing. RSVP for the Mid-Michigan event.

Marley Van Fossen is a Screening Integration Coordinator for MiCAFE at Elder Law of Michigan. She has been a member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since October 2018. As a Screening Integration Coordinator, Marley assists seniors with benefit applications and develops relationships with community partners in Michigan.