News Release


The United Way of 1000 Lakes needs a final push

The organization’s annual campaign has reached the 85 percent mark, or $260,500 of its goal, but needs a final push to ensure that adequate funding continues for partnering agencies.

So far in this campaign we have seen generous support from local businesses and individuals that we truly appreciate,” said Kimberly Brink Smith, executive director of United Way. “We are hoping this call for help will bring in the additional donations needed to meet goal.”

Dedicated United Way volunteers have visited hundreds of individuals and businesses across the Itasca area to be sure everyone knows United Way’s story and has an opportunity to give. Many leading companies and institutions have already contributed to the campaign with employee drives and corporate donations. But help is still needed.

United Way set this year’s goal of $305,000 after careful consideration of the budgets and programming of the United Way’s 37 locally funded programs, but the actual need in the community is even greater. This is why falling short of the campaign goal would be so difficult. You do not have to look very hard to find a family member, neighbor or co-worker who has been touched by United Way or one of its 27 funded agencies. If United Way falls short of reaching their goal, those who have serious needs will feel the greatest impact.

One of the major success stories in this year’s effort is the Minnesota Power campaign, which raised $78,408. In all, more than 140 employees and retirees pledged $43,558 through one-time donations and the company’s payroll deduction program. The Minnesota Power Foundation contributed an additional $32,100. A Minnesota Power Committee coordinated the internal campaign, which includes year-round engagement activities. The first activity, Build-Your-Own-Basket (B.Y.O.B.) silent auction, raised $2,750. An Employee “Watts Cooking” Cookbook; Valentine Sale; Bingo; and Boswell Olympics are others planned for 2014.

"We have seen tremendous community support this year, but unfortunately we are also seeing some decreases due in part by layoffs, change in employment, and retirements, that cause concern for our final outcome," said Kimberly Brink Smith.

The campaign still needs approximately $44,500 to reach its goal by their Campaign Celebration on Thursday, March 20, 2014 at the Timberlake Lodge Hotel.

Currently, United Way of 1000 Lakes funds 27 local organizations. These programs provide the community with access to services that help move people out of poverty, build a healthy community and help children be successful in school and life.

The ElderCircle is one of the organizations funded in part by the United Way campaign. Executive Director Kristi Kane said United Way funding plays an important role in programs at her organization, like the senior wheels program, a program that helps aging adults to and from doctor appointments. “United Way Dollars help us secure larger amounts of Federal and State dollars by acting as a local match,” she said. “Without a stable local match we would not be able to provide programming year after year and thousands of aging community members would not be able to get to medical appointments or find the support they need to stay in their homes and prolong nursing home placement.”

The Itasca Youth for Christ’s Campus Life and Juvenile Justice programs are both recipients of United Way funds. Executive Director Duane M. Geisler said the United Way funds are vital to their Campus Life program, especially in the Deer River and Greenway communities. “Without United Way support we would lose programming to high school aged youth or we would have to launch a new fundraising effort to replace those funds, which would require time normally spent with teens, doing solicitation,” he said. “United Way funds are critical to our continued work with the youth of our area.

The United Way campaign also supports Childcare Scholarship Fund and the Youth and Senior centers at the Itasca County YMCA. Executive Director, Betsy McBride said United Way funds help families work to put food on the table and have the essentials to live. “For many families, childcare is their largest monthly expense.” she said. “United Way funds make it possible to provide scholarships to those families so that their children can be cared for in a safe, educational environment, while their parents work or attend school, so they can provide for their family.”

If you have already made your United Way gift, thank you. If you haven’t yet given, please consider a gift of any amount – even $5 can make an impact. When you give to United Way, your gift is combined with the gifts of others and creates big change in our community.

Photos and captions:

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Minnesota Power’s Campaign Committee (from left): Rhonda Munger, Monique Wedle, Paul Undeland, Angie Tanner, Crystal Burggraf, Keely Bastle, Constance Rajala, Jansie Lenius and Joshua Skelton.

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Minnesota Power giving campaign raises $78,408 for United Way. Paul Undeland (on the left) and Joshua Skelton of Minnesota Power with United Way Executive Director, Kimberly Brink Smith.


United Way funded programs:

Advocates for Family Peace: $26,000
Advocacy Program: $7,500
Transitional Housing: $4,000
Intervention Program: $7,500
Wellstone Family Safety Center: $7,000

Baby Steps Boutique: $5,000

Bigfork Valley, Day Stay: $3,000

Bigfork Food Shelf: $3,000

Boy Scouts: $1,000

Bridges Kinship: $10,000
After School Mentoring Program: $2,500
Community Based Mentoring: $7,500

Cooperative Solutions: $8,000

Deer River Food Shelf: $6,000
GRACE House: $6,000

Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital: MyPlate: $2,500

ElderCircle: $14,000
Adult Day Stay: $2,000
RSVP: $6,000
Senior Wheels Program: $6,000

Essentia: Friendship Haven Adult Day Stay: $2,000

First Call For Help/United Way 2-1-1: $15,000

Hill City After School Program: $3,000

Home Visitor: $6,500

Itasca County 4-H: $8,000
Science/Technology/Robotics $2,000
After School Steps of Success: $3,500
Youth Leadership $2,500

Itasca County Wellness Court: $6,000

KOOTASCA: $11,000
Crisis Nursery: $7,000
Transitional Housing: $4,000

MDI: Disability-related Equipment: $1,000

Naswauk Food Shelf: $3,000

Project Care Free Clinic: $7,500

Project READ: $5,000

Second Harvest: GR Food Shelf: $12,000

Support Within Reach: $14,500
Coordinated Community Response: $4,000
Prevention Education & Awareness: $3,000
Victim Support & Advocacy: $7,500

Itasca County Family YMCA: $31,000
Bruce Bauer Senior Center: $4,000
Childcare Scholarship Fund: $21,000
Youth Center: $6,000

Youth for Christ: $14,000
Campus Life: $10,000
Juvenile Justice Program: $4,000

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