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Here they come to save the day! Blandin Foundation, Itasca County and KOOTASCA employees took a moment to embrace their inner superheroes in support of the United Way’s Unleash Your Inner Hero campaign last week. The United Way campaign aims to raise $305,000 to support 27 local health and human service organizations, including Project READ; Campus Life; 4-H; YMCA; Grand Rapids, Deer River, Bigfork and Nashwauk food shelves; and Wellness Court.


United Way invites the you to Unleash Your Inner Hero! Unite with others to stand up for children, help families to thrive, allow seniors to live a lifetime of independence and meet the basic needs of our community’s most vulnerable. When your gift is combined with the gifts of others, United Way is able to support more than 40 local programs and initiatives, which directly impacts 1 in 3 people in our community each year. Contributions can be made on-line at or by check, credit card or bill me options by calling United Way at 218-999-7570.



A parade of Blandin Foundation superheroes stormed the downtown streets of Grand Rapids on Thursday in support of the United Way community campaign. Blandin Foundation achieved over 90 percent participation in their employee giving campaign this year.


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They may not have X-ray vision or be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but Trish Klein (left), Itasca County Administrator, Lester Kachinske, Director of Itasca County Health and Human Services; and Kimberly Brink Smith, United Way Executive Director unleashed their inner hero at the County’s first Employee Health Fair last week. To date, County employees have pledged more than $6,000 dollars to the United Way campaign. The Health and Human Service Department is hosting a Soup’r Sandwich luncheon fundraiser on Wednesday, Nov. 6th from 11:30 to 2 p.m. at the IRC building for a $5 per person donation. Sandwiches provided by Jimmy John’s, Pizza Works and Subway.


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We caught up with United Way Community Heroes from KOOTASCA (right to left): Andrew Almendinger, Homelessness Prevention Case Manager (a.k.a KOOTASCA Man); Gail Beckman, Homelessness Prevention Case Manager with Super Dog, Velimir; Becky Boelter, Crisis/Homelessness Prevention Coordinator, and Linda Reed, Crisis/Homelessness Prevention Assistant who swooped in to answer United Way’s bat signal to help our community’s most vulnerable. KOOTASCA hosted an employee United Way Hero dress up day as part of their workplace campaign. Everyone who dressed up made a donation to the United Way campaign. The United Way campaign supports more than 40 local programs and initiatives including KOOTASCA’s Crisis Nursery and Transitional Housing programs.


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