An important part of United Way of Southwest Minnesota’s work is the annual review of local not-for-profit programs that seek affiliation and grant funding from United Way. It’s an exciting process to be a part of…affecting change in our community both now and into the future. Volunteers involved in the process also find that this is an excellent way to learn more about the needs throughout our area. Dollars raised locally are re-invested back into communities served by the United Way of SW MN. Our organization serves Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine, western Redwood and portions of Cottonwood, Nobles and Lac Qui Parle counties.
How does it all work you might ask? Teams of volunteers undergo orientation and are assigned to review a group of organizations providing services/programming by impact area. This year volunteers representing sixteen communities in our service area have been placed on seven different teams that will review thirty-five community impact grant applications. Funds that were raised during the recent annual United Way campaign are invested back into services that benefit people in the areas of Education, Income, Health, Hunger and Promoting Safety and Well-being. Volunteers work together to conduct site visits of applicants, review program goals and anticipated results and then make their recommendations to the United Way of Southwest Minnesota Board of Directors for final approval. Funding recommendations are purely community driven with United Way staff receiving no vote in the process.
This method is an assurance to donors of the annual campaign that each donation is used as wisely as possible, where it does the most good and that it makes a difference for the people of our area. Volunteers involved in the process represent the donors who have made a contribution to the United Way of SW MN and do their due diligence to invest the dollars back into our community wisely. This is an important way for our United Way to assure local community impact. Volunteers generally spend up to 8 hours (usually in hour-long blocks) over 5-6 weeks of time from mid-April through the end of May conducting the reviews and preparing recommendations. Applicants are scored using a matrix evaluation during the process. Each applicant receives a copy of their evaluation from the panel that reviewed them during final notification of full, partial, or no funding. Many applicants report value in the feedback received for future planning.
Volunteer orientation was held on April 15th and applicant interviews are currently in process of being scheduled. Funding decisions will be announced June 17th-20, 2014.
For more information on the work of the United Way of Southwest Minnesota or past grant recipients visit our website at www.UnitedWaySWMN.org or give us a call at 507-929-2273. Give. Advocate. Volunteer.
April 4, 2014 Power of the Purse Event to Support Early Childhood Literacy Programs
Women United for Early Childhood, a women’s leadership initiative of United Way of Southwest Minnesota, will sponsor the seventh annual “Power of the Purse.” This year’s event will be held Tuesday, May 6 at 5:30 p.m., at the Marshall Golf Club. The evening will include a social time, dinner and keynote The Secret Arsenal of a Woman’s Purse, by author & photographer, Terri DeGezelle.
Throughout the evening there will be a silent auction of purses and accessories that have been donated to help raise money for United Way of Southwest Minnesota’s sponsorship of the Imagination Library program and other early childhood initiatives that work to effectively prepare children for success in school. The purses can be viewed at the United Way of Southwest Minnesota webpage: www.UnitedWaySWMN.org.
Tickets are $35 each until April 30th and a table of eight can be purchased for $280. After April 30th individual tickets will be $40 each, if available. Seating is limited. Reservations can be made by contacting United Way of Southwest Minnesota, 507-929-2273 or online at www.UnitedWaySWMN.org.
The United Way of Southwest Minnesota (UW of SW MN) is an autonomous, local organization working to create lasting changes in people’s lives and the communities in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and western Redwood counties of Minnesota. UW of SW MN also serves portions of Cottonwood, Nobles, and Lac Qui Parle counties.
March 27, 2014 Second Step Program at Minneota Public School Awarded United Way Grant
The United Way of Southwest Minnesota Board of Directors recently approved a Special Community Projects Grants to Minneota Public School for the Second Step Program. This grant request will purchase Second Step Curriculum for seventh and eighth grades at Minneota Public Schools. The developmental and sequential curriculum is designed to promote school and life success and to prevent problem behaviors. Students learn to identify bullying and practice how to handle bullying situations. The program also teaches empathy, how to recognize personal emotions and those of others, emotion management, problem solving skills, communication skills, goal setting and substance abuse prevention.
All grant applicants were reviewed and interviewed by community volunteers who then made their recommendations to the United Way of SW MN Board for final approval similar to the process used in the spring for Community Impact grant applicants; only on a smaller scale.
Pictured: Marcy Heemeyer, United Way of Southwest Minnesota; Meredith Sander, Minneota Public School; and Nancy Dilley, Minneota Public School.
March 27, 2014 United Way of Southwest Minnesota Recognizes Gold Level Employee Groups
The United Way of Southwest Minnesota board of directors and staff recognized the following businesses/organizations with the Gold Award at the United Way recognition event held March 18, 2014.
This award recognizes employee groups in which 90-100% of employees pledged to the 2013-14 United Way campaign. Recipients include: Bremer Bank, Home Federal, Royal Tire, United Way of Southwest Minnesota, and Wells Fargo.
March 26, 2014 United Way of Southwest Minnesota Recognizes Silver Level Employee Groups
The United Way of Southwest Minnesota board of directors and staff recognized the following businesses/organizations with the Silver Award at the United Way recognition event held March 18, 2014.
This award recognizes employee groups in which 65-89% of employees pledged to the 2013-14 United Way campaign. Recipients include: KMHL Broadcasting Company and Minnwest Bank.
March 26, 2014 Parent Enrichment
United Way of Southwest Minnesota’s 7th Annual Parent Enrichment program featuring Dr. David Walsh will be held on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at the Schwan’s Center for Performing Arts at the Marshall High School. Please mark your calendars for this informative session. It is free and open to the public. A Community Resource Fair featuring 17 area organizations will begin at 6:15pm and the session will run from 7:00pm-9:00pm.
Dr. Walsh will present iBrains: Guiding Children and Teens to Success in the Digital Age. During his presentation he will explain how technology is changing the ways that young people live, learn and socialize. More importantly he will identify three major strategies to assure that young people maximize digital benefits while avoiding the risks.
The workshop will answer important questions like:
What are healthy boundaries and parameters around technology use?
How can we teach kids to use technology to connect rather than disconnect?
How can we teach students to concentrate in a culture of chronic partial attention?
David Walsh, Ph.D. has emerged as one of the world’s leading authorities on children, teens, parenting, family life, and the impact of technology on children’s health and development. He spent 10 years teaching and coaching high school students before joining Fairview Health Services in Minneapolis to develop and direct innovative counseling programs for youth and families. In 1995, he founded the internationally renowned National Institute on Media and the Family, which he led until 2010. In 2011 he founded Mind Positive Parenting to translate cutting edge brain science to everyday practice for parents, teachers and other professionals.
Dr. Walsh has presented workshops to parents, educators, and professionals throughout the world. He is the author of ten books, including the national best sellers Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen and No: Why Kids – of All Ages – Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It. His newest book Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids: the One Brain Book You Need to Help Your Child Grow Brighter, Healthier and Happier was released in June, 2011.
Education is a priority area for the United Way of Southwest Minnesota. The United Way’s Success By 6 committee dedicates their time to providing quality learning opportunities for children birth to age 6 in order to help them be prepared for Kindergarten. Most of the Success By 6’s time and effort is focused on children. However, several years ago the United Way of Southwest Minnesota found there was a need for parents to receive more support in their role and parent enrichment opportunities were born. We hope you will join us for this informative session. Additional information can be found by visiting www.UnitedWaySWMN.org.
The prime sponsors, in addition to the United Way of Southwest Minnesota, are: Marshall ECFE, Southwest Initiative Foundation and Marshall PTA. Additional support for this program comes from First Lutheran Church – Youth and Family, Southwest Health and Human Services, Marshall Women of Today, Sanford Tracy Medical Center, RTR PTSA and St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church.
United Way of Southwest Minnesota is an autonomous, local organization working to create long lasting change in people’s lives and the communities in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and western Redwood Counties of Minnesota.
March 25, 2014 United Way of Southwest Minnesota Recognizes Bronze Level Employee Groups
The United Way of Southwest Minnesota board of directors and staff recognized the following businesses/organizations with the Bronze Award at the United Way recognition event held March 18, 2014.
This award recognizes employee groups in which 50-65% of employees pledged to the 2013-14 United Way campaign. Award recipients include: Advance Opportunities, D & G Excavating, Duke Energy Renewables, North Star Mutual Insurance Company, GreatAmerica Leasing, and Prairie Home Hospice & Community Care.
March 25, 2014 Archer Daniels Midland Honored with United Way Spirit of Caring Award
The United Way of Southwest Minnesota honored Archer Daniels Midland and its employees as this year’s recipient of the Spirit of Caring Award at their annual recognition event held March 18, 2014. This award is presented to a workplace that demonstrates corporate and employee commitment to the United Way of Southwest Minnesota.
The Spirit of Caring Award is given annually to only one organization to give special recognition and to say a special thank you for what that organization and its employees do for local people and the area. Archer Daniels Midland has exhibited its spirit of caring through its sponsorship of United Way of Southwest Minnesota and their involvement with many other important local organizations and causes, its encouragement of volunteerism and the taking of time to inform employees about how organizations like United Way work in southwest Minnesota. Earlier this year, ADM partnered with the United Way of Southwest Minnesota for the United Against Hunger project and the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. Without their support, neither initiative would have been possible. In addition, ADM’s workplace campaign also had more than a 15% increase in combined giving this year.
Pictured: Representing ADM is Dave Afdem, Laurae Hively, and Todd Denney.
March 24, 2014 United Way of Southwest Minnesota Recognizes Outstanding Citizenship Award Recipients
The United Way of Southwest Minnesota board of directors and staff recognized the following businesses/organizations with the Outstanding Citizenship Award at the United Way recognition event held March 18, 2014.
This award recognizes employee groups that held a new United Way campaign this year OR had a 15% or more increase in combined giving for the 2013-14 campaign. Recipients include: Archer Daniels Midland Company, County Fair Foods, Duke Energy Renewables, GreatAmerica Leasing, Home Federal, Lyon County Courthouse, Royal Tire, Prairie Home Hospice & Community Care, Shopko Stores, Inc., U.S. Bank, United Way of SW MN, Wal-Mart Store #1722, and Western Mental Health Center.
March 24, 2014 Duke Energy Awarded United Way of Southwest Minnesota Rising Star Award
The United Way of Southwest Minnesota Board of Directors and staff have selected Duke Energy and its employees as this year’s recipient of the Rising Star Award. This award is presented to one workplace that demonstrates emerging support and enthusiasm for the United Way each year. Duke Energy ran their very first United Way campaign this year and achieved amazing results and employee engagement. Previous winners of the Rising Star Award include Sanford Canby Medical Center.
Duke Energy was also recognized as one of the workplace recipients of the Outstanding Citizenship Award. This award recognizes employee groups that held a new United Way campaign this year OR had a 15% or more increase in combined giving for the 2013-14 campaign. Other workplaces recognized in this category include: Archer Daniels Midland Company, County Fair Foods, GreatAmerica Leasing, Home Federal, Lyon County Courthouse, Royal Tire, Prairie Home Hospice & Community Care, Shopko Stores, Inc., U.S. Bank, United Way of SW MN, Wal-Mart Store #1722, and Western Mental Health Center.
In addition, Duke Energy was recognized in the Bronze Award category. This award level recognizes employee groups in which 50-65% of employees pledged to the 2013-14 campaign. Other workplaces recognized in this category include: Advance Opportunities, D & G Excavating, North Star Mutual Insurance Company, GreatAmerica Leasing, and Prairie Home Hospice & Community Care.
Awards were presented onsite to Duke Energy employees on March 21, 2014.
March 21, 2014 United Way of Southwest Minnesota Announces Volunteers of the Year
This award is presented to an individual that demonstrates support, leadership, volunteerism and enthusiasm for the United Way each year. This special award is based on nominations from United Way colleagues. The Volunteer of the Year is awarded to an individual who has been a dedicated, long-term United Way volunteer committed to helping the organization achieve its mission.
The United Way is pleased to have co-winners of the award this year. Both of these individuals received the same number of nominations and votes. We are proud of the significant impact and contribution each of them have made and continue to make in Southwest Minnesota.
The 2013-14 United Way Volunteers of the Year are Jeremy Gossen of Marshall and Theresa Zaske of Balaton. Gossen is employed by Bremer Bank and Zaske is employed by Schwan’s Shared Services, LLC. The awards were presented at the annual United Way recognition event on March 18, 2014.
March 21, 2014 United Way of Southwest Minnesota Presents Campaign Ambassador of the Year Award
The United Way of Southwest Minnesota Board of Directors and staff selected Kirk Grannes of U.S. Bank as the very first recipient of the Campaign Ambassador of the Year Award.
This new award will be presented to one person each year that demonstrates exceptional leadership and encourages outstanding employee campaign participation. In order to earn the award, the Ambassador must organize a fundraising campaign that increases employee per capita giving, the percentage of employee participation or the total dollars raised. In addition, the winning Ambassador must follow campaign best practices, encourage year round awareness of United Way work, be creative with fundraising/special events, encourage leadership giving, encourage corporate giving and attend the annual Ambassador training.
U.S. Bank increased their giving total this year by 22%. Employees, with matching dollars from the U.S. Bank Foundation, raised more than $86,000 for the United Way of Southwest Minnesota campaign. Kirk Grannes led the engaged team of Ambassadors at U.S. Bank. In addition, Kirk volunteers with the United Way throughout the year and serves as a panel chair for community impact grant reviews.
The award was presented at the annual United Way recognition event on March 18, 2014.
March 17, 2014 United Way of Southwest Minnesota Imagination Library Program Update
The United Way of Southwest Minnesota officially expanded the beloved Dolly Parton Imagination Library program to include the Dawson-Boyd & Fulda School Districts effective January 5, 2014. Children who enrolled in the free program in January will receive their first book in the mail this month. Currently, 35 children ages birth-five have enrolled in the program from the Dawson-Boyd School District, and 29 children ages birth-five have enrolled in the program from the Fulda School District.
In 2005, the United Way of Southwest Minnesota officially started their sponsorship and financial support of the Imagination Library Program. Since that time, more than 225,000 books have made their way into the hands of children throughout Southwest Minnesota as part of United Way’s commitment to early literacy and school readiness. Each child enrolled in the program receives the same classic Welcome Book, “The Little Engine that Could” by Watty Piper and Graduation Book “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!” by Nancy Carlson during the month the child turns five years old.
Each month, from the day the child is born until his/her fifth birthday, a carefully selected book arrives at the mailbox. Dolly Parton’s team of literacy experts select the books and navigates the U.S. Postal System, while local organizations like the United Way handle the marketing, enrollment, address changes, and financial sponsorship. The program costs approximately $30.00 per child per year. Currently, the United Way of SW MN program averages about 2,380 children enrolled at any given time. Parents can enroll their children by completing a very simple form. Forms are available at www.UnitedWaySWMN.org. They are also available at the Dawson Library. It typically takes about 10 weeks of processing time following enrollment.
Educators stress that reading with your pre-school child is the single-most important activity to prepare a child for school. Studies show that being prepared for school follows children throughout their lifetime…children who are better prepared for school also do better down the road economically. Dolly Parton created her Imagination Library to guarantee access to books and to inspire parents to read to their children as much as possible. The United Way of Southwest Minnesota and their Success By 6 committee also focuses their community impact work in school readiness and early literacy for those same reasons.
If you would like to support children in the Imagination Library Program in your community please send donations to: United Way of Southwest Minnesota-Imagination Library Program, PO Box 41, 109 S. 5th Street, Suite 300, Marshall, MN 56258. The cost to sponsor one child is $30.00 per year.
March 13, 2014 Parent Enrichment, April 8, Dr. David Walsh
iBrains: Guiding Children and Teens to Success in the Digital Age
Presented by: David Walsh, Ph.D.
The 7th annual parent enrichment speaker presentation featuring author, psychologist and international speaker Dr. David Walsh is Tuesday April 8, 2014 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Marshall High School-Schwan’s Center for Performing Arts with doors opening at 6:15 p.m. for a Community Resource Fair. Dr. Walsh is the author of ten books, including two national best sellers; his most recent title is Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids.
Dr. David Walsh will explain how technology is changing the ways that young people live, learn, and socialize. More importantly he will identify three major strategies to assure that they maximize the digital benefits while avoiding the risks.
This presentation will answer important questions like:
What are healthy boundaries and parameters around technology?
How can we teach kids to use technology to connect rather than disconnect?
How can we teach students to concentrate in a culture of chronic partial attention?
Dr. Walsh presents to parents, educators and professional audiences throughout the world. His workshops blend humor, warmth, scientific substance, and practical advice. Visit his website at www.drdavewalsh.com.
Prior to Dr. Dave’s presentation, from 6:15 – 7:00, there will be a Community Resource Fair with 17 organizations participating. These organizations will have information available regarding many opportunities, programs and experiences in our area ranging from school support to health and human services to service opportunities. This is an excellent forum for parents, teachers and caregivers to find information on a whole range of topics not only for the children, but for themselves as well.
The Community Resource Fair and Dr. David Walsh’s presentation are both FREE of charge and all parents, teachers and caregivers are invited to attend. The evening is made possible due to generous contributions from United Way of Southwest Minnesota Success By 6 supporters including: United Way of Southwest Minnesota; Success By 6; Marshall ECFE and Little Cubs Preschool; The Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF), Marshall PTA, First Lutheran Church – Youth and Family, Southwest Health and Human Services, Marshall Women of Today, Sanford Tracy Medical Center, RTR PTSA and St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church.
CEU and Childcare training certificates will be available. No preregistration is needed for CEU’s or Childcare training certificates.
February 24, 2014 Wild About Kindergarten
Happiness is assembled WILD ABOUT KINDERGARTEN bags! Thank you to Schwan R & D Employees for packing bags for us this year!
These bags are provided to every school in the United Way of SW MN five county service area of Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and western Redwood counties. One bag is given to each child when they attend Kindergarten round-up free of charge by the United Way of SW MN. Each bag is an investment of about $10.00.
As part of the Success By 6 initiative, the United Way of Southwest Minnesota wants to do what they can to help insure that children are prepared to succeed in school when they start kindergarten.
Approximately 900 children will receive a Wild About Kindergarten bag that contains items for children to practice with over the summer to build their school readiness skills. Contents include dry erase board and marker, crayons, a book, scissors, glue stick, notepad, alphabet letters and numbers puzzles, worksheets and information for parents on what they can do at home to build school readiness skills.
The Success By 6 Committee of the United Way of Southwest Minnesota is a very active committee working to provide the necessary tools for children to be ready to succeed when they enter kindergarten.