What do all of these things have in common?
- Wheelchair parts for a handicapped student (family could not afford to fix).
- Pre-school tuition for homeless kids (and/or pre-school fees).
- Un-paid school lunch accounts for a family who lost everything in a house fire.
- Band participation (buy instruments/supplies for students not able to).
These are all instances where schools in our service area used their Student Emergency Fund Grant from United Way of Southwest Minnesota to help students in need.
This year marks fifteen years of student emergency grant funding made available to schools by the United Way of Southwest Minnesota. Each spring all private, public and charter schools in our service area are invited to apply for a student emergency grant for the upcoming school year. Currently 40% of children overall qualify for free/reduced lunch in our region. In the last ten years, more than $87,000 has been granted to local schools through this effort with another $9,495 committed for the 2018-19 school year.
Twenty-two schools will receive grant funds. Those schools are: Canby, Clarkfield Area Charter, Dawson-Boyd, E.C.H.O., Fulda, Hendricks, Holy Redeemer (Marshall), Lake Benton, Lakeview (Cottonwood), Lincoln Elementary (Ivanhoe), Lynd, Marshall, Minneota, Murray County Central (Slayton), Russell-Tyler-Ruthton, St. Edward (Minneota), St Mary’s (Tracy), St. Peter’s (Canby), Tracy Area, True Light Christian School (Marshall), Westbrook Walnut Grove and Yellow Medicine East (Granite Falls).
Funding levels for each school are based upon the total number of students who are eligible for free and reduced lunches. Funds are for use by area schools to help meet unusual, unfunded basic needs of their neediest students. Grants for the 2018-19 school year were approved at the April United Way board of directors meeting and will be distributed to schools this summer in preparation for the new school year.
Schools receiving funds inform all school staff of the fund prior to the start of the school year, discuss what the fund can be used for and how it can be accessed. Each school has a point person(s) or task force responsible for oversight of the funds and must provide a financial recap and written report regarding the prior year’s usage of funds when applying for the upcoming school year. The United Way of Southwest Minnesota wants to make sure that children have a good chance to further their education successfully and is proud to provide funds that can assist to reduce/eliminate barriers.
For more information or to make a contribution to this valuable program, please contact the United Way of Southwest Minnesota at 507-929-2273 or log on to www.UnitedWaySWMN.org.
United Way of Southwest Minnesota is an autonomous, local organization working to create lasting change in people’s lives and the communities we serve in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and portions of Cottonwood, Lac Qui Parle, Nobles, and Redwood counties of Minnesota.