Board of Directors

Board members meet bi-monthly to further the strategic work and mission of United Way of Southwest Minnesota.  They take seriously their fiduciary responsibility to make sure the resources that are entrusted to the organization are wisely used and to achieve desired outcomes.  United Way of Southwest Minnesota board members actively participate in task forces and committees that help carry out the work of the organization.

Board members are volunteers from across the United Way of Southwest Minnesota service area.  There are up to 24 board members who serve three-year terms.  Each board member is eligible to serve two consecutive terms as a director.  Annually, the board elects a chair, vice chair and treasurer.  The president & CEO serves as secretary of the organization, but is not a voting member of the board.

A special thank you to our board members for their time and dedication to helping our organization accomplish our mission of improving lives and strengthening communities in southwest Minnesota. 


In many ways 2020 felt like we were so far apart. United Way of Southwest Minnesota didn’t look like it had in past years due to COVID-19. For example, events such as Power of the Purse and the Beer Dinner didn’t occur (just to name a few). Our board and volunteers were unable to be in close proximity changing the way we interacted with each other. Our workplace campaigns couldn’t share collaborative events such as team fundraisers and fundraising milestone celebrations. With all of this, the questions lingered with so many of us, ‘How can we continue to provide support to those in need in southwest Minnesota? Would we be able to continue to raise enough funds to support those relying on our programs?’ 

As the year went on, we saw reinforcement of what makes southwest Minnesota so special. So many people stepping up, making donations of all sizes to ensure United Way of Southwest Minnesota stayed vibrant through the COVID-19 pandemic. Programs were evaluated with COVID-19 in mind and support provided where our communities needed them the most including direct support for COVID-19 impact. It is inspiring to see how the communities of southwest Minnesota pull together in good times and bad times to support each other. This is truly a testament to ‘Living United’! 

Thank you to our community partners, donors, volunteers, board members and all supporting the United Way of Southwest Minnesota. Our communities showed great resilience in this time of
crisis. The future is bright!

Melanie Pedersen
US Bank

“ Alone we can do so little;
together we can do so much.
– Helen Keller

Al Castor

Al Castor
Lockwood Motors
Board Member since 2019
Resource Development Chair

Shawna Christianson photo

Shawna Christianson
Board Member since 2021

missing photo

Hayley Fruin
Bremer Bank
Board Member since 2021

Julie Hartle Photograph

Julie Hartle
Schwan's Shared Services, LLC
Board Member since 2019

Brian Jeremiason Photograph

Brian Jeremiason
Lyon-Lincoln Electric Cooperative
Board Member since 2019
Community Impact Chair

Joseph Karanja Photograph

Joseph Karanja
City of Marshall
Board Member since 2017

Krista Kopperud Photograph

Krista Kopperud
Painted Prairie Vineyard
Board Member since 2016

Terry Kriz Photograph

Terry Kriz
Board Member since 2017
Board Chair

See Moua-Leske Photograph

See Moua-Leske
Southwest Adult Basic Education
Board Member since 2020

Rachel Nuese Photograph

Rachel Nuese
Schwan's Shared Services, LLC
Board Member since 2019
Board Vice Chair

Melanie Pedersen Photograph

Melanie Pedersen
U.S. Bank
Board Member since 2016
Board Past Chair

Molly Peterson photo

Molly Peterson
Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging
Board Member since 2021

Curt Schake

Curt Schake
North Star Mutual Insurance Company
Board Member since 2021

Kevin Veldhuisen Photograph

Kevin Veldhuisen
Presbytery of South Dakota
Board Member since 2020

Michelle Warme Photograph

Michelle Warme
Board Member since 2020
Board Treasurer

Hans Zahrbock Photograph

Hans Zahrbock
Western Equipment Finance
Board Member since 2020