How Do We Work to Improve the Lives of Local People?

At United Way of Southwest Minnesota our mission is to unite people and resources to improve lives and strengthen communities in southwest Minnesota. To view our service area, click here.

We raise funds throughout the year in order to have the resources necessary to invest in programs that help local people and communities thrive.  Investing in local programs focusing on our five priority areas is at the heart of everything we do.  Those priority areas are health, education, financial stability, hunger and safety & well-being.  We believe these are the building blocks for a quality life.  While many other things are important, these are fundamental.  To see a list of programs we are currently investing in, click here.  For details on our grant opportunities, including eligibility requirements, click here.


Our Annual Campaign

Each year, we run a fundraising campaign, collecting donations from individuals, businesses, work groups, service organizations, events, etc.  Learn more at UnitedWaySWMN.org/Campaign.

Community Investment Process

Throughout the year, funds raised are invested in local programs serving local people.  Applications for program funding are reviewed by community volunteers to assess impact and be certain that your donation is invested well!  Learn more at UnitedWaySWMN.org/CIG

Your Impact

The impact of your investment is seen throughout our service area, including increased access to:

  • Food and/or nutritious meals.
  • Services that provide a safe environment.
  • Tools needed to assure children enter school developmentally on track.
  • Increase financial literacy skills.
  • Programs that improve physical, emotional and mental fitness.

Learn more at UnitedWaySWMN.org/CI

HEALTH:  Increase healthy behaviors and wellness.

  • Achieve a healthier start to life
  • Increase community conditions that support healthy behaviors
  • Promote healthy eating and physical activity
  • Provide and increase access to programs that improve physical, emotional and mental fitness.

EDUCATION:  Improve life-long learning and development.

  • Assure children enter kindergarten developmentally on track in literacy skills, as well as social, emotional and cognitive skills.
  • Prepare elementary-aged students to succeed in later grades and to graduate high school.
  • Assist learners in exploring areas of interest and preparing for post-secondary education and/or a career.

FINANCIAL STABILITY:  Improve financial stability and independence.

  • Increase financial literacy skills for youth and adults.
  • Help individuals and families move toward financial stability.
  • Increase access to education, employment and/or job training.
  • Assure community members have resources to overcome disasters and emotional or financial crises.

HUNGER:  Increase food access, nutritional awareness and outreach.

  • Connect people to food support efforts/programs/opportunities.
  • Increase access to food and/or nutritious meals for people in need.
  • Increase nutritional awareness, food budgeting/stretching and/or basic cooking skills.

SAFETY & WELL-BEING:  Increase access to services focused on safety and well-being.

  • Increase suicide prevention, support, outreach and/or awareness.
  • Increase access to services that provide a safe environment free from sexual assault, domestic violence, abuse, bullying and/or crime.
  • Provide engagement opportunities for community involvement, service, mentoring and/or youth development.
  • Strengthen efforts to create equitable opportunities; increase awareness and engagement in outreach services/programs.