The 11th annual Power of the Purse fundraiser was held on Thursday, April 26th at the Ramada Inn, Marshall. This exciting event brought together nearly 150 women from throughout southwest Minnesota with a commitment to our youngest learners. All money raised will be used for local United Way of Southwest Minnesota (UWSWMN) initiatives that help effectively prepare young children in our area for school. Featured programs during the event program included: Imagination Library, Wild About Kindergarten School Readiness kits and Student Emergency Fund grants.
Student Emergency Fund Grants:
In the last 10 years, more than $87,000 has been granted to area schools through this effort with $9,495 granted for the 2018-19 school year. Schools are able to use grant dollars to assist students in greatest need at their school(s). In 2017-18, examples of uses included: preschool tuition/fees for homeless kids, un-paid school lunch accounts for a family who lost everything in a house fire, band participation fees for students not able to pay and wheelchair parts for a handicapped student where cost was a barrier. Currently, 40% of children qualify for free/reduced lunch overall in the UWSWMN service area.
Children ages birth-5 receive an age and developmentally appropriate book in the mail each month through this program. In April, 2,681 local children received an Imagination Library book in the mail. To date, 355,478 books have been mailed to local children through the United Way of Southwest Minnesota.
Wild About Kindergarten School Readiness Kits:
These special kits are distributed to children in all 26 schools in the UWSWMN service area at Kindergarten Round-Up. This spring 802 children received bags filled with high quality learning tools. Parents and caregivers work with their children on school readiness skills over the spring and summer in preparation for school in the fall.
The evening was filled with food, fun and philanthropy and included stylish purses, a diverse silent auction, deluxe packages, interactive activities, and the grand finale prize vault. The United Way of Southwest Minnesota would like to thank all of our lovely guests, generous businesses and individuals who made donations for the auction, deluxe packages and the prize vault, the staff at the Ramada, our wonderful event committee, Kicmal Photography and Just Beautiful Creations for sponsoring the centerpieces.
For more information about the work of your local United Way, please visit UnitedWaySWMN.org.
The United Way of Southwest Minnesota (UWSWMN) is an autonomous, local organization working to create lasting changes 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.
Sarah Kicmal, UWSWMN Education & Community Engagement Coordinator, shares program information with Power of the Purse attendees.
Attendees helped demonstrate the contents and packed a Wild About Kindergarten School Readiness Kit to kick off the evening.