Facts about the United Way

United Way of Southwest Minnesota 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. Our mission is to improve lives in Southwest Minnesota by mobilizing the caring power of our communities. United Way of Southwest Minnesota is a separately incorporated non-profit that is governed by its own local 24-member Board of Directors. There are no fund-raising quotas and all resources are under local control and decision-making.

United Way Worldwide (UWW) is the support organization for the nearly 1,800 local United Ways around the globe. UWW’s work is supported by the 1 percent membership fee paid by local United Ways, such as ours. The membership fee we pay to United Way Worldwide is recouped by our local communities many times over in training, services and access to national corporate and employee giving campaigns, such as UPS, Wal-Mart, Shopko, IBM, Microsoft, Duke Energy, etc., etc.

We are proud of our transparency. Our last two audits, 990’s, and annual report are available for review on our website at www.UnitedWaySWMN.org . You can find them under YOUR UNITED WAY then PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY. You will be able to see organizations receiving grant funding, salary information, local fundraising and administrative costs/percentages, etc. Our website also has community one-pagers in which individuals can look up by community or county which programs have received funding in their own backyard. Our full list of board directors and staff are also published. I encourage you to reach out to any of us if you have questions we can answer. In addition, our organization mobilizes thousands of volunteers each year for our organization as well as other worthy programs throughout SW MN.

United Way programming and grant dollars are invested in Education, Income (financial stability), Health, United for Safety & Well-Being and United Against Hunger. Grant applications are reviewed through a community investment process. Volunteers from across the five county service area review grant applications, meet/interview program applicants, complete a matrix form to recommend or not recommend grant funding and at what level. Those recommendations go to our board of directors for final approval. Staff do not have a vote.

This process will take place again in the spring following the commencement of our annual campaign. It is a great way to get involved in your community and learn more about what an impact your investment in your local United Way makes. If you are interested in more information about how you can volunteer for this process please email us at unitedway@unitedwayswmn.org or give us a call at 507-929-2273.

Our annual campaign runs through Jan. 31, 2014. I invite you to make a local investment and support programming, initiatives and resources that benefit our friends and neighbors. Last year grant requests were 35 percent more than dollars available. The need is great.

Let’s grow together across southwest Minnesota. Contributions can be mailed to PO Box 41, Marshall, MN 56258 or made via our website. Payment pledge options are also available.