Monday, February 27, 2012
United Way rose to the challenge by doing more than just raising and distributing funds. Sure, we did that but that wasn’t all. I can see the positive impact that your United Way has had in alleviating hunger, providing shelter and meeting other basic needs.
United Way‘s Food Resource Center provided incredible support to food pantries, shelters and meal programs. Our primary partner in this effort is the Emergency Foodshelf Network (EFN). Area businesses and organizations also donated food or helped by sponsoring the monthly shipments of low-cost and donated food from EFN. Local Girl Scout troops provided a welcome surprise by donating many boxes of cookies. A Stillwater family rallied the valley to try to set a world record for largest food drive. The effort fell short but the organizers shared the bounty with Wisconsin communities through our Food Resource Center.
Our Success By 6 initiative strengthened families and prepared children to reach their full potential in school. A $10,000 grant from the Bernick’s Family Foundation meant that we could bring the initiative to Polk County in partnership with area hospitals and Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley.
Families had opportunities for an in-hospital visit with an infant specialist, parenting classes and home visits if needed. We also restructured the governance model for the initiative to give each of our counties local representation. Working together, we can provide families with the tools that they need to thrive.
We supported Grace Place, Serenity Home, House of Blessings and Our Neighbor’s Place—-transitional housing shelters with services that help families turn their lives around. United Way is the leaseholder for Grace Place and has had a partnership with the Salvation Army since we spearheaded the remodeling of the former convent at St. Anne Catholic Church in Somerset.
Each year we fund more than 60 agencies in Pierce, St. Croix and Polk counties that meet basic and emergency needs, strengthen children and families and promote health and independence. We also run a satellite campaign at Nexen Group in Webster that funds programs in Northern Wisconsin.
Our mission is to unite communities, focus resources and inspire people to measurably improve lives in Western Wisconsin. We are successful because of you--our donors. We are proud to help you strengthen your communities through one gift to United Way. I am grateful for the trust that each of you place in us.
We appreciate your commitment to LIVE UNITED—-to give, advocate and volunteer. Western Wisconsin is a better place because we are united to make it so.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
United Way St. Croix Valley will be participating in GiveMN.org's second annual Give to the Max Day Nov. 16. Our goal is to raise money to help our 70+ partner agencies’ work in United Way’s focus areas of Meeting Basic and Emergency Needs, Strengthening Children and Families and Promoting Health and Independence. We need support from our community. That’s where you come in!
A single gift to United Way allows you to provide much needed support for local charities.
I have taken on the role of campaign chair this year because I have seen firsthand, as a United Way donor of more than forty years, the effects many people coming together can have in communities.
United Way St. Croix Valley has secured a $10,000 matching grant which will match every new donation or donation increased from last year made on Nov. 16 via our GiveMN.org fundraising pages dollar for dollar.
Please feel free to visit my fundraising page Nov. 16 and donate, or create your own page to help us fundraise.
I would like to thank our donors for your ongoing support and invite everyone else to join our team in making the St. Croix Valley a better place to Live United.
2010 Campaign Chair
Friday, October 16, 2009
For this blog we welcome a guest blogger, Student United Way of UW-River Falls President Candy Sunderland, who is sharing her experience attending this year's Student United Way Leadership Retreat in St. Louis. Thank you to Candy for taking the time to write this blog!
On Friday, September 25th, I was able to attend the Student United Way Leadership Retreat thanks to the generous contribution of United Way St. Croix Valley. I met with about 35 other students from across the nation to collaborate ways to improve Student United Way and their relationship with local United Ways.
We began with lots of ice breakers and name games, which helped to loosen us up and acquaint us with one another. We got to be goofy before getting down to business! Mike Brooks of United Way Worldwide led us into discussion, and we broke up into different classes throughout the weekend to focus on team culture, volunteering and ideas, marketing and publicity, fundraising, and other topics important for the success of Student United Ways.
Throughout the weekend, we formed amazing and helpful relationships, provided and obtained feedback and ideas, and were immersed in synergy. The lines between faculty and students became blurred, and all that remained was a group of leaders with one common goal: to LIVE UNITED.
Attending the Retreat equipped me with many tools I am excited to bring back to my local community in hopes of creating a snowball effect for both Student United Way and United Way. I wish to work together with our amazing team at United Way St. Croix Valley to promote education, income, and health for our community and our world, and am confident in the knowledge that every volunteer hour makes a difference!
Special thanks to Mike Brooks, United Way of Greater St. Louis, and especially United Way St. Croix Valley for this wonderfully educating and uplifting experience!!
Friday, June 5, 2009
For this blog we welcome a guest blogger, United Way St. Croix Valley Board President Tonya Lathe, who is sharing her thoughts on our recent hunger and housing summit event. Thank you to Tonya for taking the time to write this blog!
After attending “Transforming Communities: A Summit on Hunger and Housing in Western Wisconsin,” I realized just how important and beneficial it was to attend. I thought I was somewhat aware of what was going on and learned I wasn't. At one point I thought how wonderful it would be if these could be held more often and maybe in the evenings. In order to "rally the troops" to help the situation, you have to first make people aware and get them on board. I genuinely think that the majority of people out there are good people who want to help in some way; they just need to be made aware of the needs of their community.
Listening to key note speaker Dr. Julie Keown-Bomar I learned the magnitude of the problem we have. I was shocked to learn that 75% of people on assistance are actually employed. I also agreed with her comments 100% that in order to get these people out of poverty, they need an education. They can't survive on $10 per hour. I loved her quote she shared by Hubert Humphrey: "You don't have to save the world. Just save your hometown. It will all add up." This is something that I need to remember myself because I want to help everyone all at once and that is not possible, so it becomes easy to get overwhelmed and not accomplish much of anything.
In the break out session it was great to learn about Second Harvest Heartland’s Food Rescue Program. Hopefully it will continue to grow and help meet the needs of those in need, especially when the food was just going to be thrown away anyway!
In the Action Planning discussion there was a great deal of talk pertaining to how we get information on the programs available to the people. It does not seem like there is one central place that can lead people to the proper resources they need. It was suggested to start with a small community and try to develop a web site for people who need help with something as well as for those who are willing to help. For example, a single mom may need her leaky sink or toilet fixed and there may be someone with the skills to do this willing to volunteer their time. I think there are people out there willing to help, and maybe financially they are unable to donate but they have skills and time they are willing to donate. The fixing of the leaky toilet or sink would also save money on a water bill in the long run for the individual.
It would be nice to see society go back to a friend helping friend or neighbor helping neighbor philosophy, and I think this Summit was a great step in that direction. I am optimistic that we can work together to make the ideas discussed into reality for the citizens of Pierce and St. Croix Counties.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
United Way has been at the center of social change for more than a century. United Way St. Croix Valley’s LIVE UNITED campaign is about the power of unity – people coming together to improve their communities. We hope that it will be a constant reminder that when we as individuals think outside ourselves, we can transform lives. We build the strength of our neighborhoods. We bolster the health of our society. And we change the lives of those who walk by us every day.
We all win when a child is mentored and succeeds in school. We all win when the basic needs of our communities are met. We all win when families are financially stable. We all win when people are healthy and senior citizens and those with special needs receive the support to live independently.
United Way St. Croix Valley is leading three initiatives designed to help our communities win. Food is arguably the most basic need for families and individuals in our communities. United Way’s Food Resource Center distributes large quantities of donated boxed, canned and fresh food to local food pantries, the homeless and domestic abuse shelters and other supplemental food programs. United Way continues its leadership support for transitional housing by supporting Grace Place. Residents receive counseling and support as they transition to permanent housing. Our community partnership, Success By 6, is working to ensure that all children in our region get the same high quality start in life. We are providing resources to help parents prepare their children for school success.
Join us. United, we elevate. United, we preserve. United, we accomplish more than anyone can do alone. Together, united, we can inspire hope and create opportunities for a better tomorrow. Living united means being part of the change.