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Meeting the highest standards

July 28, 2012
By Ruth Ascher - United Way of SW?Minnesota Executive Director , Marshall Independent

United Way of Southwest Minnesota has successfully completed all of the United Way Worldwide membership requirements satisfactorily and on time for 2012.

The membership standards must be certified annually in order for us to remain a member of the United Way system - which brings added value to our local area. It is important for us to maintain a high standard of accountability, and this is part of the process to document that our operations are transparent and meet or exceed United Way membership criteria requirements.

The board of United Way of Southwest Minnesota reviewed and approved the Membership Requirements Certification at one of its board meetings this spring.

The certification mandates completion of 13 requirements for United Way Worldwide membership along with verification of the status of 54 indicators that demonstrate a United Way embodies the intent of the membership requirements.

These requirements include that the organization is recognized as exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code, that all reports and forms are filed on time, that its annual independent financial audit is reviewed by the board, that there is a current code of ethics and operation policies in place, that the organization complies with nonprofit provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley laws and other criteria.

"It is critically important that all United Ways meet the highest standards and verify on paper that they have conformed to the stringent requirements of membership in the United Way system," stated Brian Gallagher, president and CEO, United Way Worldwide in his notification letter. "We applaud and congratulate United Way of Southwest Minnesota for demonstrating their commitment to the mission and ideals of United Way by completing the recertification process."

The United Way of Southwest Minnesota is part of a system of 1,800 local United Ways around the globe. Each local United Way must complete United Way Worldwide's requirements annually in order to retain its United Way membership. The purpose of United Way Worldwide is to provide leadership, training and a wide variety of support services to the local community-based member organizations.

It is important to emphasize that each local United Way organization is autonomous. The purpose of the United Way of Southwest Minnesota is to work to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and western Redwood counties of Minnesota. It is governed by a 24-member local, volunteer board of directors. Professional staff manages the day-to-day operations. Annual dues to United Way of America are slightly less than 1 percent of funds that are raised. The services received back from that membership far outweigh that small cost.

As an integral part of this area, United Way of Southwest Minnesota works in partnership with businesses, schools, nonprofits, government, and individuals to achieve greater impact and to address critical issues.

It works to advance the common good by focusing on education, income and health. There is a targeted emphasis on early childhood literacy and school readiness, hunger and safety and well-being, as well as the importance of volunteerism.

To learn more or to become involved with United Way of Southwest Minnesota or one of its community partners, contact our organization at 507-929-2273 or visit our webpage,



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