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Local people united for good

September 29, 2012
By Ruth Ascher - United Way of SW?Minnesota executive director , Marshall Independent

Local volunteers came together in this area 50 years ago to improve community conditions. By giving, volunteering and lending their voice to the cause, people have made a real difference and are an example of what it means to LIVE UNITED.

Bottom line, thousands of local lives have been touched and a great deal of work has gone into advancing the common good of this area.

Over the past 50 years, local volunteers have made many good decisions such as coming together with other community chest organizations in the area to become a local United Way organization. There are tremendous advantages to that without losing our autonomy-we are still a 100% local organization that is responsible for the good stewardship of all the money that is contributed. We have evolved into an organization that serves a five county area.

United Way of Southwest Minnesota is much more than just raising money it is about coming together. It is Local People UNITED for Good.

For example, in 2005 local volunteers put a stake in the ground to improve early literacy and school readiness with the goal of having young children who are ready to learn to stay in school and ultimately become more successful employees.

If people say that they don't know where donations to United Way of Southwest Minnesota are going, just remind them of over 2,350 young children who are directly touched every month when their Imagination Library book arrives in the mail and their parents sit down to read it to them.

Think about the 800 children who took home school supplies when they attended their Kindergarten Round-ups this past spring at all area schools. Think about the 600 parents and teachers who strengthened their parenting skills at an annual parent education seminar last spring. Think about the 700 students who were able to start school this fall with proper, fresh school supplies.

Each April and May teams of local volunteers review local agency grant applications and make funding recommendations with the goal of being good stewards of each donated dollar and to make sure that there are positive results for local people. This year there are 38 different programs that have received Community Impact grants.

Are these making a difference? Just ask that question to

the 30 young adults with disabilities who learned to 'speak up' for themselves and how to deal with bullying situations.

the 122 people who were able to get help with adjustments on their wheelchairs, prosthetics or other assistive equipment at 10 different local clinics rather than having to drive into the Twin Cities.

the families of 91 patients with life-ending illnesses who were treated with kindness and respect by caring professionals and volunteers.

and think of feeding hungry families who made 6,209 visits to local food shelves,

and much, much more.

We give you a BIG thanks for the tremendous trust you've place in United Way of Southwest Minnesota in the past, and we look forward to all we can accomplish together in the future.



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