Woodson Kindergarten Center sent us this astounding video to let us see first hand the outcome of funding from the United Way earlier this year. At United Way of Mower County we believe that children are our future and the best way to guarantee a bright future is by investing in education. We are proud to have been a part of something so amazing! Congratulations to the Woodson Kindergarten Center on your new “Play Centers” and thank you for letting us be a part of it! Great things happen when we Live United!
Great things happen when we LIVE UNITED is what you’ll be hearing over and over again from the United Way of Mower County this campaign season. And United Way is asking for great things from you, determining that the goal for their annual campaign will be $1.225 million for this campaign cycle – a number that directly reflects the community need.
Consider for a moment that in 2000, Mower County was ranked 38th out of the 87 Minnesota counties in terms of individuals living below the poverty level. By 2012, that percentage had increased and Mower County dropped to 72nd out of 87. The number of individuals living below the poverty level continues to increase… currently, hovering at about 16% county-wide. Paul Kuehneman, United Way Board of Directors Chair, says of the growing need that “many talented agencies are doing excellent work to assist Mower County residents in meeting their various needs. I’ve been involved with this United Way for over ten years and the demand on those organizations services has only increased. We, as the United Way Board, are constantly looking for additional ways to serve our county within our four impact areas – Education, Income, Health, and Basic Needs.”
While the need continues to increase, Diane Baker, Executive Director of the United Way of Mower County, stresses that “every dollar donated makes a difference. Every dollar donated changes a life.” A successful campaign helps the United Way ensure that families don’t have to worry about where their next meal will come from or about sending their children to school in the winter without a coat. A successful campaign ensures United Way’s continued, life-changing work and successes in the areas of Education, Income, Health, and Basic Needs.
And to ensure a successful campaign consider donating $2.50 per week – an amount that provides nutritious, easy to prepare meals over the weekend for one hungry child in Mower County for an entire school year. Donating $10 every week provides job training and employment support for 2 adults in Mower County. United Way’s campaign season runs from September to March and funds raised will continue to change lives in Mower County. Please give and help us do great things in Mower County. To donate, visit the “Take Action” section of our website, www.uwmower.org, or send cash or check to P.O. Box 605, Austin, MN 55912.
We would like to thank all of our volunteers, SMART, Parenting Resource Center, and the Community Learning Center for assisting United Way of Mower County with the 2015 Rainbow Route Open House. It was wonderful to see this year’s Preschool Students’ excited faces as they prepared for their first year of school! Yesterday was a great example of the great things that happen when we live United. If you have a student who was approved for Rainbow Route but were unable to attend yesterday’s Open House please contact our office or SMART for pick-up and drop off times.
Day of Caring is a community wide event where teams work together to complete projects for homeowners and organizations who are not able to complete the projects themselves. Most of our projects help senior citizens in our community remain independent and living in their own homes. Projects last from 2-4 hours. We start the day with a kick off breakfast at AHS Cafeteria and head out from there. Most projects happen rain or shine and it’s a great day for all.
Board Member – Commitment to attend 6 meetings throughout the fiscal year (Wednesday evenings from 4:00pm – 6:00pm), participate in the community investment process, assist with one of the United Way of Mower County initiatives. Minimum 20 – 25 hour commitment.
Community Investment Volunteer – Review grant applications for one of the United Way’s impact areas, participate in presentation of agencies to determine funding decisions, opportunity to learn in greater detail about programs that support our community and work to have a positive impacts in the lives of others. Minimum 6 – 8 hour commitment, generally in February & March.
Twenty-eight Minnesota Girl Scouts just returned from the 13th Historically Black Colleges and Universities GIRL Tour put on by Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys. The high school girls are all enrolled in ConnectZ — an education program funded by United Way of Mower County for low-income Girl Scouts from diverse backgrounds. Curriculum is delivered through troop meetings and girls also have the opportunity to participate in “beyond-the-troop” events like this college tour. The application process for girls to participate mirrored the college application process as they were required to participate in several meetings beforehand to prepare them. In addition, they visited the International Civil Rights Museum, a historic plantation, and a campus step show while on the trip. Three girls from Austin High School attended the tour. Below, enjoy the commemorative video that was created by several of the tour participants.
United Way of Mower County announced to a room full of stakeholders Wednesday that its 2014 Campaign brought in $1,145,920.00. The announcement came at the organization’s annual Victory Party held at the Hormel Historic Home.
“We did it,” said Diane Baker, United Way of Mower County’s Executive Director, of exceeding the organization’s $1.1 million goal. “How? One donor a time, one dollar at a time.”
The program highlighted outstanding corporate campaigns as well as campaigns with significant growth. Hormel Foods Corporate Office held its spot as the largest campaign donating $280,010. Mayo Clinic Health Systems, Austin saw the largest increase in donations while Austin City employees saw the largest increase in number of campaign participants. Mower County employees, McFarland Truck Lines, Inc., Grand Meadow Schools, Davis, Thoen, Kramer & Associates, as well as Hormel Foods Plant employees all received nods for double digit campaign growth.
The United Way will invest $947,006 of the funds raised back into the community – a $127,000 increase from last year.
Baker took her opportunity at the podium to thank everyone who participated in either a corporate or residential campaign. “We could not have achieved this spectacular result without you. Your contribution allows us to further our efforts in making Mower County a better community for us all.”
United Way of Mower County meets needs in the areas of education, income, health and basic needs by funding 57 vital community programs.
At registration be sure to ask your preschool provider about Rainbow Route transportation – a service that provides rides to and from preschool to any Austin area child. You can also find more information about the Rainbow Route by clicking here.