UW gives fundraising money; Drive comes up short of intended goal
Published 11:03 am Thursday, April 21, 2016
Though they fell $60,048 short of their goal, the United Way of Mower County still raised enough to contribute to 55 organizations in Austin and Mower County.
Executive Director Diane Baker said it was 2 percent more than they raised last year.
“I’m not disappointed with that,” Baker said. “We had some really bright spots to our campaign. It was important that we sent the message that we need to work to raise this money, the need exists and we’re going to continue to do that work.”
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This year, Baker said she didn’t call the money needed a goal, she called it a “community need” to raise $1,225,000. They ultimately came up short of that, raising $1,164,952.
United Way received $1,076,190 in requests was able to invest $960,790 in 55 community programs this year.
“It takes time and effort and the willingness to open and learn,” Baker said. “We have some room, we can grow this, make it better, but we’re off to a really good start.”
The top donations from the campaign included: $128,387 from Quality Pork Processors, $141,767 from Hormel Foods Corp. plant and $315,958 from Hormel Foods corporate office.
Baker said of the four basic areas of aid they provide, basic needs receive the majority of funds, with education behind that and then health and income.
They also have a Board Discretionary Fund, which includes funds set aside to invest in other programs that may not have the means or don’t necessarily fit into the traditional funding process, but they wanted to be able to offer funds in the community in whatever way that came about, Baker said.
Those funds are also in addition to the $960,790 invested into the community programs.
“Our goal is to stabilize our families and that’s where we’re at right now. That’s what our community needs,” Baker said. “It’s not static, it’s going to depend on what programs [are] in our community, what those programs are doing and what those needs are. That is really the beauty of our process.”
Becky Rasmussen of the Parenting Resource Center said the center wouldn’t be able to continue its programs without United Way funding.
“Our Partnering with Parents program is huge, not only for the Parent Resource Center, but for this community,” Rasmussen said. “It offers an umbrella of programs that help parents who are struggling with parenting skills.”
Rasmussen talked about their Parent Warm Line, which is staffed 24/7 and is available in English or Spanish. People can call in and ask for advice on difficult situations at any time, Rasmussen said.
The center also provides parenting education classes and work in the jails teaching people how to become and operate as a moral adult, she added.
“We are so grateful for United Way funding and without that, we couldn’t hang on to the number of things we are doing,” Rasmussen said.
Tina Henely of Sumner Elementary School also spoke and said the money from the Board Discretionary Fund helped them buy a washer and dryer for their school.
“We’re able to take used coats and wash them and give them to kids,” Henely said. “When a kid comes in with soiled clothes or soiled coats or anything like that, we can take it down into that washer and we can have it washed and dried by the time they go to recess.”
Henley said they can also reach out to families who don’t have the means to clean the clothes they have for whatever reason.
“This has been such a huge blessing to our school and it’s really helping us once again meet those basic needs that they [students] can continue to be the best learners they can be and they don’t have to worry about those kinds of things that might be distracting them in their mind,” Henely said.
Baker thanked everyone for attending the party and said she is really pleased with the results this year.
2016-17 grant recipients
American Association of University Women
American Red Cross
Apple Lane Child Care
ARC Mower County
Cedar Branch Development Achievement Center
Cedar Valley Services
Children’s Dental Health Services
Crime Victims Resource Center
Habitat for Humanity
Hormel Historic Home
Ladies Floral Club
Mower Council for Handicapped
Mower County Mentoring
Mower County Seniors Inc.
Parenting Resource Center
Southern Minnesota Legal Services
Twin Valley Boy Scouts
Workforce Development Inc.
Highlights from this year’s campaign
Quality Pork Processors: $128,387
Hormel Processing Plant: $141,767
Hormel Foods: $315,958
Bellisio raised $3,733
Clifton, Larson, Allen: 100 percent
Quality Pork Processors: 96 percent
US Bank: 90 percent