There is a lot of good in our world, even if some days it feels like you have to look a little harder to find it. Here where we live and work, people are lifting each other up every day. One of the best parts of my job is seeing how much people in our region truly care about each other.

A recipient of one of our United Way’s regional programs recently said, “We are so grateful knowing that we are not alone.” These are our family members, friends and neighbors whose lives are being impacted for the better when we live united.

Our United Way’s 2020 Campaign kicked off in August, giving our region three months to raise $2,060,000 for 55 essential programs serving Blue Earth, Le Sueur, Nicollet and Waseca counties. Hundreds of community and business members attended kickoff events throughout the region, including at The Friendly Confines Cheese Shoppe in Le Sueur, Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Lake Crystal Area Recreation Center, Tug of War in Mankato, and Waseca Public Safety Building.

It will take the efforts of everyone—corporate and individual donors, volunteers and other advocates—to reach this goal and ensure our regional programs receive the dollars they need. Ninety-nine cents of every dollar stays local, and every dollar makes a difference.

As our region grows, so do the needs. Often if someone needs help in one area, they also need help in multiple other areas to get on track and become self-sufficient. For example, a person struggling with food may also need help with healthcare, housing and children’s education. This is why our United Way focuses on basic needs, health and education to keep our region balanced and ensure individuals of all ages are supported in essential areas of need.

Together, we are making a difference. Last year, our United Way programs served more than 50,000 people in our four-county area. A few examples of what your support accomplished: 275,463 meals were provided, 6,426 patients received healthcare services, and 6,678 youth were able to participate in out-of-school activities.

Every nonprofit receiving our United Way’s funding is vetted by community volunteers during our annual review process. Programs provide basic needs and emergency services, support individuals and families, nurture children and youth, enhance the lives of people with disabilities, and promote health and wellness. For a full list of programs, please visit MankatoUnitedWay.org.

As we begin each year’s campaign, we are reminded just how much people in our region care. They ask questions, volunteer, donate and sponsor. They serve on committees and Community Impact teams to make sure donor dollars are being used wisely. They come to us with ideas of how to improve the lives of others. We are grateful for all these partnerships as we work together to build a better tomorrow for generations to come.

According to one regional recipient: “You were there when we didn’t know what to do. I am now hopeful about the future for myself and my family. Thank you.”

Laura Murray is the communications and marketing director for Greater Mankato United Way, which covers Le Sueur, Nicollet, Waseca and Blue Earth counties.

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