As we enter 2021, we are more determined than ever to keep our region strong. Every day, your support is improving the lives of individuals and families in our region.

Greater Mankato Area United Way programs are focused on lifting up individuals in multiple areas of need and helping them become self-sufficient on the path to success. Some of these programs support older individuals. “I have had so many health issues that, if not for your services, I don’t know if I would have recovered and received the health services I needed,” said a community member served through Semcac’s Volunteer Driver program.

Other programs support children and youth. “My son now has a bed to sleep in,” said a community member served through YWCA’s New American Families program. Still other programs enhance the lives of people with disabilities, provide emergency services, promote health and much more. “I feel very grateful and humbled by so many people that stepped up for me and my daughters when we needed support,” said a community member served through Committee Against Domestic Abuse (CADA).

Currently our campaign to fund our 56 programs is at 90 percent. In past years, we have been at or approaching 100 percent at this time. Every dollar makes a difference as we strive toward the funding goal of $2.06 million for our nonprofit partners. To donate online, visit MankatoUnitedWay.org/donate. You can also call our office at 507-345-4551 or send a check to Greater Mankato Area United Way, 127 S. 2nd St. #190, Mankato, MN 56001.

The generosity of the region helped us hit our anonymous $35,000 matching gift soon after the New Year. Now the Lowell & Nadine Andreas Foundation has stepped forward to match up to $25,000 in donations from donors who increase their previous donation amount through January 20, 2021.

It is essential that we keep our entire region strong. Often, we see that not only do people need help in multiple areas but they also live, work or receive services in different cities within our four-county area. For example, someone living in Waseca may receive services in Mankato, or someone living in Le Sueur may work in St. Peter. The support of individuals, businesses, in-kind donors and volunteers allows United Way-funded programs to serve over 51,000 people in our region annually.

As we work to reach this year’s funding goal, we are also looking ahead to the review process for next year’s funding. United Way’s annual community-led review process determines the distribution of the following year’s campaign funds and ensures donor dollars are used efficiently.

Nonprofits that offer programming in the areas of basic needs, health and education and serve residents in Blue Earth, Le Sueur, Nicollet and Waseca counties may apply for United Way funding. Agencies receiving funding must apply each year. United Way also seeks volunteers to participate on the review teams. Each spring, more than 80 community impact volunteers review funding applications, interview agencies and recommend the best allocation of the following year’s funds.

For information about applying for funding or volunteering on an impact team, please contact United Way’s community impact director Elizabeth Harstad at ElizabethH@mankatounitedway.org by Feb. 1.

Barb Kaus is CEO of Greater Mankato Area United Way, which covers Le Sueur, Nicollet, Waseca and Blue Earth counties.

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