Greater Mankato Area United Way’s annual campaign is in full swing.

At the start of October, we neared the 30 percent mark on our way to the goal of $2.06 million for 56 programs in Blue Earth, Le Sueur, Nicollet and Waseca counties. That means our region has come together to raise $592,748. We have more than $1.47 million remaining to ensure vital programs receive their needed funding. You can view the full partner agency list at MankatoUnitedWay.org/partner-agencies.

“Every year, we need everyone coming together to make sure these programs continue to keep our region strong and balanced through the pillars of basic needs, health and education,” explained United Way CEO Barb Kaus. “This year more than ever, people using the services of these programs need our help.”

According to Kaus, our region’s support through businesses is key to reaching the funding goal.

“With the majority of our United Way’s annual campaign dollars coming from employee giving through payroll deduction, businesses are the foundation of our campaign,” Kaus said. “This has been a difficult year for many, and still these businesses are rising to the challenge through corporate gifts, rallies and other involvement.”

First National Bank of Waseca is a great example of a business giving back. The bank recently won a United Way campaign award for their continued dedication to improving lives in our region. First National Bank offers a corporate match and provides employees the option to give through payroll deduction.

First National Bank of Waseca CEO and President Bernie Gaytko has been active with United Way for many years. “I’ve always believed giving is so important,” he said.

For Gaytko and others, United Way’s community-led vetting and funding review process is paramount to both leaders and employees who want to know donations are being used wisely. “It’s important to show how the dollars go back into the region,” Gaytko said. “I’ve seen firsthand how United Way funding is determined and how it goes back to the community.”

Gaytko also highlighted how gifts of any amount have an impact. “Giving a dollar per paycheck may not seem significant, but when you have many employees participating, it really adds up to make a difference,” he said.

During the campaign, more than 200 area businesses, schools and organizations hold a United Way rally with their employees. Rallies give United Way staff the opportunity to build awareness of United Way’s work and ask employees to pledge. The rallies also spotlight our partner agencies, who provide a spokesperson to share about their programs and the impact of giving through United Way.

This year, United Way staff has been adapting to the needs of businesses, offering virtual meetings, pre-recorded videos and electronic pledge forms, as well as in-person presentations.

In addition to employee rallies, businesses get involved through volunteering with United Way. Each spring, more than 80 individuals serve on the Community Impact teams that review and vet all agencies applying for funding. Others donate time on committees or call on businesses on behalf of United Way. Businesses also contribute sponsorships and in-kind donations.

To learn more about employee rallies and other opportunities to support the region, please contact United Way at 507-345-4551. 

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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