The heart of our region is truly remarkable. When I talk to leaders of other communities in Minnesota and around the country, they are amazed at our region’s generosity and support as we look out for one another.

At United Way, we see the generosity in our volunteers and donors — from elementary children offering their birthday money to help others, to older adults who want to make sure the community stays strong for future generations.

Recently we were approached by a local donor who wants to empower the next generation of leaders by increasing the impact of their donation.

The donor saw an opportunity to help Greater Mankato Area United Way with our 2022 campaign goal while also growing membership of Emerging Leaders United, our community engagement group for younger givers.

The Emerging Leaders United program is for adults under the age of 40 who pledge a minimum annual gift of $250 or a combined minimum annual gift of $500 with their spouse. Members have the opportunity to expand their philanthropic passions through community involvement, learning and volunteering. Events focus on local donors’ leadership stories, local businesses’ community giving initiatives, volunteerism and more.

For the 2022 campaign, the donor has committed to donating a dollar-for-dollar match up to $10,000 for each new Emerging Leaders United pledge of $250 or more toward the 2022 campaign. Those interested in enrolling in Emerging Leaders United can select the option on their company pledge form or contact United Way at 507-345-4551 or MankatoUW@mankatounitedway.org. Learn more at MankatoUnitedWay.org/Emerging-Leaders-United.

We are currently at 34 percent of our 2022 campaign goal of $2.06 million for 59 programs within 40 agencies. Each year, United Way programs serve more than 51,000 people in Blue Earth, Le Sueur, Nicollet and Waseca counties. All programs that apply for funding are reviewed and vetted annually by more than 80 community volunteers.

Thank you to everyone who attended our most recent regional kickoff event! We launched the campaign in Waseca on September 30 with a bean bag tournament at The Mill. Congratulations to Thrivent for winning the championship trophy.

As always, there are many ways to get involved and make a difference.

Make a Gift: Donate online at 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. No. 190, Mankato, MN 56001.

Hold a Workplace Rally: Employees learn about the impact of United Way’s work and can make a pledge. Contact the United Way office to learn more. We will make any time work and are happy to coordinate everything you need for a virtual or in-person visit.

Engage: Follow our Facebook and Instagram pages for the latest news on initiatives. Don’t forget to visit the Born Learning Trail at Waseca’s Northeast Park and Lake Crystal’s Marston Park for simple early childhood activities to do outside together.

Volunteer: Start by checking out our online volunteer platform, Get Connected, at GetConnected.MankatoUnitedWay.org. We are currently seeking volunteers for the Books for Kids program Nov. 9-10 and the Reading Festival Nov. 13.

Contact Greater Mankato Area United Way to learn more about the current needs and how to get involved as a business or individual.

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

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