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A: In total, we’ll raise about $91 million or $92 million by Dec. 31. About $88 million will be through the community campaign. We also get some federal grants. We ask our agencies to run United Way campaigns and they raise about $1 million. We see ourselves as partners in collective impact and action. We try to put the interest of those with the greatest need in the center. We have strong business-community support. Fifteen companies and their foundations give us more than $1 million annually. General Mills generates $8.8 million. It’s remarkable.
Q: Those big companies generally have grown profits since the Great Recession of 2008-09, but they haven’t grown employment much. That can’t be good for your employee campaign.
A: Fundraising is not getting easier. We have in total over 1,000 campaigns involving small companies, younger donors, new donors. That’s more important every year. We’ve changed our communications strategy to be more “story specific,” so donors can see their own specific interests.
Q: Such as?
A: Such as the story of “Jeanne,” an elderly woman who, through a United Way-funded partner, DARTS, is able to continue living independently in her St. Paul apartment. There’s “Regina,” a single mom who, through the United Way-funded Project for Pride in Living, is studying to become a nurse and support her family in Minneapolis. There’s 8-year-old “Geno’’ who, with his mom, has received help from Perspectives of St. Louis Park, a United Way partner. He’s on track to read at grade level by third grade.
Q: Why should an informed person, who may want to donate directly to charities that fight poverty and advance struggling families, give through the United Way?
A: United Way is uniquely positioned to bring about innovative community solutions through stabilizing families … by providing a safety net in times of crisis and ensuring that people have what they need to meet basic needs. We build pathways out of poverty for children through education improvement and for adults through job training. We combine services that encircle troubled families with the support they need to meet and transcend multiple challenges. And we convene community partners to drive long-term change and ensure a healthy, thriving nonprofit sector.
Neal St. Anthony • 612-673-7144