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'Speak United' Blog

After the Fair The Steele County Free Fair, which happened last week, is one of the assets that makes our community great.  We prepare for this event for weeks if not months: the anticipation and buzz builds slowly until it arrives.  Then everyone attends and has a great time catching up with friends, enjoying various entertainment and food offerings, and looking at the exhibits.  Then, all of a sudden, it is over.  After that we fall into this...
Friday, August 24, 2018
Local Autonomy; Local Culture for United Ways Last month the Star Tribune published an article about the retirement of Greater Twin Cities United Way (GTCUW) Executive Director, Sarah Caruso, after 9 years of service.  The article also discussed changes in the giving environment and adjustments GTCUW was making to address certain issues.  I took some calls from friends and donors that were concerned about what that meant for United Way of Steele...
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
The Annual Grant Making Process It is widely known that United Way of Steele County provides funds to local human service agencies that further our vision of a sustainable and vibrant community where residents enjoy an enriching quality of life, economic opportunities, and self-sufficiency for all members.  What most people don’t know is the process by which we make our funding decisions.  These funds used to be provided through an “allocation”...
Friday, May 18, 2018
Volunteering in Steele County If you’ve paid attention at all to communications coming out of the United Way office in the last few years you know that a motto of our global organization is “Give. Advocate. Volunteer.”  Locally we’ve done a very good job at providing opportunities for Steele County citizens to give, both to UWSC and to our partner agencies.  Through our public relations we inform you of opportunities to advocate for those in...
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
A Case for Pitching In I am privileged to spend a lot of time with people who care deeply about others and our community.  Hands down it is the best part of my job. UWSC staff and these community members talk a lot about the issues that adversely affect our community, such as generational poverty, racial discrepancies in graduation rates, incidences of depression in our community, barriers to living wage jobs, lack of resilience in young people...
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
“Downtime” at United Way Sometimes people ask me if, now that campaign is over and we hit our goal, if we relax a little or have a little “downtime.”  I do try not to laugh or smirk but for some reason it takes me by surprise every single time.  To be honest, there really isn’t any downtime in our calendar because we just switch from one intensive phase of our work to the next.   Last year I published an exhaustive report about the process we go...
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Broader Participation Needed When you first enter nonprofit work from outside the sector you can undergo a little bit of culture shock.  It may appear to work like a business and we do our best to use business principles in our operations but there are a number of differences.  Perhaps the biggest thing to change is internal perspective.  Before I came to this work I had the luxury to remain a little naïve about the needs of people in our...
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Myth Busting United Way I am deeply thankful to Jeffrey Jackson, editor, and Tom Murray, publisher, for earlier this year giving me the opportunity to write a monthly column which allows me to open a window into the work of United Way of Steele County.  Our work can be complicated and, so far, I’ve done my best to outline what we do and how we do it.  But even though I’ve written thousands of words on our mission and process there are still many...
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

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