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Donors Make the Difference at United Way

As the year winds down and 2019 draws to a close, United Way of Steele County (UWSC) would like to thank our dedicated donors and volunteers. It is the residents and community partners who have helped make this another incredible year. UWSC reached 14,450 people over this past year which means that 1 in 3 Steele County residents received assistance from one of UWSC’s 27 funded partner programs.

Our community partner programs such as the Exchange Club Center for Family Unity serve vulnerable populations like the working poor, which increasingly, are most at risk. “Families have to make some difficult decisions,” Executive Director, Annette Duncan, said, “it can be tough to find affordable housing and day-care options.” The US Bureau of Labor Statistics defines the working poor as people who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force but whose incomes still fall below the official poverty level.

The Center for Family Unity strives to provide dependable and efficient support-based home mentoring so parents can be successful. “United Way of Steele County collaborates with local agencies to provide sustainable solutions. People do not always realize that level of collaboration. The ultimate goal is to create community-based solutions that combat obstacles facing our community, here in Steele County,” Duncan said.

The UWSC is nearing the end of the annual fundraising campaign, which, to date, has secured 86% of the $800,000 goal this year. Donors’ support enables the United Way to provide financial assistance to organizations like the Exchange Club Center for Family Unity and other local, results-based human service organizations. One of the most substantial obstacles meeting the goal, however, is the misconception that small donations do not matter. Experts have found, however, that the exact opposite may be the case. In cases of humanitarian aid, steady flows of small gifts become the lifeblood of campaigns to repair communities.

Here, people living in our community are at the heart of everything we do. United Way of Steele County donors and volunteers are not alone in their efforts. Recently, the United Way was named “America’s Top Charity” by the Chronicle of Philanthropy and as #1 in public support on “The Nonprofit Times’ NPT 2019 Top 100” list. Together, we will continue to fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in Steele County.

It’s not too late to contribute to the United Way of Steele County’s annual fundraising campaign. As of this writing, we have raised a little over $690,000, which leaves us $110,000 short of the amount required to fund 27 vitally needed community organization. While we are encouraged by our early success, we know that there is still work to be done to cross the finish line. The holiday season can certainly be a hectic time of year. If you have not had a chance to make a gift, please consider joining the hundreds of community members who already have. To help the United Way of Steele County achieve the annual fundraising campaign goal, please mail checks or pledges to United Way of Steele County, 1850 Austin Road, Ste. 103, Owatonna, MN 55060. Give online at, or by texting UWSC to 40403.

Tom Worhach is Fundraising and Community Impact Coordinator for United Way of Steele County. He can be reached at 507-455-1180 or via email by Our website is