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Letter: By working together, communities take steps to improve lives

To the Editor:

The 2014 Community Investment process at United Way of Goodhue, Wabasha & Pierce Counties is now complete!

Community Investment is the collective process in which funding applications are submitted from area nonprofit programs who are addressing community needs in the goal areas of education, health and basic needs. United Way community volunteers then make funding decisions.

By recently transitioning to a three-year grant process, grantees now have the ability to secure funding further into the future strengthening the financial health of their organization. This also reduces the amount of time and resources that are spent by applicants as well as United Way staff and volunteers on the application and allocation process, thus freeing more dollars to invest where it counts-community impact. Additionally, thanks to the generosity of our donors, United Way had a successful campaign this year and therefore we are excited to report that more funds will be allocated to area nonprofits making a difference in our community.

This year we have 29 volunteers from communities throughout our service area to help determine where United Way funds will be allocated.

Education panel: Greg Evans, Carrie Heimer, Bonnie Lodermeier, Anne Fick, Kristen Grove, Kim Newman, Michael Kincaid, Joyann Johnson, Becky Schilling.

Health panel: Dr. Tom Witt, Scott McNurlin, Lisa Kuehl, Susan Crocker, Colleen Clark, Bert Flynn, Ethan Seaberg, Shelby Mendoza, Polly Valade.

Basic needs panel : Gary Iocco, Arne Skyberg, Linda Flanders, Cyndi Reese, Katie Johnson, Luke Yotter, Kelli Boraas, Liz Rundquist, Janine Foggia, Emma Onawa, Patti Roberstson.

These volunteers spend many hours in training, reviewing grant applications, attending site visits, listening to presentations and deliberating funding considerations with fellow volunteers and ultimately making funding recommendations to the United Way Board.

The Community Investment volunteers are a great balance of people with diverse backgrounds, skillsets, passions, and areas of expertise. They donate their time and energy to help determine how funds should be spent to advance the common good throughout our communities.

Local businesses are also getting involved to thank these volunteers for their hard work by donating funds to provide dinner during long meetings each evening.

This is what it means to live united. Businesses, individuals, donors and volunteers coming together to make a difference is the United Way. Together, we are improving the lives of everyone in our community.

Thank you.

Laura Prink

Diane Maurer

Maureen Nelson

Red Wing

Laura Prink is the community impact manager, Diane Maurer is the donor services coordinator and Maureen Nelson is executive director of the United Way of Goodhue, Wabasha & Pierce Counties.