An important part of United Way of Southwest Minnesota's work is the annual citizen review of local not-for-profit organizations that seek affiliation and grant funding from United Way. This annual process includes site visits of agencies, review of program goals and results with a recommendation to the United Way Board for funding of grants to provide services for people in this area.
This is an assurance to donors of the annual campaign that each donation is used as wisely as possible, where it does the most good and that it makes a difference for the people of this area. This is an important way for United Way to assure local community impact.
Teams of volunteers are assigned to review a group of agencies providing similar services. Panels are encouraged to visit agencies and to learn as much as possible about the services provided and the results of those services.
Chair of the Community Investment Committee is Angela Lance, Schwan's Shared Services. Assisting as panel chairs are: Theresa Zaske, Schwan's Shared Services; Jeremy Gossen, Bremer Bank; Amie Ascheman, Runchey, Louwagie & Wellman, PLLP; Jane Fox, U.S. Bank; and Deb VanDerostyne, Outland Energy Services.
Community volunteers are: Sarah Ackerman, Western Mental Health Center; Roger Miller, Bank of the West; Travis Bestge, MinnWest Bank; Josh Bonnstetter, Wells Fargo Bank; Michelle Warme, Lisa Pokorny, Cheryl Johnson, The Schwan Food Company; Jean Engels, Patti Welvaert, Amy Page, Brenda Denelsbeck, Joanna Stern and Kirk Grannes, U.S. Bank; Aaron Meester, Sandy Knutson, Tyler Bowen, Bremer Bank; Melinda Schmidt, North Star Mutual Insurance Company; Mark Schnaser, Explore Information Services; Keith Miller, Grill Works, Inc.; Denise Christopherson and Vickie Abel, Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center; Nicholas Johnson, City of Canby; Heather Planting, D & G Excavating, Inc.; Carla Mack, Title & Abstract Services, LLC; Stacy Frost, SMSU Foundation; Roger Evert, Running Supply, Inc.; Matt Weller, Centrol Crop Consulting; Kristi Flaten, Burch Travel, Granite Falls; James Carr, Robert L. Carr Co.; Kari Harding, Southwest Insurance Services of Canby; Jon Rowe, MN Dept of Corrections; Donna Swenson, Dallas Dammen, Denise Schneekloth, Eddy Unoh, Matt Landrus and LaDonne Christians.
There are 41 grant applications under review with grant requests totaling $419,087. All applicant organizations/programs are reviewed with a similar format that allows a critique of the following areas: general agency management and governance, financial management, community need, impact and ability to provide services. For example, volunteers learn how agencies verify the continuing need for a program, how services are provided, how services are coordinated with other agencies, how boards of directors are involved in strategic planning for agencies, what key changes are affecting agencies, are the agencies' accounting procedures sound and much more.
This work takes place during April and May. The final recommendations of the volunteers will be presented to the United Way of Southwest Minnesota Board of Directors at their June board meeting. Grant funding of organizations/programs will begin July 1.
Persons with questions should call the United Way for more information, 507-929-2273.
United Way of Southwest Minnesota is an autonomous, local organization working to create lasting changes in people's lives and the communities in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and western Redwood counties of Minnesota.