col New start for United Way

Evening program will open this year's campaign

Departing from a 75-year tradition of breakfast meetings, the United Way of Olmsted County will open its 2002 campaign at 6 p.m. on Sept. 17 with a communitywide celebration at the Mayo Civic Center Auditorium.

The event is free and open to the public and will feature entertainment, booths staffed by every United Way Agency and reports from United Way campaign leaders and officials. The event will last two hours and will include a program at 7 p.m. The event also will include drawings for various prizes contributed by businesses.

Keri Smith, director of marketing and special events for the agency, said the 7 a.m. breakfast was dropped because students and older people found it difficult to attend at that hour. She said she hopes residents will come to the evening event and bring their families.

The program at 7 p.m. will include introduction of Dave and Kathie Nelson, campaign chairs; Bill Kleis, interim director, and other United Way officials. There will be a report on the 10 pace-setter campaigns now under way and other campaign information. In addition, each United Way agency will have a booth featuring information about its goals and operations.


The goal for 2002 is $4,150,000, an increase of $50,000 over the 2001 goal. The organization has established a policy of seeking to match its fund-raising goals with the needs and the financial outlook for the community.

In the last two years it has also developed a mission that is broader and deeper mission than those of traditional United Way Agencies. It is called the Community Impact Model and it seeks to measure the agency's success in terms of the results it achieves for the community.

In this model, the United Way becomes more than an agency that raises funds once year and distributes it to other agencies. It becomes an active student and evaluator of the community and its problems and it develops strategies to meet new community needs as they arise.

The Olmsted County United Way also excels in another area: It keeps its expenses for fund-raising and expenses to 10 percent of revenue. That is far less than the 30 percent expense level set by the Minnesota Charities Review Council and less than the 13 percent average level for other United Way agencies in communities of this size.

; The agency also allows a great deal of choice to donors. They can choose to direct their contribution to the United Way itself, to an individual nonprofit agency, or to certain special needs in the community.

; The United Way has had a long and successful history in Rochester and we believe its new approach will provide even better service.

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