United Way waves the pro-union flag

The United Way of Washington County-East is celebrating. The non-profit organization that serves the eastern portion of Washington County is recognizing volunteers for their tireless community service along with the individuals and businesses who contributed financially to the local chapter of the United Way over the last year. The Campaign Celebration and Volunteer Recognition Event is tonight, Thursday, March 27.

“We are pleased to hold this event every year to honor the volunteers and companies that come together to support us,” said Martha Naegeli, the executive director of UWWCE. “It is amazing to see the outpouring of generosity from our community, and it is nice to be able to recognized that.”

A different type of financial goal was in place for the United Way of Washington County-East UWWCE. A campaign board member came up with the idea of a stretch goal campaign, according Naegeli.

The stretch goal spans a five-year period that began with the 2006 campaign. In 2006, the UWWCE raised $1.45 million. The 2007 total is not complete but indications are more than $1.5 million will be raised. Within a five-year period, the UWWCE hopes to raise $2 million or more for its yearly campaign, an amount Naegeli and board members deem necessary to support the organizations of the community.

Naegeli said she is impressed with the support of the community and the totals that have come in during the last two years.

“We have great support from consistent backers of the community,” Naegeli said. “Cub Foods and Acapulco Restaurante will receive Platinum Awards this year. We have had a lot of support through the local unions of the area. They have provided significant support”

The Platinum Award is given to those who raise $10,000 or more for the UWWCE through special events.

Contributions from the local unions are up considerably this year, said Corrine Watson, a staff member at UWWCE. The increase was between 50 and 600 percent over last year’s donations. The St. Croix Education Association, Xcel Energy IBEW Local 23 and the Washington County Employees AFSCME were some of the main union contributors.

“I think the union members feel a strong sense of caring about their neighbors who may not be faring as well in their community,” Watson said.

This is also the first year that Health Partners placed a contribution box on their ballots rather than having only that of the Greater Twin Cities United Way. A large contribution came from Health Partners due to this change on its campaign ballots.

Last year also marked the first year the local United Way campaigned under its new name. The change from St. Croix Area United Way to the United Way of Washington County-East took place last summer.

“This is the first campaign with our new name and it was a success,” Naegeli said. It was just easier to communicate who we are and where we work.

“It really speaks to the fact that people who don’t know there is a separate United Way don’t know to direct their money to us,” Naegeli continued. “When they see on a pledge card that there is a specific United Way for their county, for Washington County, they are going to elect it.”

The United Way of Washington County-East thrives on the contributions of local people, monetarily and in the trenches. Tonight the people who donate time to the UWWCE will also be recognized.

The Clayton Molten Award for the volunteer of the year will be handed out tonight. The award is named after Clayton Molten, who was one of the original founders of the St. Croix chapter of the United Way. This edition of the Stillwater Courier went to press before the Molten Award winner was released.

The numbers of volunteers at the United Way has held steady in recent years. Naegeli said that there is currently a plan being made to create a partnership between UWWCE and the Community Service Center in Stillwater.

“Its intent is going to be to bring new, more short-term volunteer opportunities to the area,” Naegeli said. “It’s to try to make it a more compelling and interesting thing for groups to get involved in. We are excited and putting together details now. We are renewing our focus on volunteerism in the community.”


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Union leaders have betrayed American Union members by supporting amnesty groups and UNI GLOBAL UNION,wake up members they are advocating for our replacements!!

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