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United Way, and its supporters, set out to raise $300,000 this past fall through its annual community campaign, which provides financial support for local health and human-service agencies.

As of Wednesday, the organization has raised $240,278 or 80 percent of the funds needed to meet their goal and maintain its funding to approximately 30 programs each year.
“Thousands of individuals and families served through United Way rely on the annual campaign to support vital community services,” says Luke Francisco, United Way board vice president. “Our community has made tremendous progress in providing quality starts for young children and eliminating barriers for families to be more self-sufficient. We’re proud of the gains that have been made, but we need everyone’s help to ensure we can sustain such gains.”

In an effort to raising the remaining $60,000 and wrap up the campaign by the end of March, United Way is asking its supporters, and people who haven't been involved with United Way before, to help by making a contribution. In addition, if your company has not completed an employee campaign or have not made corporate gift, they urge you to help with this final push. 

“United Way of 1000 Lakes is the one organization in our community that can help the most people at one time,” said Kimberly Brink Smith Executive Director. “You can give to individual agencies and make an impact, but when you give your gifts to United Way, we are helping all segments of the community.”

 “When you are making a gift, whether it’s a dollar per pay-period or $10,000, you’re making a difference,” Brink Smith said. “You can be a difference maker in a lot of different ways, not just by making a financial contribution. You can impact lives by giving your time.”

United Way accepts donations year-round. To make a tax-deductible donation, one-time or recurring gifts, visit and click on the donate button. Checks can also be mailed or dropped off at United Way at 350 NW 1St Ave., Suite A, Grand Rapids. Call 218-999-7570, for information about starting an employee giving program at your company, as well as bill-me options and stock and security gifts.

Fast Facts about the United Way of 1000 Lakes:
  • Giving to United Way and to other nonprofit organizations classified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code may entitle taxpayers who file itemized returns a tax deduction. Consult your tax advisor for more information and assistance.
  • United Way organizations are independently incorporated and led by local volunteers. If you work in another community, but are passionate about the Itasca area, you can direct your gift to United Way of 1000 Lakes. The purpose of the United Way’s campaign drive is to collect resources to benefit local programs serving people who live and work here.
  • United Way of 1000 Lakes raised $300,826 during last year’s campaign. Funding requests from current funded programs for the 2017-2019 funding cycle are nearly 30% more than prior year’s allocations. In addition, new program requests exceed $60,000.
  • The money raised by United Way of 1000 Lakes goes far…but not far away. The money you contribute stays here to help residents in our Itasca County service area. More than 20,000 local people are served each year.
  • United Way of 1000 Lakes’ funding decisions are directed by dedicated individuals who live and work in United Way of 1000 Lakes’ service area. These volunteers serve as the eyes and ears of hundreds of donors. Volunteers participate in a review process to ensure that funds are distributed fairly, objectively, and with great consideration for their best use
  • For a minimal investment of less than one percent of the money we raise, United Way of 1000 Lakes is a member of United Way Worldwide. As a member, we benefit from receiving national advertising, research, access to best practices, advocacy efforts, government relations and continuing education. While a member of United Way Worldwide, United Way of 1000 Lakes is a totally autonomous agency, governed by local volunteers.
  • United Way of 1000 Lakes is well under the standard "Use of Funds" recommendation that charities spend at least 65% of their total annual expenses on their stated programs, and not more than 35% on administration and fundraising combined. During their 2015-16 audit, the United Way of 1000 Lakes was at 8% for fundraising expenses and 11% for administrative expense. A copy of the organization’s 990 can be found at

About United Way of 1000 Lakes
United Way of 1000 Lakes is the leader in mobilizing resources of individuals, companies, government and local organizations, igniting community collaboration for change in support of the building blocks for a good quality life – success in school; financial stability; access to care; and making healthy lifestyle choices. United way invites everyone to join the movement.

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