United Way campaign strengthened by consultant

Morrison County Chaplaincy, a Morrison County United Way-funded agency, provides ministry to law enforcement personnel, their families and the people they serve. Pictured are (from left): Sergeant Jeremy Luberts working with Chief Deputy Tom Ploof and Chaplain Gregg Valentine. “The work Gregg does is so valuable to the community and our organization; I am pleased Morrison County United Way can assist him in the important service he provides,” said Deb Gruber, Morrison County administrator.

Morrison County non-profits keep money raised here

By Jennie ZeitlerStaff Writer



It’s time for United Way’s annual fundraising campaign, and area groups are finding ways to make it fun for donors.

“Some businesses have incentives such as a ‘highest giver’ reserved parking spot,” said Campaign Consultant Carl Newbanks..

Newbanks was hired by the St. Cloud office of the United Way to manage the annual campaign in Morrison County.

“Morrison County United Way is partnering with Central Minnesota United Way in St. Cloud,” Newbanks said, “to have more resources at our disposal.”

“Earlier this year, the local United Way Board was looking at options for assistance with running the local office,” said Board Treasurer Deb Gruber. “It was important to find a solution that would keep decisions and dollars local with minimal costs, so we could continue to allocate as much money as possible to our local Morrison County agencies.”

Newbanks pointed out that all funds raised in Morrison County stay local. All decisions are made by a local Board of Directors.  The current members of the Board include: Greg Zylka, Gina Vetter, Jammi Strunk, Patty Hammerbeck, Deb Gruber, Brad Vold, George Weber, Tim Montros, Pat Watercott, Connie Hoheisel and Bill Garber.

“We are making sure that our non-profits  have funding, and that they are connected with the people they are trying to serve,” said Newbanks. “Nearly 100 percent of their annual funding comes from the campaign.”

Service organizations, 65 businesses, area school districts, non-profit organizations and partner programs donate each year.

“Although United Way receives corporate donations, most of the donations through businesses come from the employees,” Newbanks said.

“The Morrison County Government Center has approximately 300 employees participating,” he said. “It’s nice when employers make it fun for employees, finding creative ways to raise awareness and get people involved.”

United Way of Morrison County partners with 16 non-profit agencies: Caritas Family Services, Employment Enterprises Inc., Rising Star Therapeutic Equitation, Big Brothers Big Sisters Central Minnesota, Boys and Girls Club of Morrison County, Child Protection Team, Habitat for Humanity, Hands of Hope Resource Center, Kinship of Morrison County, Oasis Central Minnesota Inc., the Foster Grandparent Program, Lutheran Social Services Senior Nutrition, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Royalton Community Center, Swanville Senior Center and Morrison County Chaplaincy.

United Way supports early childhood literacy through “Imagination Library,” which provides books to young children.

Residents can also get a free prescription discount card through United Way. There are no requirements to qualify — the cards can simply be picked up at the office.

Newbanks has found everybody to be very friendly in Morrison County. “It’s very easy to drop in somewhere. People stop in here and chat. I enjoy the culture and the more relaxed atmosphere,” he said.

“I like communities this size,” Newbanks said. “It feels very real here, and you can tell that you’re making a difference.”

It’s not too late to give to the campaign, which wraps up Dec. 31. For more information, call (320) 632-5102.