News Archives

2017 News

2016 News

Community Impact Grants Announced

2016 Campaign Community ImpactThe United Way St. Croix Valley Board of Directors recently approved the distribution of funds raised through the 2016-2017 annual fundraising campaign in Pierce, Polk and St. Croix Counties, as well as the Northern Wisconsin campaign. “We are very grateful to the area businesses and individuals who generously support the United Way St. Croix Valley campaign,” said Executive Director Ann Searles. “By ‘Living United’, we invite all community stakeholders to the table--business leaders, civic leaders, school leaders, agencies. Together, we identify community needs and respond with the distribution of funding to local nonprofit agencies to work towards building stronger communities and a better quality of life for everyone in the St. Croix Valley,” she continued.

In addition to providing funds to nonprofit agencies, United Way continues to focus on its three core initiatives: United Way’s John Coughlin Food & Resource Center, Success By 6 and Shelter for All. United Way St. Croix Valley Board President Ann Schilling said, “United Way is unique because we look at the needs in our local communities and craft solutions that address those needs and bring long-term change.”

United Way St. Croix Valley awarded $582,253 in grants to support more than 45 nonprofit agency programs and services. United Way allocated the funds to create lasting impact in the categories of: Meeting Basic and Emergency Needs, Strengthening Children and Families and Promoting Health and Independence. An additional $26,618 will go to specific agencies designated by the donors. The total funds distributed will be $608,871. United Way’s overall benefit to the community this year will be over $691,161 when food supplied by the John Coughlin Food & Resource Center is taken into account. The Center has distributed approximately 1,032,095 pounds of food since opening in 2008. The food is distributed to 13 area food pantries, a homeless shelter and a domestic abuse shelter in Pierce and St. Croix Counties.

Agencies meeting Basic and Emergency Needs will receive $131,500. Programs for Children and Families, including school programs, will receive the largest distribution totaling $172,022. United Way returns 50% of the funds donated by school district employees to the district for programs assisting students. Participating districts received $9,272 in grants this year. Support for programs that improve Health and Independence will total $102,700. Agencies in Burnett and Washburn Counties will receive $36,331 in grants and $9,762 in donor designations from funds contributed by area residents, businesses and the owner and employees of Nexen Group in Webster. United Way St. Croix Valley will continue to raise funds until it is time to begin the fall appeal.

View the full breakdown of the distribution.

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United Way Receives Patriot Award

This week, United Way St. Croix Valley’s Executive Director, Ann Searles, was awarded a Patriot Award for “contributing to national security and protecting liberty and freedom by supporting employee participation in America’s national guard and reserve force.”

The Patriot Award is given by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) to recognize employers that go “above and beyond” in support of reserve members and their spouses. Ann was nominated for the award based on the organization’s strong support of a UWSCV staff member whose husband is currently deployed to the Middle East. We are proud to support those that are serving our country, as well as their families.

Patriot Award presentation

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United Way Hiring Community Impact Coordinator

United Way St. Croix Valley is hiring a part-time Community Impact Coordinator to support Success By 6, Family Friendly Workplace, the John Coughlin Food & Resource Center and volunteer training/events. For details and how to apply click here.

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Kiwanis of Greater Hudson Donates Children's Books to United Way

Thank you to the Kiwanis of Greater Hudson for donating more than 500 used early childhood-age books to the John Coughlin Food & Resource Center. The books will be distributed to our supported pantries and shelters in July. We are thankful for their support of summer reading and Success By 6 in the St. Croix Valley, and we look forward to continuing this partnership.

Kiwanis with Ann Searles

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2016 Annual Report Now Available

United Way St. Croix Valley's 2016 Annual Report is now available for viewing online. Please visit our Annual Report page to download the report. Adobe Reader is required.

2016 Annual Report cover

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Xcel Energy Continues Strong Support of United Way

Xcel Energy recently presented a donation of $62,662 to United Way St. Croix Valley Executive Director Ann Searles. Also present were representatives from United Way partner agency Operation HELP.

Xcel Energy is a key partner in United Way’s efforts to build stronger communities, and every dollar contributed by employees and retirees is matched by Xcel Energy. In addition to the fall campaign, Xcel Energy is also a strong supporter of United Way’s John Coughlin Food & Resource Center, frequently volunteering and sponsoring monthly food shipments.

Read the full press release.

Xcel Energy check presentation

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The Purple Tree Feminine Product Drive to Benefit United Way

The Purple Tree is holding a feminine product drive May 12-14, benefiting United Way St. Croix Valley's John Coughlin Food & Resource Center. Products may be dropped off at the store during regular store hours. We are so thankful for the support.

The Purple Tree flyer

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United Way St. Croix Valley Launches New Program to Fight Hunger in Polk County

Click here to donate!United Way St. Croix Valley is launching a new program to fight hunger in Polk county, said Ann Searles, Executive Director. Through this new program, the organization will work directly with small farmers to obtain locally grown food to distribute to local food pantries.

“We are thrilled to announce this new program focused on fighting hunger right here in Polk county,” said Searles. “One of the first things I began hearing when I started my position at United Way St. Croix Valley was that there is a real issue of hunger in Polk county. We heard that message coming directly from the community, and we have been working with some great new partners to create a response to the need.”

United Way St. Croix Valley will partner with the Farm Table Foundation, located in Amery, to distribute fresh produce and other nutritious food out of the existing warehouse location for the Hungry Turtle Farmers Co-op. During the growing season, they will purchase fresh produce from local farms, and will also receive deliveries from The Food Group, a nonprofit food bank located in Minnesota, to help supplement the food year-round. Beginning in June, they plan to distribute milk, meat, and other healthy food to the seven food pantries and homeless shelter serving Polk county.

Another key part of the program will include cooking classes that will help people learn how to prepare and cook meals with fresh, local produce. Food pantry staff and volunteers told Searles that clients sometimes don’t know how to cook with the fresh produce that is offered at the pantry. Working with Farm Table Foundation, United Way St. Croix Valley will sponsor classes for food pantry volunteers and staff so they can learn recipes and preparation tips that will help them distribute more of these healthy foods. “When a pantry volunteer can offer a great recipe and can talk about how easy it is to prepare, the clients are going to be more likely to try the new item,” said Searles. And families who are using the food pantry will be encouraged to take the classes. “We would love to bring everyone together in the Farm Table space in Amery, where children and families can see how the food comes right from the farm, and learn how to cook it and make nutritious meals.”

Click here to donate.

Read the full press release.

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Local Senior Residents Receive Valentine's Fruit Baskets

fruitcollage.png

A total of 105 seniors in Polk County, 120 seniors in St. Croix County and 65 seniors in Pierce County received fruit baskets this year for Valentine's Day, courtesy of United Way St. Croix Valley in memory of former Board member Susan Obermueller by her family and friends.

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New Name, New Initiatives For United Way Food Center

Meredith BergUnited Way St. Croix Valley has announced new initiatives and a new name for its Food Resource Center. A celebration was held Jan. 26 at the center, where the new name, The John Coughlin Food & Resource Center, was unveiled along with a new logo.

The center is named after the late John Coughlin, who served as Executive Director of United Way St. Croix Valley for more than 20 years and first opened the center in 2008. The JCFRC has distributed nearly 1.1 million pounds of food and personal care items to 13 food pantries, a homeless shelter and a domestic abuse shelter in Pierce and St. Croix Counties since opening, and there are plans for new initiatives.

Two of the new initiatives include a partnership with Healthier Together - Pierce and St. Croix Counties and a backpack program. So far, the backpack program has provided more than 400 backpacks filled with healthy food for children in Pierce and St. Croix Counties to take home on the weekends. United Way’s Food & Resource Center Coordinator Michelle Alters has joined the Healthier Together Overweight/Obesity Action Team, where she will work with representatives from health care, public health, education and other fields to reduce obesity in the two counties.

“I am excited to see all the great work being done in our community and the new direction that the JCFRC is going,” said Alters. “There is lots of exciting work to be done in 2017 to ensure that we are getting healthy food into the hands of those in need,” she continued.

The JCFRC also presented its first annual Les Berg Volunteer Award during the renaming event, which was awarded to Meredith Berg. The Bergs worked with Coughlin in the initial planning and fundraising stages of the center and helped launch the We Do Feet program that shares the building with the JCFRC.

United Way St. Croix Valley serves residents of Polk, Pierce and St. Croix counties. The annual campaign provides funding for more than 60 nonprofit agency programs and United Way initiatives including the John Coughlin Food & Resource Center and Family Friendly Workplace. The mission of United Way St. Croix Valley is to unite communities, focus resources and inspire people to measurably improve lives in Western Wisconsin. For more information, contact Ann Searles at 715-377-0203 ext. 102 or ann@unitedwaystcroix.org.

Pictured: Recipient of the first annual Les Berg Volunteer Award Meredith Berg

View more photos.

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First Annual Family Friendly River Run/Walk Helps Hudson Police

Check presentation

United Way St. Croix Valley Executive Director Ann Searles and Hudson YMCA Executive Director Chris Kost presented Hudson Police Chief Marty Jensen and the Hudson Police Department with a $500 check from the proceeds of last fall’s Family Friendly River Run/Walk, to be used for purchasing an additional Automated External Defibrillator (AED) for the department’s squad cars.

This year’s 5K will be held Saturday, Oct. 14 and will once again be a family-friendly event. Family members of all ages as well as pets will be able to participate in the fundraiser for United Way St. Croix Valley and Hudson YMCA. For more information, or if you are interested in sponsoring this year’s event, contact Searles at 715-377-0203 ext. 102 or Kost at 715-386-1616.

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Bowls for Hope to Benefit United Way Food Initiative

The Bowls for Hope event to be held Tuesday, March 7 by the University of Wisconsin-River Falls has chosen The Hunger Prevention Council's Moolah for Milk program as beneficiary this year. United Way St. Croix Valley's John Coughlin Food & Resource Center is part of the program, and will use funds raised to purchase milk for St. Croix and Pierce County food pantries.

Click here for the flyer with details. You may purchase tickets online through our website.

Bowls for Hope flyer

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Searles Attends United Way New Presidents Forum

Ann Searles

United Way St. Croix Valley Executive Director Ann Searles attended the United Way New Presidents Forum January 10-12 at United Way Worldwide in Alexandria, Va. The forum is an annual event organized for all new United Way executives and designed to welcome and engage new United Way CEOs and Executive Directors in United Way's priorities, as well as provide an overview on strategic direction.

Searles spent time meeting United Way Worldwide leaders, learning from prominent network leaders and sharing best practices. There was also a half day trip to Capitol Hill, where Searles was able to speak with representatives from Congressmen Ron Johnson and Sean Duffy's offices and discuss local issues affecting the St. Croix Valley.

"I learned that the United Way St. Croix Valley utilizes a business model that has been proven to have the greatest impact on communities throughout the world," said Searles. "It is a model that is committed to creating health, education and financial stability by supporting over 60 local community impact partners who are helping those in need, as well as providing programs like the John Coughlin Food & Resource Center and the Family Friendly Workplace--building a stronger community and a better place for all."

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Francis Named United Way Development and Communications Director

JessicaUnited Way St. Croix Valley is pleased to announce that Jessica Francis has joined the staff as Development and Communications Director. “With Jessica’s background in fundraising and knowledge of the St. Croix Valley, we feel she’ll be able to hit the ground running to help us build a stronger community,” said Ann Searles, Executive Director of United Way St. Croix Valley.

Francis grew up in New Richmond and currently lives in Somerset. She started her nonprofit career at Greater Twin Cities United Way, and served as the Associate Director of Hunger Solutions Minnesota, a statewide hunger relief organization, for more than a decade. She is also an active volunteer locally, having served as the Board President of the Somerset Community Food Pantry, as well as the Board Secretary for United Way St. Croix Valley.

Francis says her passion for helping those in need started when she was a student at New Richmond High School. While discussing the school’s upcoming food drive, a friend confided that her family had used the food shelf when they were getting back on their feet after a crisis. “That was my ‘aha’ moment - when I realized that in small communities, hunger is all around us, but is hidden because of its stigma.” Francis said she’s happy to have found a position that allows her to support families and individuals right here in her local community.

“I have been thrilled to see the great work that Ann Searles, our Executive Director, has been doing since she was hired in April,” said Francis. “I am so pleased to be able to join the staff and help United Way St. Croix Valley improve lives. There’s a lot of work to do, but we have many generous businesses and individuals who are willing to pitch in and make a difference.”

Francis will play a key role in United Way St. Croix Valley’s workplace giving campaign, and will also seek new avenues of funding to support the community’s growing needs. To contact Francis, call 715-377-0203 ext. 101 or email jessica@unitedwaystcroix.org.

United Way St. Croix Valley serves residents of Polk, Pierce and St. Croix counties. The annual campaign provides funding for more than 60 nonprofit agency programs and United Way initiatives. The mission of United Way St. Croix Valley is to unite communities, focus resources and inspire people to measurably improve lives in Western Wisconsin.

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DiaSorin Inc. Community Giving Campaign Supports United Way

DiaSorin Inc. check presentation

DiaSorin Inc. in Stillwater recently completed its community giving campaign and donated half of the proceeds, $7,696.00, to United Way St. Croix Valley. The other half was donated to United Way of Washington County-East. Although based in Stillwater, DiaSorin Inc. CEO John Walter is dedicated to supporting United Way St. Croix Valley because many of his employees live in Western Wisconsin. DiaSorin Inc.'s community giving campaign is employee-driven and supported by administration.

Pictured left to right: Donna Norell, Jodie Deshler, United Way St. Croix Valley Executive Director Ann Searles, Carrie Peterson, John C. Walter

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First National Bank of River Falls Receives United Way Circle of Excellence Award

Award presentation

United Way St. Croix Valley recognized First National Bank of River Falls with the Circle of Excellence Award for the bank’s significant and ongoing contribution to the community. “First National Bank of River Falls is the model of what it means to truly care about making a difference in your whole community,” said United Way St. Croix Valley Executive Director Ann Searles. “Through volunteering and sponsoring monthly shipments for our Food Resource Center and running successful United Way fundraising campaigns, their continued support has made an impact in all three counties we serve--Pierce, Polk and St. Croix--and we are so thankful.”

Pictured left to right: Debbie Volkert, Mortgage Lender; Kaydi Sobottka, Human Resources Officer; Jeff Johnson, President & CEO; Ann Searles, United Way St. Croix Valley Executive Director; and Chad Edwards, Information Technology Officer.

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St. Croix County United Way Campaign a Success

St. Croix County

St. Croix County employees donated $7,772 for the 2016 United Way St. Croix Valley campaign, $1,974 more than the 2015 campaign. Pictured left to right: Amy Sabelko, Rebecca Rohan, United Way Board President Cynthia Jahnke, Susan Flores-Diaz, Brad Beckman. Not pictured: Melissa Heath, Heidi Dumond, Julie Nelson, Sandy Hackenmueller, Sue Lindberg and Tara Murdzek.

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#GivingTuesday Raises Funds for 7,676 Meals

Thank you
Thank you for the support on #GivingTuesday. We raised $1,000, and combined with the match the total is $2,000--which means we reached our goal of sponsoring one month's shipment of food, or 7,676 meals, for the Food Resource Center. Thank you.

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United Way Seeking Development & Communications Director

United Way St. Croix Valley is seeking an experienced fundraising professional to grow charitable donations for our local agency while demonstrating a strong passion for helping others. The Development & Communications Director is a professional position (.80) that requires the knowledge, skills and abilities to develop and implement an overall strategic marketing communications plan for the organization. This person will report to the Executive Director and will work in collaboration with her and the Marketing & Communications Committee made up of executive board members. This position includes supervision of a part-time Marketing & Web Associate. Compensation is commensurate with experience.

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Family Friendly River Run/Walk 5K to Benefit Hudson Police Department

Family Friendly River Run logoFamily Friendly River Run/Walk 5KUnited Way St. Croix Valley and the Hudson YMCA are coming together to host the first Family Friendly River Run/Walk 5K at 8:30am on Saturday, Oct. 15 at Lakefront Park in downtown Hudson. Proceeds will benefit our HOMETOWN HEROS—the Hudson Police Department, enabling them to purchase AEDs for their squad cars. Funds raised will also benefit healthy eating through the United Way's Food Resource Center and teen programming for the YMCA.

Online registration is now open. Registrations before Oct. 9 are $10 for 12 years and under, $30 for 13 and up and $50 for a family. Registrations from Oct. 9-15 are $15 for 12 and under, $35 for 13 and up and $60 for a family. Race-day registration is from 7:30-8:15am. There will be male and female prizes in each age division: 12 and under, 13-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60 and up. Leashed pets and strollers are welcome, and Catalyst Sports Medicine will be on-site for sport massage.

Event sponsors are Hudson Hospital & Clinic, St. Croix Valley Foundation and HealthPartners Power Up, which will provide refreshments.

Click here for more information and to register, or contact United Way St. Croix Valley at 715-377-0203 or the Hudson YMCA at 715-386-1616. To donate to the cause, text HEART to 50503.

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United Way Kicks off 2016 "I Believe" Campaign

United Way St. Croix Valley will launch its 2016 Campaign on September 12. The annual fundraising appeal, which funds United Way initiatives, local nonprofits and school programs serving Pierce, Polk and St. Croix County residents, will run through November 18.

This year’s campaign theme is “I Believe,” emphasizing the impact the belief of United Way stakeholders has on the community. “Thanks to our donors, we have made so much progress over the years, like providing over a million pounds of food to local pantries and shelters through the Food Resource Center, but there is still more work to do,” said Board President Cynthia Jahnke. “The relatively high household income in some counties obscures the fact that over 10% of households in Western Wisconsin live in poverty,” she continued.

United Way St. Croix Valley’s three focus areas are meeting basic and emergency needs, strengthening children and families and promoting health and independence. “With our mission of uniting communities, focusing resources and inspiring people to measurably improve lives in Western Wisconsin, United Way St. Croix Valley is uniquely positioned to bring everyone in the community, from businesses to schools and nonprofits, to the table to respond to those in need in our communities,” said Executive Director Ann Searles. Each year the fall campaign funds approximately 60 nonprofit agencies, programs and school programs.

For more information about United Way St. Croix Valley or this year’s campaign, contact Executive Director Ann Searles at 715-377-0203 ext. 102 or ann@unitedwaystcroix.org.

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PressEnter! Supports United Way

PressEnter! check presentation

Thank you to PressEnter! for another successful "Like" for a dollar fundraiser. We received 250 new likes on our Facebook page, and PressEnter donated $250. Pictured left to right are Ann Searles of United Way and Deena Reisman of PressEnter!

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Online Auction Raises $1,444 for Basic Needs

This year's United Way St. Croix Valley online auction fundraiser raised $1,444 to support programs that provide basic needs such as food and shelter. The auction ran from June 2 to July 14 and featured items donated by 26 organizations.

United Way St. Croix Valley extends its thanks to those who donated:

In-Kind Donors

  •     Artgirl56
  •     Badlands Sno-Park
  •     Carbone's Pizzeria Hudson
  •     Family Fresh Market Hudson
  •     Green Bay Packers
  •     Guthrie Theater
  •     Hudson Bagel & Coffee Co.
  •     Jill Ann Anderson
  •     Kwik Trip Hudson
  •     Mall of America
  •     Metropolis Resort
  •     Milwaukee Admirals
  •     Milwaukee Bucks
  •     Milwaukee Summerfest
  •     Pita Pit Hudson
  •     Saint Paul Saints
  •     Six Flags Great America
  •     St. Croix Valley Foundation
  •     Stampin' Up!
  •     The Black Oar
  •     The Orange Door
  •     The Parkside Restaurant & Bar
  •     United Way St. Croix Valley
  •     US Bancorp
  •     UWSCV Board of Directors
  •     Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

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United Way Distributes Funds

Fund distribution 2016The United Way St. Croix Valley Board of Directors recently approved the distribution of funds raised through the 2015-2016 annual fundraising campaign in Pierce, Polk and St. Croix Counties, as well as the Northern Wisconsin campaign. “We are very grateful to the area businesses and individuals who generously support the United Way St. Croix Valley campaign,” said Executive Director Ann Searles. “By ‘Living United’, we invite all community stakeholders to the table--business leaders, civic leaders, school leaders, agencies. Together, we collectively identify community needs and respond efficiently with the distribution of funding to local nonprofit agencies who professionally deliver services which measurably improve the lives of those who live in Western Wisconsin,” she continued.

In addition to providing funds to nonprofit agencies, United Way continues to focus on its three core initiatives: United Way’s Food Resource Center, Success By 6 and Shelter for All. United Way St. Croix Valley Board President Cynthia Jahnke said, “United Way is unique because we look at the needs in our local communities and craft solutions that address those needs and bring long-term change.”

United Way St. Croix Valley awarded $570,557 in grants to support more than 60 nonprofit agency programs and services. United Way allocated the funds to create lasting impact in the categories of: Meeting Basic and Emergency Needs, Strengthening Children and Families and Promoting Health and Independence. An additional $40,867 will go to specific agencies designated by the donors. The total funds distributed will be $611,424. United Way’s overall benefit to the community this year will be over $735,143 when food supplied by the Food Resource Center is taken into account. The Center has distributed approximately 1,048,217 pounds of food since opening in 2008. The food is distributed to area food pantries, shelters and senior dining sites.

Agencies meeting Basic and Emergency Needs will receive $133,770. Programs for Children and Families will receive the largest distribution totaling $171,290. United Way returns 50% of the funds donated by school district employees to the district for programs assisting students. Participating districts received $13,891 in grants this year. Support for programs that improve Health and Independence will total $96,744. Agencies in Burnett and Washburn Counties will receive $44,374 in grants and $8,160 in donor designations from funds contributed by area residents, businesses and the owner and employees of Nexen Group in Webster. United Way St. Croix Valley will continue to raise funds until it is time to begin the fall appeal.

Read the full release.

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United Way Online Auction to Raise Funds for Basic Needs

United Way St. Croix Valley will be running its annual online auction throughout the month of June. All proceeds generated by this year’s auction will be used to support programs that provide basic needs like food and shelter in St. Croix, Pierce and Polk Counties.

Each week from June 2-29, United Way will post new donated items and services on eBay. This year some of the items that will be offered include Blake Shelton concert tickets donated by the United Way Board of Directors; grocery and gas gift cards; and a variety of sports tickets and memorabilia from teams including the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Twins and St. Paul Saints.

You may visit United Way’s eBay page directly at myworld.ebay.com/unitedwaystcroixvalley to see what is currently for sale. For more information, contact Kate Smith at 715-377-0203 ext. 103 or ksmith@unitedwaystcroix.org.

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John Coughlin Honored by Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley

John Coughlin honored

Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley Board Chair Jessie Klopp presented an award at the FRCSCV Reach for the Stars event honoring United Way St. Croix Valley's late Executive Director John Coughlin for his extraordinary leadership, dedication and commitment to the success of Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley. Accepting the award were his wife Mary Beth Arthaud and daughter Erin Coughlin. In future years, FRCSCV will continue to honor his memory through establishing the John M. Coughlin Memorial Volunteer Award. We are thankful to FRCSCV for honoring John and his legacy in the St. Croix Valley.

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Xcel Energy Supports United Way

Xcel Energy check presentation to United Way

In April, Xcel Energy presented a donation of $70,787 to United Way St. Croix Valley Executive Director Ann Searles. Also present were representatives from United Way partner agency Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin.

United Way is a key partner in Xcel Energy's efforts to build stronger communities and every dollar contributed by employees and retirees is matched 100 percent by Xcel Energy. This year’s local United Way campaign is up 15.7% from the prior year.

Pictured left to right: Brian Elwood, Community Relations Manager, Xcel Energy; Ann Searles, Executive Director, United Way St. Croix Valley; Heidi Herron, SCV Regional Director of Community Relations, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin; Amy Bast, Board Member, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin.

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United Way Welcomes New Board Members

Board President Cynthia Jahnke

United Way St. Croix Valley welcomes new members to its Board of Directors this month: Michael Gruenes of Securian and Todd Sherman of US Bank. In addition, Cynthia Jahnke of Sandeen Insurance will be moving into the Board President position and Ann Schilling will be Vice President.

Pictured above: Board President Cynthia Jahnke

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Searles Named United Way Executive Director

Ann SearlesUnited Way St. Croix Valley is pleased to announce that Ann Searles has joined the staff as Executive Director. “We are absolutely delighted to have Ann on board given her extensive leadership experience,” said United Way Board President Dan Draxler. “She will be a wonderful addition to the staff.”

Searles has a background in both nonprofit and for-profit fields, most recently in her role as Executive Director of the White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf, where she was responsible for fundraising, operations management and volunteer recruitment. She is also an active volunteer, serving in leadership roles with several organizations in Washington County, where she resides.

“What drew me to this United Way was the focus of the organization on bettering the community as a whole,” said Searles. “I’ve always had a passion to help those in need, and my heart resonates with the core impact areas of meeting basic and emergency needs, strengthening children and families and promoting health and independence,” she continued.

Searles will be stepping into her role following the passing of longtime Executive Director John Coughlin last August. “I am humbled and feel very fortunate to build on the foundation John built for 22 years,” she said of Coughlin. “I will work hard to ensure his legacy continues.”

To contact Searles, call 715-377-0203 ext. 102 or email ann@unitedwaystcroix.org.

United Way St. Croix Valley serves residents of Polk, Pierce and St. Croix counties. The annual campaign provides funding for over 60 nonprofit agency programs and United Way initiatives. The mission of United Way St. Croix Valley is to unite communities, focus resources and inspire people to measurably improve lives in Western Wisconsin.

Photo credit: Studio J

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Every Facebook "Like" Gives United Way $1 in April

PressEnter!

We are happy to announce PressEnter! of River Falls will again be sponsoring our Facebook "Like" promotion this year. For every new "Like" we receive on our Facebook page during the month of April, PressEnter! will donate $1. We are thankful for PressEnter!'s continued generosity and dedication to our United Way.

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Support Tornado Relief in Florida and Louisiana

Two tornadoes devastated Escambia County, Florida in the span of one week. On Feb. 16th, one tornado wreaked havoc across a 13 mile stretch of Escambia County's rural countryside. 76% of the residents impacted had no insurance and annual incomes of $7,000 to $15,000 making recovery more difficult.

A second tornado struck Feb. 23, leveling a low-income apartment complex and impacting an estimated 300 residents. United Way of Escambia County and their partners have generated over $100,000 in donations to start recovery. With no national declaration, United Way of Escambia County needs additional support.

The Louisiana United Way Tornado Fund has been launched to leverage resources and make the greatest impact in long-term recovery efforts for communities hit by the Feb. 23 storms. Households in several parishes experienced devastating loss, with a large concentration of families affected in St. James and St. John parishes.

The Louisiana United Ways Tornado Fund will provide resources for the recovery efforts in the affected regions. Financial donations to the fund can be made online or by texting LAUnited to 313-131.

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2015 Annual Report Now Available

United Way St. Croix Valley's 2015 Annual Report is now available for viewing online. Please visit our Annual Report page to download the report. Adobe Reader is required.

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Food Resource Center Distributes One Million Pounds

One million poundsThe United Way St. Croix Valley Food Resource Center has passed the one million pound distribution mark. Since opening February of 2008, the Food Resource Center has distributed more than 1,025,900 pounds of food and other products to area pantries, shelters and meal programs in Pierce, Polk and St. Croix Counties. That is the equivalent of 789,154 meals for the hungry. The majority of the food came from our partner The Food Group (formerly The Emergency Foodshelf Network) of New Hope, Minn. Thank you so much for your help in achieving this milestone.

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Success By 6 Launches Family Friendly Workplace Program

Family Friendly Workplace logoThe Family Friendly Workplace certification is an initiative by United Way St. Croix Valley’s Success By 6 to connect the business community and families. This trademark-registered program gives businesses the opportunity to earn the Family Friendly Workplace certification for workplace practices that support families and provide financial support to early childhood education programs.

FFW Certified Organizations will increase educational and service delivery funding through certification fees. This and educational aspects connected with certification will lead to:

  •     Enhanced family friendly workplaces
  •     Heightened awareness of importance of early childhood and existing programs and services and increased family participation
  •     Enhanced workplace recruitment and retention of employees

Businesses will earn points for family-friendly practices to be certified as a Family Friendly Workplace. Certification will be at bronze, silver and gold levels. A few examples include: providing time off for child-related activities, offering tax saving options for childcare expenses and providing breastfeeding employees a private location for breastfeeding/expressing milk.

Businesses earning a certification will receive a plaque to acknowledge their certification, which will raise community awareness about the need to support families and attract and retain workers.

To learn more about the Family Friendly Workplace Certification program visit http://familyfriendlyworkplace.org or contact Lara Otsuka at lotsuka@unitedwaystcroix.org.

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Holiday Fundraisers Sponsor January Food Resource Center Shipment

Holiday Fundraiser

Thanks to your generous support on #GivingTuesday and throughout all of December, we have exceeded our goal of $2,500 to sponsor the January Food Resource Center shipment. We are so thankful for everyone's support.

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Local Team Selected to Participate in Healthy Wisconsin Leadership Institute

Healthier Together team

Healthier Together Pierce and St. Croix Counties was selected to participate in the Healthy Wisconsin Leadership Institute’s Community Teams Program, a year-long leadership training program that helps prepare local residents to address their communities’ most pressing health concerns.

“Healthier Together has a history of working on nutrition-related issues, with a focus on low-income populations, who are disproportionately at risk for obesity and chronic disease,” said Jean Needham, interim executive director of United Way St. Croix Valley. “Our team is excited about the opportunity to work with the Healthy Wisconsin Leadership Institute on new strategies that will make healthy choices easier for those struggling to make ends meet.”

The team from Healthier Together includes members from the two-county region’s hospitals, public health departments, UW-Extension and United Way. The team will receive training and technical assistance in building stronger community partnerships, implementing sustainable change strategies and measuring their own success from national and state experts as they work to address nutrition issues affection low-income residents of the two-county area.

Read the full press release.

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DiaSorin Community Giving Campaign Supports United Way

DiaSorin presenting check to United Way's Jean Needham

DiaSorin in Stillwater recently completed its community giving campaign and donated half of the proceeds, $7,581.26, to United Way St. Croix Valley. The other half was donated to United Way of Washington County-East. DiaSorin’s community giving campaign is employee-driven and supported by administration. There is a committee of employees that plans activities and employees make the decision about where the money is to be donated. Pictured left to right: Jodie Deshler, United Way St. Croix Valley Interim Executive Director Jean Needham, Erica Lipinski, Anita Larson, Carrie Peterson, Donna Norell, DiaSorin President John Walter and Sarah Marshall.

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