Merger creates opportunities to help communities thrive
To the Editor:
Since the United Way of Dodge County and United Way of Olmsted County combined forces through a merger in January of this year, our staff have been spending time getting to know the people and communities of Dodge County. In the last several months, we’ve met with local United Way partners like Faith In Action Dodge County, Semcac, and Healthy Smiles.
These and many other community organizations are doing amazing work with volunteers to ensure that everyone has the resources they need to thrive. Thankfully, they have plenty of residents willing to roll up their sleeves and help out. We’ve also been excited to get to know other community-minded institutions, like St. John’s Lutheran Church in Kasson, the Hayfield Chamber of Commerce, KM Telecom, and Kasson-Mantorville Public Schools. We have been particularly impressed by the district’s offering of high-quality education to students, in addition to serving as a meeting place and a resource hub for residents. Their partnerships with non-profits like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Minnesota and corporate partners like McNeilus address both the social and educational needs of students, while ensuring that every high school graduate has a bright future. Such a commitment to kids shows. About 82% of 8th and 11th graders report that adults at K-M Schools listen to them, and over 90% of students believe that their teachers care about them (Minnesota Student Survey 2022). We see these positive relationships between teachers and students in schools throughout Dodge County, and they are a testament to the power of a strong and united community. Across the county and among people of all ages, we have found a culture of volunteering and partnership; pride in the community; and the pursuit of excellence in education, agriculture, and business. We at United Way are excited to continue to be part of the Dodge County community, and we look forward to new opportunities to serve Dodge County residents. We believe our commitment to promoting volunteerism, advocating for our neighbors, and uniting people with essential services fits in well with the culture of service that Dodge County residents tell us is so important to them. Each fall, United Way of Dodge County asks the community for support so we can continue to invest in the critical local services that help make Dodge County a great place to live, work, and raise a family. Your gift, united with many others, supports services like the VITA free tax preparation program, 211 information and referral service, our Get Connected online volunteer portal, and programs at 15 nonprofit partner agencies serving Dodge County residents. United Way of Dodge County has been serving local communities for more than 70 years. Together, we can ensure we’ll be here for at least 70 more.
President of United Way of Olmsted County