Stepping forward for United Way

United Way of Dickinson initiated its 2007 campaign with the recruitment of volunteers and the distribution of packets to area businesses. "Stepping Forward" is this year's theme. "United Way of Dickinson has been stepping forward for 45 years an...

United Way of Dickinson initiated its 2007 campaign with the recruitment of volunteers and the distribution of packets to area businesses.

"Stepping Forward" is this year's theme.

"United Way of Dickinson has been stepping forward for 45 years and strives to do so for the next 45 years," said Executive Director Jill Gregoire.

"Imagine walking in someone's shoes who is utilizing services. You may not be using the services, but I bet you know somebody who is," she added.

She said the goal has risen considerably since its founding. Forty-five years ago, the goal was $9,750.


"This year's goal is $275,000, which is the same as last year," she said. "The goal is based on the agency needs. Monies are allocated to agencies after it's raised. We do our very best to raise all the money for all the agencies."

Volunteers received their packet instructions during a recent kick-off breakfast. The six-week campaign started Sept. 15 and continues to Oct. 31.

Gregoire said the campaign is managed by a board of directors and cabinet leaders who are responsible for 13 community divisions such as communications, construction and education.

"Each division has a separate leader and gets volunteers to deliver the packets. It's kind of a pyramid," she said.

This year, over 300 packets went out to businesses. Donations vary with each employee.

"Whatever an individual is capable of giving, there's no set amount," she said.

She said United Way offers incentives for increased giving.

"If you donate $12 more than the previous year, then you receive a United Way collector's mug," she said.


Individuals or businesses who donate $500 or more to United Way are recognized as Pacesetters.

Gregoire said the agencies who receive United Way funding are selected through an application process.

"United Way only funds non-profit organizations. That comes from United Way of America," she said.

Gregoire's role is to help agencies complete the 501-non-profit status application.

"United Way is accountable to the community. We're being entrusted with their dollars to make informed decisions. There's many components to it. My job is to walk them through it," she said.

United Way of Dickinson has received requests from 24 agencies. Twenty-two were funded last year.

The newest two -- Southwest Community Service and Restitution Program and Countdown to Kindergarten -- remain to be approved by the United Way board of directors.

While the campaign is the busiest times of year for Gregoire, she said United Way is so much more.


"It's the banana split promotion that Dan's does. It's the brats promotion. It's being a constant figure in the community. It's contacting the media," she said.

Gregoire said United Way is about community involvement.

"We have four impact areas --four areas we strive to improve in the community," she said.

Agencies who apply for funding must fill one of the following needs:

* Promoting self-sufficiency through training in life skills, education and economic opportunities.

* Strengthening families through support and resources.

* Assisting the elderly and disabled through a strong support system.

* Nurturing youth through agencies that help them grow and achieve their full potential.


Gregoire works closely with the board and volunteers throughout the campaign.

"We need everybody to participate to make it a success," said United Way President Sue Roller. "I think the goal of United Way is to make the community a better place to live, provide services, address the needs of the less fortunate and enhance the programs for children and elderly."

Roller invites everyone to participate, donating what they can afford.

"Volunteering your talents and abilities with agencies, that would be great. You might not always have the means financially, but you can certainly contribute in other ways as well," she said.

Honorary Chairman is Jason Hopfauf, who has served on various offices of the board in the past 10 years.

"Being involved in United Way, I've seen many changes over the years. More importantly than the changes, are the continued efforts and successes in getting the entire community involved to help so many people in need," he said.

"United Way's goal is to make a difference in the community," said Campaign Chairman Greg Sund. "United Way does well when everybody participates."

Working as city administrator, Sund has become aware of the need for transient services, domestic violence services and shelter for the homeless. He was active in the Boy Scout program and appreciates Harvest Home, which provides housing to families while someone is receiving medical care.


Shirley Kallenbach, manager of the Stark County Chapter of the American Red Cross, said, "The funds help keep our office open. Their funds provide CPR and first- aid training, disaster training and baby-sitting training. It helps us train our volunteers to go into the public when there's a disaster."

The United Way of Dickinson's 200 requesting agencies are:

Stark County Chapter of the American Red Cross

Elder Care

Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center

Community Action Partnership- Adult Homeless Shelter

Communition Action Partnership - Prairie Rose Center



Health Maintenance Program


Caring Program for Children

Boy Scouts of America, Northern Lights Council

Best Friends Mentoring Program

Dakota West RSVP

Lutheran Social Services- Senior Companion Program

House of Manna

High Five Youth Camp

Dickinson Adult Learning Center

Catholic Family Serivces-Guardianship Program

West Dakota Parent and Family Resource Center

Foster Grandparent Program

Harvest Home

Girl Scouts

Southwest Community Service and Restitution Program

Countdown to Kindergarten

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