FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who is the Sherburne County Area United Way?
There are about 1350 United Ways (defined by zip codes) across the United States. Sherburne County Area United Way serves the communities of Big Lake, Elk River, Otsego, Princeton, Santiago, and Zimmerman. Each United Way is a separate 501c3 organization overseen by a local board of directors.
What does United Way do?
The Sherburne County Area United Way works to create long-lasting changes in the Sherburne County Area. This is done in through educational programming, by providing grants to non-profits agencies, by providing training and resources to groups, and by providing various giving and investing alternatives to individuals and businesses. Sherburne County Area United Way also provides unique programming for youth in our service area. During the summer of 2011 Sherburne County Area United Way partnered with several local agencies to provide four week-long summer camps that taught self-reliance skills, self confidence and communication skills. Currently, Sherburne County Area United Way is working on bringing the youth programming into local school districts.
How did the Sherburne County Area United Way get started?
Forty years ago, in the fall of 1969, a group of local volunteers established the Elk River United Fund. Their first campaign raised $10,000 and the funds were provided to 22 national and state-wide organization. The Elk River United Fund later became the Elk River United Way. In 1995 the name was changed to Caring Rivers United Way in order to incorporate all of the communities in the service area. In 2010 the name was changed to Sherburne County Area United Way to better define it geographic location. Sherburne County Area United Way raises an average of $225,000 and provides community investment grants to more thanthirty local agencies, and provide donor designations to an additional twenty-five local, state-wide or national agencies.
How did the United Way get started?
The discovery of silver caused hundreds of people to flock to Denver, Colorado in the 1880's. Families came from all across the United States to become ‘rich'. The winter of 1887 was extremely severe and most of the population had very poor living conditions. A fire occurred and more than half the town lost their homes. In response to this tragedy, five people, (2 ministers, 1 priest, 1 rabbi, and 1 woman business owner) organized an effort to help the people care for one another. They coordinated local services and with a single fundraising campaign raised over $21,000 for ten agencies in the Denver area.
The idea spread and soon most of the larger cities across the nation were conducting one campaign for support of multiple services. These "Community Chest" programs brought community leaders together for fundraising campaigns, community planning and program creation. The "National Association of Societies for Organizing Charity", or the forerunner of the United Way of America, was created in 1911. Its purpose was to encourage and stimulate collective community planning and the development of better standards in the work of community organization for social work. Though it had several names over the years, in 1970 it became the United Way of America. In 2009 United Way of America became United Way Worldwide to incorporate the 1,850 independent 501c3 United Ways building communities worldwide.
United Way Worldwide DOES NOT raise or distribute funds in the Sherburne County Area United Way service area, and the Sherburne County Area United Way DOES NOT raise or receive funds from United Way Worldwide. All money raised by Sherburne County Area United Way stays local UNLESS specifically designated by the donor.
What does GIVE WHERE YOU LIVE mean?
Every United Way has its own service area where they can raise money and distribute grants. Sherburne County Area United Way cannot solicit funds from companies in the St. Cloud area, or in the Greater Twin Cities areas. However, residents of the Sherburne County Area United Way service area who work in those communities CAN designate for their donations through company campaigns to come back to their home community. They can write this on their pledge form or put the request in writing to the campaign coordinator.
How does the Sherburne County Area United Way impact me, or my life?
Through a stringent grant making process, Sherburne County Area United Way funds human services programs such as the local food shelves, boys and girls clubs and school programs, meals on wheels and senior dining, legal aid programs, health care assistance programs and resource and referrals programs. Besides funding agencies, United Way strengthens the communities by providing training, education and assistance to non-profit programs, community forums on popular issues, as well as gift planning, and community giving assistance to individuals and businesses.
In addition, the Sherburne County Area United Way is implementing unique programs in local school districts that will work with youth to gain self-reliance skills, communication skills, and self-confidence. The programming is branching off of camps that the Sherburne County Area United Way put on over the summer of 2011 and will be in schools starting in January 2012. The programming is in response to community-identified issues.
How can I get involved?
You can become a campaign coordinator at your work place, or if you are not yet running a campaign, talk to your employer about starting one. No company is too large or too small to run a United Way Campaign.
- Volunteer for one of the many programs funded by Sherburne County Area United Way, (visit our Get Involved page)
- Attended one or more of the Sherburne County Area United Way events offered in your area. (visit our Calendar of Events page)
- Serve on our Community Investment Committee (this committee reviews grants, visits agencies and makes funding recommendations)
- Serve on the Board of Directors, Financing Committee, Marketing Committee, Community Impact Committee or Campaign Committee. (contact our office for more information)