According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the annual cost of living for a Mower County family with two working adults and two children is $66,874. That is the amount families must make to cover the cost of basic needs such as child care, food, health care, housing, transportation, and other non-negotiable expenses.
Now, imagine that is your family, but your annual income is less than $50,000 - an amount far below what is needed to provide for your family's needs. According to the US Census Bureau, that is the reality for 32% of families in Mower County.
Those are the families who struggle to make ends meet and face difficult decisions as a result. They choose between one basic need or another when unable to afford both, ultimately dealing with greater consequences in the long run.
Those are the families who need United Way. Those are the families who need you. Can we count on you to Live United?
By focusing on four key building blocks - education, financial stability, health, and basic needs - we are ensuring that families have what they need to thrive in Mower County. United Way support offers a ‘full-circle’ effect for Mower County. A strong economy depends on the good health of its citizens. Healthy people may be better able to work and secure higher levels of education, which contributes to personal wealth and regional prosperity. And when basic needs are met, we all prosper.
impact in action:
United Way of Mower County stretches your donation to more than 20 local nonprofits. The organizations below are just some of those impacted by your generosity:
In these beyond-your-control simulations, you will experience economic hardships, unexpected dilemmas, and real-life scenarios that millions of families living on the edge of poverty face every day. How would you navigate given limited resources? Can you break the cycle of poverty?
MYTH: MY DONATION DOESN’T STAY HERE IN MY COMMUNITY
FACT: Every dollar invested in United Way benefits Mower County. We believe in taking care of our own and we want to build a thriving community where we all live, work, and raise our families. United Way of Mower County (UWMC) does contribute a small percentage (1%) of total campaign revenue to United Way Worldwide (UWW) annually for membership dues; however, this money is returned to the community in multiple ways. UWW membership benefits to UWMC include administrative, fundraising, and marketing support; training opportunities; and shared services that help us save costs.
MYTH: I DON’T HAVE A LOT TO GIVE SO I CAN’T MAKE MUCH IMPACT
FACT: Your investment in United Way makes a huge difference for our community. There are so many things in this world that are out of our control, but today in Mower County 3,400 students rely on school meals as their only stable food source. Right here in Austin, 47% of renter households are cost-burdened and struggle to make ends meet. These are things we can address together, today, with United Way. From $1 to $1 million, investments in United Way’s Community Impact Fund fuel the support for thousands of people in need to help change their lives for the better.
MYTH: MOST OF MY DONATION IS GOING TO OVERHEAD EXPENSES SO I SHOULD JUST GIVE TO AGENCIES DIRECTLy
FACT: 91 cents of every donated dollar go directly to critical programs and services while just 9 cents are spent on operations (91% and 9%). For context:
CharityWatch states that it’s reasonable for most nonprofits to spend up to 40% on operations
The Better Business Bureau says that no more than 35% should be spent on operations
Charity Navigator reports that the majority of charities listed on its site - seven out of ten nonprofits – spend 25% on operations
Donors can be proud to support United Way, too. Investing 9 cents in operations is essential for effectively carrying out our mission and maximizing our impact. With those 9 cents, United Way:
Integrates our community’s systems so that nonprofits, healthcare, and social services can better align to help those in need
Convenes and participates on many community coalitions, initiatives, and collaboratives to address challenges facing Mower County and build a stronger community
Collects, processes and transfers donations on behalf of over twenty health, education, and human services agencies in the region (many indicate that participating in the United Way campaign is an effective, efficient way for them to fundraise)
MYTH: UNITED WAY PROGRAMS JUST PROVIDE HANDOUTS & A BANDAID SOLUTION TO OUR COMMUNITY’S PROBLEMS
FACT: The only bandaids we hand out are to kids getting in their health and fitness requirements in our after-school and summer learning programs. United Way is dedicated to identifying the greatest needs in the community and investing Community Impact Fund dollars in evidence-based and preventative programs. All United Way partner programs and initiatives are monitored, measured, and evaluated regularly to confirm they’re achieving positive results for our community and local people in need.
MYTH: UNITED WAY ONLY HELPS PEOPLE IN THE CITY OF AUSTIN
FACT: We invest in a network of partner programs that help people all across Mower County. Whether it’s an ambulance service in Adams, a backpack program in Grand Meadow, or legal aid in Lyle, our programs are connecting resources all across the county to help people in need.
MYTH: I’M NEVER GOING TO NEED THESE SERVICES, SO I HAVE NO REASON TO DONATE
FACT: When our community thrives, we all thrive.
One more local kid in after-school programs means one more high school graduate ready to take on the world.
One more local family with stable housing means one less deteriorating house causing property values to decline.
One more local elder with safe transportation means one less emergency hospital visit driving up healthcare costs.
MYTH: AT XYZ COMPANY WE’RE FORCED TO GIVE TO THE UNITED WAY
FACT: For starters, we’re sorry you feel that way. We would never want anyone to feel forced to give to something they don’t believe in. United Way does not encourage companies to coerce employees to give. We work with companies to help them offer United Way as a simple, convenient way for their employees to invest in our community.
MYTH: UNITED WAY DOESN’T PROVIDE ANY VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
FACT: United Way hosts our community’s only volunteer hub – Get Connected – a dynamic and engaging volunteer management tool. Get Connected connects local agencies with local people looking to make a positive impact on our community. Visit www.uwmower.org to learn more.