United Way of 1000 Lakes Seeks Community Input on the Region’s Most Pressing Needs

United Way of 1000 Lakes invites all members of Itasca County and its surrounding area to provide critical input as part of its strategic planning process. Guided by a committed group of volunteers, United Way released a Community Needs Survey to shed light on important social issues affecting the region, especially in light of the economic effects of COVID-19.

Currently, United Way contributes over $160,000 annually to local partner organizations that are working in the areas of education, financial stability, health, and essential needs. Findings from the survey and a series of listening sessions will help guide how United Way aligns its investments to address needs of this nature moving forward.

“Capturing the voice of the community provides a rich source of qualitative data about our area,” said Kim Brink Smith, United Way executive director. “While the data will inform United Way’s focus, it can also help individuals and groups, organizations, and businesses make more meaningful contributions as we understand what matters most to people.”

The public’s support in completing this survey will:

    • Give individuals a chance to share their voice and concerns. Community input will help shape the way our nonprofit network supports future generations.

    • Identify unmet needs and opportunities to fill service gaps.

    • Highlight concerns that matter most, including but not limited to concerns around basic needs, childcare, financial stability, educational outcomes, and health.

    • Inform funding decisions to ensure that resources are going where they can help most.

    • Strengthen resource networks and collaboration.

By looking at the community through several different lenses, including geography, racial equity, and income level, United Way staff, board, and volunteers will be better able to lay the groundwork and steer the course for tackling these top issues in its service area.

“Last year shone a spotlight on inequities that already existed in our region, and this assessment gives us the chance to understand how these inequities impact individuals in multiple, overlapping ways,” Brink Smith added.

The survey, which takes less than ten minutes to complete, can be accessed at surveymonkey.com/r/uwl-cn21. All answers are anonymous. Congregate data will be shared with the community in the coming months.

For more information about United Way’s assessment process, please call United Way at 218-999-7570 or email kimberly@uwlakes.org.