United Way Announces “Be the Light” Giving Challenge

United Way of 1000 Lakes is closing out 2022 in a big way: by aiming to raise $22,000 for the community by the end of the year.

The nonprofit organization is calling on community members to “Be the Light” and bring hope, resources, and opportunity to the Itasca area by making a donation of any amount to United Way. For 60 years, United Way has worked to meet the changing needs of local families, work made possible thanks to the support and generosity of the community. As our region faces rising inflation and other challenges, community support remains vital in ensuring that the organization can continue investing in a strong network of nonprofit programs and services.

The nonprofit has announced a “challenge match” that enables donors to double the value of their contribution to the year-end campaign. Donations of any amount from individuals and organizations will be matched up to $8,000.

The challenge is made possible by the generosity of board and staff members, including: Alie McInerney, Angie Tanner, Becky Lauer, Bill Martinetto, Danielle Witherill, David Kooda, Jeff Dingman, Jeff Niemala, Kimberly Brink Smith, Leanna McBride, Madeline Cook, Madeline Cook, Rev. Dr. Patrick Lovejoy, Shannon Benolken, and Tanis Henderson.

“We’re inviting our community to join us in making a difference and investing in the future of our region,” says Dr. Leanna McBride, United Way’s board president. “In the coming year, we’re going to be focusing our efforts on providing resources and services that support the whole family unit, and gifts to the ‘Be the Light’ campaign will help support that work.”

United Way supports a wide range of nonprofit programs that operate in Itasca County and its surrounding communities, which annually impact thousands of local families. A donor’s gift might support everything from safety net resources like food and shelter to programs that help adults enter and stay in the workforce, such as childcare and transportation support.

United Way’s Board urges donors to see giving as making an investment in the community, as United Way’s impact strategy is increasingly focused on creating opportunities and helping families build long-term stability.

“Investing in our community benefits everyone,” says Jeff Dingman, who sits on United Way’s Board and works as a Controller at Max Gray Construction. “It allows this great place we call home to continue to grow and thrive as a community.” 

Those who would like to pledge toward the challenge may do so by calling 218-999-7570, clicking the “Donate Now” button at uwlakes.org, texting LAKES to 26989, or by mailing or dropping off a check at United Way of 1000 Lakes’ office at 350 NW 1st Ave., Suite A, Grand Rapids, MN 55744.

Supporters interested in following along on the organization’s progress towards its year-end goal can visit uwlakes.org/be-the-light, where they can also find information on the impact their gift is making.