The strength of United Way lies in the support we receive from hundreds of donors who want to make an impact in the Itasca County area. Every year, local individuals, businesses, companies and foundations support the annual United Way campaign through Workplace Giving programs.

The funds raised are invested in programs, services and initiatives that help one-in-three people in our community and that lead to lasting change for individuals and the community.

Workplace Giving

Dozens of local companies – from the largest to the smallest shops – run United Way campaigns in their workplace because they understand how it benefits the entire region.

United Way makes it easy to get started. We provide materials to communicate to your employees as well as easy ways to raise and collect the donations. You can make your campaign as involved or simple as you want; we encourage companies to create a program that is right for their own unique culture. Through your United Way campaign, your employees will feel a greater connection to their community by giving back in such an important way.

Why start a workplace giving program?

  • Increased employee morale and teamwork. Companies that run Workplace Giving Programs document higher morale and teamwork. Employees learn about local United Way funded programs and work together to plan and engage in fun activities to raise money as a company: raffles, games, social events, and special incentives for givers like casual days or a VIP parking space.
  • A healthier place to live, work, and raise a family. Our community benefits from healthier residents—even those not employed by your business. Your business will prosper more in a healthier region. Other businesses will stay here and add jobs. Businesses outside our area will invest here if we have a well-educated workforce, attractive and safe neighborhoods, a strong educational system, a thriving downtown, and social services that address and reduce health and human service needs.

Best of Awards

Nomination period: Extended to April 18th, 2022

Awards will be presented at United Way's annual Campaign Celebration, taking place May 26th, 2022 at the Timberlake Lodge.

United Way’s ‘Best of’ Awards showcases your accomplishments in the community. Awards recognize Itasca-area companies and organizations for their outstanding participation in United Way’s campaign throughout the year.

Submission Guidelines
We invite you to submit nominations for the ‘Best of’ Awards to showcase the work that you and your company or organization are doing on behalf of the community. This is an opportunity to share the quality of your work with other workplaces and the public while gathering new ideas for your next campaign. Any workplace that ran a United Way campaign this year may enter.

This year’s award categories are listed below.

For each category you enter:

Complete and submit an entry form with your nomination, including a description (of 250 words or less) for each entry. The description should be 250 words or less and should be submitted in an electronic format. Feel free to include supporting materials such photos, videos, press clippings, campaign results, and statistics with your submissions. Contact United Way at info@uwlakes.org or 218-999-7570 with questions.

Winners will be recognized at the United Way Campaign Celebration on May 26th, 2022 at the Timberlake Hotel in Grand Rapids.

SUBMIT NOMINATION

Award Descriptions

Best Ambassador
Our Best Ambassador Award honors an individual who utilizes their experience with United Way to develop in the area of connecting, building skills, and volunteering to advance their own lives, their company, and the greater community.

Best Coordinator/Team of the Year
This award honors an individual or team who led their workplace to a successful campaign through goal-setting and statically implementing campaign best practices to reach goals. This individual or team educated and energized staff, led a campaign committee, worked with and mobilized senior leaders, and is passionate about turning around the stories of those most in need in our community. Go for the glory – nominate yourself or a co-worker who helped run a fabulous campaign!

Best Trailblazer
The Best Trailblazer Award honors a company/organization that demonstrates increased achievement in employee education, engagement, and involvement with United Way. Best practices and strategies include, but are not limited to:

+        Company and its employees showed increased commitment and support

+        Company Leadership endorsement and support

+        Utilized resources – United Way staff, Campaign Tool-kit, campaign materials, website

+        Built relationships and grew with teamwork, leadership, and service activities

Best Virtual Employee Engagement
Workplaces have looked different over the past couple of years, but that hasn’t stopped our campaign coordinators from pulling off successful campaigns! This award honors campaigns that innovated and implemented new strategies for educating and involving employees through social media, interactive virtual activities, and more.

Everyday Hero Award
The Everyday Hero Award honors an individual or organization that went above and beyond for others in our community during COVID-19.

Local Love in Action
Our community is stronger when we work together. This award recognizes the local love that mobilizes diverse stakeholders to improve the community where we live, work, and play through partnering with United Way.


2021 'Best of' Award Winners

Best Campaign Climber: Itasca County
The Campaign Climber Award goes to an organization with a history of giving through workplace campaigns. Itasca County’s employees have contributed, hosting company events to celebrate giving back and having numerous staff members donate portions of their paychecks to invest back into the community. Last year, employee giving at Itasca County exceeded that of recent years and even surpassed the organization’s goal.

Best Virtual Employee Engagement: Lake Country Power
With many workplaces going virtual or hybrid during the pandemic, employee campaign coordinators (individuals who help mobilize employee giving) had to be creative and find ways to unite employees from afar. The Best Virtual Employee Engagement award, new in 2021, honors Lake Country Power for showing innovation in engaging their employees virtually.

Community Spirit Award: Klockow Brewing Company
The Community Spirit Award honors an organization that made a substantial impact in the community through United Way in response to COVID-19. Klockow Brewing Company, in a time of difficulty for small businesses, stood up to support the community that supported them by implementing an initiative that donated a portion of beverage sales to local nonprofit organizations.

Everyday Hero Award: I.S.D. 318
The Everyday Hero Award honors an individual or group that went above and beyond in their commitment to United Way and taking care of our community during COVID-19. During a year that educators and school staffers faced uncertainty, I.S.D. 318’s staff came through to support their community, with more employees than ever investing in their community through United Way.

Local Love in Action: Mann’s Cinema 8
Mann’s Cinema 8 in Grand Rapids joined Mann’s Theatres across the state in giving back through an adapted business model. Since they couldn’t show movies in the theatre, the local cinema began offering curbside pickup for popcorn and other movie theatre treats. Mann’s Theatres donated a portion of sales to United Ways in Minnesota, raising over $11,000 for COVID-19 relief. In Itasca County, the cinema in Grand Rapids put their care for their community into action, donating $993 to the Itasca Area Community Response Fund.

Day of Action Award: City of Coleraine
Each summer, United Way brings together volunteers to complete outreach and community revitalization projects in Itasca-area communities. This Day of Action Award recognizes the City of Coleraine for the instrumental role they played in operating summer 2020’s ‘Days of Action.’

Top Ten Most Generous Companies

Our top 10 campaign partners are organizations that raised the most dollars in our 2020-2021 campaign through corporate and employee giving and special events. We thank them for their leadership and dedication to improving the lives of thousands of neighbors in our community.

Minnesota Power, a division of ALLETE, Inc.
Blandin Foundation
Itasca County
Klockow Brewing Company
Paul Bunyan Communications
ASV Holdings, Inc.
CoBank
Lake Country Power
Park State Bank
L&M Fleet Supply

Top Ten Most Generous Workplaces

Minnesota Power, a division of ALLETE, Inc.
Target
ASV Holdings, Inc.
Minnesota Diversified Industries
Woodland Bank
Itasca County
Blandin Foundation
UPS
Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital
Lake Country Power

Become a Sponsor

Sponsorship provides an opportunity for companies to achieve their philanthropic goals and demonstrate their commitment to positive community impact. Partner companies can opt to sponsor one event or several throughout the year.

Learn More