Achieving Financial Stability

The whole community benefits when more working individuals and families are able to support themselves and get on solid financial ground. We position people for a better, brighter tomorrow by connecting them to services that empower them to improve their financial standing and contribute to the local economy.

Our Goals

Improve Financial Standing

Increase self-sufficiency: individuals and families have the necessary supports and opportunities to increase earnings and assets and reduce expenses, including personal finance and money management skills, a steady income, employment skills, stable housing, transportation, and childcare.

Providing assistance in times of crisis

Foster an integrated set of community-wide services to meet people’s basic needs: individuals and families have food, shelter, personal safety, and the support they need in times of crisis.

What We're Doing

In our experience, no single agency or program can solve poverty alone. Along the Income pathway, individuals and families have access to education, training, and other resources to help improve their financial footing. Through partner programs, initiatives, and collaborations, we're ensuring families have the support they need in times of crisis and providing essential services to help stabilize families and avoid future crisis.

Impact Partners

United Way’s Income pathway strategically connects individuals and families to programs and services that improve their financial footing. Through our partner programs and services, we're helping families stabilize and move toward self-sufficiency.


Safety: Providing emergency refuge, counseling, and advocacy services to adults, children, and youth experiencing domestic violence.


Food Shelf: Providing hunger relief for people living in the Bigfork area.


Food Shelf: Providing hunger relief for people living in the Deer River area.


Emergency Housing: Providing shelter for homeless families and individuals and linking them to appropriate social services, employment, and housing.


Home Preservation Program: Providing maintenance assistance to low-income homeowners to ensure safe, decent, and healthy homes and property.


Transitional Housing: Providing stable housing to adults and families while they improve their job standing or education and
increase assets.


Safety: Providing prevention education, counseling, and advocacy services for sexual assault and exploitation victims and their families.

United Way Initiatives


Day of Action is an annual day of service sponsored by United Way of 1000 Lakes. Drawing more than 100 volunteers of all skills sets together each year, Day of Action is the largest of United Way’s volunteer initiatives.

Since its inception in 2013, Day of Action has mobilized 975 volunteers who have served a total of 5,624 hours. The impact value from 2013-2020 is $136,536.

Our Day of Action program focuses on building healthy communities by mobilizing our force of caring volunteers to connect residents to home improvement services and resources for living independently. 2020’s Day of Action will see us completing outreach, home improvement, and community cleanup projects in downtown Coleraine. Learn more

We’re always looking for project ideas, both for our annual Day of Action and for other volunteer events. If you have an idea, let us know!


Step 1: Identify unmet needs in the community or at your agency
Are there projects at your agency that have never been finished, or maybe projects that never even got started? Are there past projects that can be expanded? Does your agency have a wish list? Are there new initiatives you would like to kick-off on the Day of Action? Take a look at annual events, daily activities and the well-being of your clients—can any of these be improved through a Day of Action project? Can a small or large group of volunteers accomplish these tasks on one day?

Step 2: Share with your colleagues
Use time during a staff meeting, or set aside another time, to speak with your co-workers about Day of Action. Ask them to brainstorm how volunteers can help (use our worksheet to generate ideas).

Step 3: Select projects
Can the project be substantially completed in the allotted working time with non-professional workers, allowing time for set-up, break down, agency briefing and lunch? Is the size and complexity of the project appropriate, considering the volunteers’ skills? Is there a need to coordinate the work around client services? Does the project scope require a building permit?

Step 4: Identify project budget and needed resources
Determine how your agency could contribute to the project, include supplies and materials. What resources are needed, include paint and other materials from local businesses, as well as volunteer tools. Often volunteer teams will happily bring their own supplies.

Step 5: Propose a Day of Action Project
Once you have come up with ideas, send them to United Way of 1000 Lakes via email to to be considered.



United Way coordinates a community-wide Health and Hygiene Drive to meet the needs of families in our area. The annual drive collects a variety of personal care and household items that are essential for good health and hygiene such as toothpaste, soap, and deodorant. Items are then assembled into care packs and distributed to local families and individuals through local nonprofits and schools.

Donations can be dropped off at the United Way office, at various collections sites, or made online.

Community Collaborations


United Way of 1000 Lakes facilitates the local board of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) for Itasca County.

The local board, run by committed volunteers, reviews funding proposals for federal EFSP dollars and makes allocation recommendations to the national board. Awards supplement and expand ongoing efforts to provide shelter, food, and supportive services for individuals and families who are experiencing hunger, homelessness, and economic crisis.

Funding levels are determined based on poverty and average unemployment statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor for the most current 12-month period.

In 2020, Itasca County was awarded $66,355 through the Emergency Food and Shelter program. Organizations receiving grants included Grace House ($12,500); Second Harvest Food Bank ($10,000); Community Café ($12,308); United Way of Northeast Minnesota ($8,000), The Salvation Army ($8,500), and KOOTASCA Community Action ($13,720). United Way of 1000 Lakes will receive an administrative allowance ($1,327). These agencies provided shelter, food, and supportive services for adults and children who are experiencing hunger, homelessness, and economic crisis in Itasca County.

To learn more about funding opportunities, organizations should our nonprofit resource page.


The Housing Issues Advisory Council works to address issues of homelessness and advocacy in Itasca County. Membership is comprised of nearly fifteen different organizations focused on housing insecurities.


When families and individuals have financial stability, they are less likely to require other services and more likely to find success.


of Itasca County residents are living in poverty


people are experiencing homelessness in our region

1 in 2

school age children are food insecure

Achieving Financial Stability

is just one part of our three pillar approach to improving lives. Check out our other focus areas: