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United Way distributes funds to area agencies

The United Way St. Croix Valley board of directors approved the distribution of funds raised through the 2008-09 annual campaign, and the first round of checks have been mailed to nonprofit agencies.

"The board faced some really tough decisions due to the shortfall in the annual campaign, which left United Way with fewer funds to distribute," said Executive Director John Coughlin. "They looked at each grant request individually rather than do across-the-board cuts, but the reductions averaged about 15 percent, which mirrors the fundraising shortfall."

United Way continues to focus on three initiatives in addition to providing funds to nonprofit agencies: United Way's Food Resource Center, Success By 6 and Housing for All.

"The board believes that it is important to provide strong support for the homeless shelter and local food pantries during these tough economic times," said board President Tonya Lathe.

United Way awarded $624,326 in grants to over 70 nonprofit programs and services. United Way and its Citizen Review Panel volunteers allocate the non-designated funds to create lasting impact in the categories of Basic and Emergency Needs, Children and Families, and Health and Self-Sufficiency. An additional $197,469 will go to specific agencies designated by the donors.

United Way's overall impact is well over a million dollars when food supplied by the Food Resource Center is taken into account. The center has provided over 340,000 pounds of food since opening in 2008. The food is distributed through area food pantries, community meals and senior dining sites.

Agencies meeting Basic and Emergency Needs will receive $151,950. Programs for Children and Families will receive the largest distribution, totaling $216,715. Support for programs that improve Health and Independence will total $139,425. Partner agencies implementing United Way's Success By 6, food and housing initiatives will receive $89,875.

Agencies in Burnett and Washburn counties will receive $26,361 entirely from funds contributed by area residents and the owner and employees of Nexen Group Inc. in Webster.

United Way will continue raising money throughout the summer with its $9.11 emergency appeal. Area residents are encouraged to make a contribution in that amount to help fund basic needs like food and shelter. The next annual fundraising cycle will begin on Sept. 14 with the kick-off of the 2009-10 campaign.

The mission of United Way St. Croix Valley is to unite communities, focus resources and inspire people to measurably improve lives in western Wisconsin.