United Way of Southeast Missouri has had a strong focus on education over the last decade. You often hear us share stories and statistics on how impactful some of our after-school programming is for the students. The need for these programs doesn’t go away when the last bell rings though. Many of our partners are hosting summer sessions that you and your children can be a part of.

Read to Succeed

United Way is thrilled to share that our Read to Succeed program will be holding a special 6-week summer session starting in June! Students entering 1st-4th grade next school year are eligible to sign up for the free sessions. Students will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with volunteers in 30 minute sessions every Monday-Thursday.

This means the program is also in need of summer volunteers! More session information is available here, or interested parties can contact Robin Koetting directly.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Missouri

Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Missouri will host their “Passport to Summer 2018” summer camp again this year. Starting June 4th, the seven week day camp will give children the opportunity to play outside, tour places like the Arts Council and River Radio. The camp will also encourage children to work and play with their peers through fun, educational activities.

Learn more about the program and register your kiddos here!

Boy Scouts

It’s time to get weird and wacky with science! The Greater St. Louis Area Council is hosting their annual Cub Scout Day Camp again this summer at Cape County Park North. The week-long Day Camp will run from July 9th – July 13th, 8am – 3pm, with drop off starting at 7:15am.

Day Camp is open to all boys and girls in the community in grades 1-5. Boy Scouts promises to offer an unforgettable outdoor experience with activities such as shooting sports, STEM, hiking, fishing, and more! All youth entering 1st grade in the fall must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

If you have questions or are interested in registering your kiddos for the camp, contact Ashley Duerst or call 314-920-0621.

4-H

4-H Camp will be July 2-3 at Pinecrest Camp south of Fredericktown. This year’s theme is Survivor, with workshops consisting of wild edibles, line dancing, swimming, a challenge course, shooting sports, and crafts. There will also be a dance and field games.

4-H is offering quite a few opportunities for youth to stay engaged this summer! For more information contact Lesley Meier or Marsha Birk.

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We're Being Audited!

But not by the IRS. The thought of an audit puts the fear of God in many individuals and organizations, but most reputable nonprofits of any size will regularly request an audit, including United Way of Southeast Missouri. Having an objective, professional auditor review our cash flow and financial statements is just one of the many ways we work to demonstrate to donors they are investing in a reputable, trustworthy organization.

To add even more financial transparency and security of donor dollars we also:

  • Process every check request and payable/receivable through two internal staff members
  • Have a professional accounting firm manage our books (different from the auditor)
  • Ask a committee of community volunteers with accounting experience to review our quarterly income statements
  • Post our 990 on our website
  • Share our financial statements with anyone who wants to come view them.

This year’s auditor revealed:

“We noted no transactions entered into by the organization during the year for which there is a lack of authoritative guidance or consensus…We encountered no significant difficulties in dealing with management in performing and completing our audit.

In our opinion the financial statements (reviewed) present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of United Way of Southeast Missouri, Inc. as of June 30, 2017, and the changes in its net assets and its cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.”

Whew! We are rarely concerned but always relieved to have another successful audit behind us. Now we’re working on our budget for fiscal year 2018, which begins July 1. Our fiscal mission has not changed: maintain low operating expenses and grow donations so that we can invest even more into programs and agencies that strengthen Southeast Missouri. We couldn’t do it without you. Thanks, and keep up the good work!

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I serve as a member of United Way’s Community Investment Committee, which is made up of people from area businesses and organizations who genuinely care about the community and the wonderful work United Way is doing.  This committee is unique because we only meet quarterly, yet our group plays a huge role in the way United Way works.

Many know that United Way vets funded partner agencies once every three years. It’s quite a big undertaking and always proves to be eye-opening. It’s an opportunity for members of the Community Investment Committee, United Way staff, and the Board of Directors to learn more about the specific programs applying for support.

Once applications for funding have been received and reviewed, a determination is made based on goals and projected outcomes of the particular program.  Outcomes are extremely important and are reviewed on a regular basis by the committee to determine if they are on target.  Recently, our committee worked to streamline the outcomes reporting process which we felt was a critical component to continue receiving accurate program data.

While to some it may seem like we’re requesting more detail, we have actually compared previous reporting surveys against common questions United Way stakeholders ask to ensure we capture all the information needed to share the network’s story. Some of the reporting we request from partner agencies includes:

  • Breaking down the number of families, adults, and children served by county,
  • Listing three program goals and their specific results,
  • Any changes they may have seen in the programming, including barriers, new partnerships, staffing, and more,
  • and feedback from agencies so that United Way can better serve their agencies.

United Way has been near and dear to my heart for many years.  As a former staff member serving as the campaign director, I was able to immerse myself in not only the fundraising process but also in the allocations process.  Many of the programs and services provided by the funded partners wouldn’t be possible without the funding they receive from United Way. 

The committee will begin the next funding process toward the end of this year. I invite you to join us as we review applications, visit programming sites, and determine where United Way dollars will next be invested. It’s a great learning opportunity and a unique way to be involved!

- Kim Voelker, Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce

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Have you heard of Read to Excel?!  Optional headline: How’s this for a success story?

We know we’ve talked a lot about our new grant-funded literacy program this year, Read to Excel (R2X). And now we have some exciting data that prove the success of this program, designed to help students reading below grade level.

Many of our stakeholders had the opportunity to watch this video at our Community Celebration earlier this month. In short:

  • 61% of students in the program accomplished reading growth for the first year in just the first semester of R2X
  • 61% of students in the program scored above the national average of 13.5 for the first half of the year
  • 65% of students increased reading scores by one grade level.

Additionally, teachers stated reading confidence increased in their students, and they’re showing real excitement and enthusiasm for being a part of the program. Specifically, students enjoy the one-on-one time spent with the tutors.

Cape Girardeau Public Schools is an incredible community partner. They provided us with data called Lexile growth for the students at Franklin and Jefferson elementary schools and Cape Middle School. A Lexile measure is defined as “the numeric representation of an individual’s reading ability.”

Statistics indicate that students who are not reading at grade level by third grade are four times more likely to drop out before graduating high school. We knew it was critical to help the older students who were already a year, and in some cases, up to three years behind their peers in reading proficiency. We anticipated less impressive data for older students at the middle school; yet these students also made impressive gains. Their achievements for the first semester include:

  • 22%  of students in the program met or exceeded the Lexile Growth Goal for the year in the first semester
  • 51% of students in the program scored above the national Lexile Growth Goal of 44 for the first half of the year
  • 80% of students increased their Lexile Score.

The middle school program enhanced the school’s existing Tiger Book Club and is slightly different than our other reading programs for two reasons:

1) Students work in small groups of 4 or 5

2) These groups get to choose an age-appropriate novel to read together.

The majority of students in the program completed one full-length novel together, all while gaining confidence in their reading skills and becoming more comfortable reading aloud and with their peers. Because of the novels, students also were able to expand their vocabulary.

As with any new initiative, we faced some challenges, including student absences, minimal reading time, and school programming conflicts. These are all things we can work out as we continue to grow what is clearly a much needed and important program.

... but we need your help!

Our DeltaCorps grant that helped us launch this program has been eliminated. We are persistently exploring a wide variety of grants and other funding possibilities to keep this program going. United Way of Southeast Missouri stakeholders have time and time again demonstrated their dedication to ensuring our students are not only graduating, but are obtaining the skills they need to be successful in the workforce. Read to Excel is contributing to both causes.

If you are willing and able to donate a little, please consider doing so here. The option to designate your contribution to Read to Excel is the drop down box on the menu.

If you have ideas for obtaining significant funds, please contact Elizabeth Shelton via email, or by calling 573-334-9634. Our office is working diligently to ensure this programming continues to be available to our students.

On behalf of all the students in Read to Excel, the Live United team, and Cape Girardeau Public Schools staff, thank you for your dedication to our programs! Because of you, we are making a real difference in the lives of these children.  

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“Fundraising is not transactional. People give because of a connection.”

As someone who has a strong distaste for numbers and nearly all things mathematical, I have a love for statistics. Sometimes it’s enough to say that volunteering can help engage potential donors, but it goes a long way when we can back that up with research and firm numbers.

Did you know that someone who engages with United Way as a volunteer is seven times more likely to give in the future?

This single fact alone says enough about how important it is to begin engaging with individuals through more of a hands-on approach. Millennials are proof of this. While the workplace campaign model continues to be United Way’s most effective giving opportunity, as more donors move into retirement giving plans their workplace contributions aren’t being replaced by the younger generation.

One of my personal goals moving into our next campaign is to provide more opportunities for our community to gain a deeper, more individualized connection to United Way. How?

First we’ll continue to promote United Days of Caring as an annual event. This year’s two-day experience will take place on Friday, April 27th and Saturday, April 28th. Volunteers will have the opportunity to choose which project they want to get involved with, whether it be installing smoke detectors with The American Red Cross, working with Habitat for Humanity, or helping paint new stripes on the Lutheran Family and Children’s Services’ parking lot.

So why are we having a community-wide volunteer event on a Friday and Saturday? Studies show that when businesses promote volunteerism to their employees, it creates a stronger bond between the employee and the business. Is your management team looking for a teambuilding exercise? Does your sales staff need a break from making cold calls? United Days of Caring might be the perfect opportunity to help them engage with United Way.

Bill Stanczykiewicz was a keynote speaker at a United Way conference I attended earlier this month. He said, “Fundraising is not transactional. People give because of a connection.” So I ask, what’s your connection to United Way? What do you want your next connection to be? Who else can you help make that connection to United Way and our community?

Be sure to stay tuned for more information on UDOC, as well as more corporate engagement opportunities as we roll into the 2018 Campaign. United Way is here to create lasting change in our community, and we want you and your team to be a part of all the fun we have doing just that.

P.S. – Yes, that’s truly how you spell Bill’s name, now try pronouncing it!

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On Wednesday the community of Perryville will mark the one-year anniversary of a tornado that destroyed 42 homes, impacted 105 families and, more importantly, took one life. As a member of the Long-Term Recovery Committee (LTRC), I’ve had an opportunity to learn a lot about Perryville in the last year, mostly confirming what I’d already heard. Unarguably, this is a proud, tight-knit community of caring people.

Following immediate help from hundreds of citizens, volunteers and agencies, one of the first actions taken by a funding organization was from the Perry County Community Foundation, which chose to provide $1,000 gift cards to every family to help with immediate needs. Several families refused theirs, offering their share to others who might need it more. Many families, even after learning they were under-insured, refused to seek help from Jennifer Streiler, the professional case manager who has performed with a praiseworthy blend of compassion and equity.

Others have sought help with a wide variety of needs as they go about rebuilding their homes and their lives. Based on the recommendation of the LTRC, funds from United Way donors have contributed to back-to-school clothing and supplies, land surveys, siding, appliances, furniture, ground fill, and workshops to aid in emotional and financial recovery.

Exactly one year to the day, we will co-host with Catholic Charities and The Salvation Army an anniversary dinner for the families. Quite likely, this will be the last time these people come together specifically because of this disastrous event that provided so many lessons. Hopefully, a long-lasting one for these families will be that they are not in this alone. There are many people who care about them, including strangers near and far who physically came to help, and donors to our phone-a-thon the week following the tornado who called from as far away as Texas, Colorado and New York.

Advice our ‘tornado families’ want to share with others includes:

  • Take photos of everything in your home and store them somewhere safe and/or in the cloud.
  • Back up everything!
  • Visit with your insurers regularly to confirm and understand your coverage—be sure it covers the purchase of new items, not just the reimbursement for the item’s current value.
  • Prepare and update an emergency kit with a record of prescriptions and credit cards, first aid supplies, cash, water and food, glasses and/or contact lens supplies, a phone charger, and anything else you can’t do without for a few days.
  • And, perhaps more meaningful than anything, “Tell those you love how important they are to you every day, because you may not get another chance.”
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Change is certainly a word that this current United Way team is familiar with! Personally, I view change as a good thing. It’s an opportunity to welcome fresh ideas and to promote growth both within and outside of our organization.

No worries! Team United is still banded together and now has a collective 5 years’ experience under our belts. However, in case you missed it, we’ve had the opportunity to add a part-time administrator to our team and she’s been great. Cyndy has been instrumental in helping maintain our campaign data over the last few months. She also helps us with general bookkeeping, ensuring the office is organized and stocked, and so much more.

In Elizabeth’s article you can read more about the change happening around the Perryville storm last year. The Long-Term Recovery Committee has invested over $210,000 so far to help families with rebuilding costs, general basic needs, and even back-to-school expenses. YOUR continued investment in our organization is always making a difference and changing lives throughout Southeast Missouri.

Our partner agencies have seen some internal changes as well, and we wanted to take this opportunity to share the good news! By now, many know that former United Way employee, Melissa Stickel, has taken over as the Executive Director of the Community Caring Council. She is doing an incredible job of promoting collaboration and educating our community about the great work happening over in their office.

The American Red Cross – Cape Girardeau also welcomed a new director just before the holidays. Julian Watkins comes from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale where he worked as a staff attorney and was responsible for providing legal representation for students. Prior to SIUC, Julian served as an Assistant State’s Attorney for Pulaski County, owned his own law practice, and was founder to BuzzFetch Marketing, LLC. Julian comes to the Red Cross with excitement and energy and looks forward to growing this organization in our community. 

Another new face joining the United Way family is Allen Treece. Allen just recently started his role as the new Executive Director at Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Missouri. Previously, he served as the Executive Director of the Oscar Cross Boys & Girls Club of Paducah where he helped create tremendous growth. Allen has a passion for serving youth and helping kids fulfill their true potential, and looks forward to spearheading the continued growth of our local clubs.

On the other hand, we’re also seeing two executive directors pass on their roles as they enter retirement. Al Stoverink with Habitat for Humanity retired from the organization back in December. Al did an incredible job aiding families as they worked to get into their forever homes. Linda Nash has also announced her retirement from Voices for Children (CASA). Linda leaves the organization after being instrumental in its growth and continued success.

We want to congratulate Al and Linda on their retirement and thank them for their dedication! They’ve both truly left a mark and taught us all so much about not only their respective organizations, but also about what it means to be a team player and make a difference in our community.

If you see any of our new faces out and about, please be sure to welcome them to the community! We’re excited to see what our new faces bring to Southeast Missouri and to work with them in the coming years.
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The United Way 365 Small Business Giving Program is designed for smaller organizations that want to be a part of the United Way network, but may not have the resources to run a full-blown workplace campaign. For as little as a dollar a day, small business owners join a circle of individuals working every day to strengthen our community. 

How long has your business been in operation?

Our business has been in operation for over 38 years.

What services does your business provide?

We provide several avenues of insurance and financial planning options.

What do you enjoy most about working for a small business?

It is a business with a family atmosphere. Everyone that works here truly cares about one another and our clients. It's nice to work for a business where everyone enjoys coming to work each day.

What do you love most about this community?

What I enjoy most about this community is the optimism and support it has for small businesses and organizations.

Why do you choose to support your community through United Way?

I choose to support the community through United Way because the 365 campaign allows me to give directly to our community.

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Let's #GiveFromTheHeart!

“Generosity is a practical expression of love.” – Gary Inrig

 

Long-time donors may remember when our annual campaign began and ended in the fall, creating a three-month whirlwind of fundraising. While we still kick off in the fall and host many workplace presentations before November, our fundraising efforts are now year-round. We do this to accommodate some of our valued partners who prefer this time frame and also because it is more fitting to our mission.

We are here to unite people to resources in an effort to strengthen everyone in our community. Our partner agencies can attest to the fact that the need is 24/7/365. We can’t focus our efforts on a specific time of year and hope to be effective. Our community, your community, needs the help year round.

Although we host Celebration in the spring to publicly ‘end’ our community drive, we also have major events nearly every quarter. Celebration will be followed by United Days of Caring (UDOC), April 27-28; our 31st annual golf tournament will occur as it always does on the first Friday of June, then we will be back to an August kickoff, and a fall of workplace giving.

While our workplace giving model is still our most relevant source of income, many of our initiatives are designed to inform more people about our work, especially those who do not learn about United Way in their workplace. One relatively new event is held during the month of February and is fittingly termed Give From The Heart (GFTH). In its third year, the ‘Give from the Heart’ campaign is an opportunity for the general public, small businesses, restaurants, and other United Way partners to continue sharing our mission while collecting additional funds for the annual campaign.

This year’s mini-campaign will kick off on February 1, when a variety of area businesses and organizations will begin selling hearts to customers for a minimum donation of $1. We are very grateful to the following businesses that have already committed to sell hearts to their customers throughout the month. We hope many more will be added!

  • Alliance Bank
  • Ameren MO
  • Banterra Bank
  • Bloom
  • Canine Clipz
  • Catapult
  • Commerce Bank
  • Culver’s Restaurant
  • Cup ‘N’ Cork

 

  • First Midwest Bank
  • Fox 23/KBSI
  • Ground-a-bout
  • Heartland Custom Flooring
  • High Street Station
  • Innovative Orthodontics
  • Jackson Tire
  • Judith’s Antiques & Gung Ho Militaria
  • Kuts Plus
  • Missouri Running Company
  • Mousse Salon & Spa
  • Old Town Cape
  • Reed’s Metals of Scott City
  • Smokehouse 61
  • Southern Bank
  • The Bank of Missouri
  • United Land Title

 

Other businesses plan to donate a percentage of sales through share events. We hope you will show support to all of these businesses who help our community, even if you can’t get there on the date of our event.  

  • Five Below will donate 10% of sales made between February 4-10. This is a great opportunity to let your kiddos know about how easy it is to give back when they purchase from one of their favorite stores. Be sure to share this flyer when checking out!
  • On Valentine’s Day, make plans to visit Buffalo Wild Wings in Cape! 10% of lunch and dinner sales will be donated back to United Way.
  • If you love wings, check our Facebook page for share days scheduled at Wings Etc. in both Cape and Jackson (dates TBD).
  • Still keeping up with your New Year’s resolutions? Visit our friends at Missouri Running Company on Saturday, February 24th for their Purchase with a Purpose fundraiser benefiting our Give from the Heart campaign!

Finally, be sure to join us at one of the two trivia nights being hosted by Cup ‘N’ Cork! The first will be Saturday, February 10th at 6pm and the second on Saturday, February 24th at 6pm. Entry fee is $10/player and you can have up to 6 players on your team. Proceeds from the event will be donated back to United Way of Southeast Missouri.

Like Gary Inrig said in the quote above, “generosity is a practical expression of love.” While we gear up for a very pink, loving, and chocolate-filled February, let’s not forget to share the love with those in our community who need it most. 
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A Community Living United

Do you know about The People’s Shelter, ABC Today and Tiger Lilies? Perhaps you are more familiar with The Salvation Army, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Central Middle School. The latter all have programs United Way of Southeast Missouri helps fund, and the first three are all worthy programs we do not invest in but support by connecting others. So much occurs behind the scenes in our community that many people who are not involved in the nonprofit world are unaware of the ongoing collaboration by so many worthwhile organizations.

Just in the last two weeks a meeting with a local business owner introduced me to a new program for female students at Central Middle School called Tiger Lilies. It was developed by the same counselor who helped launch the Honorable Young Men’s Club. Although we are very involved in the schools, I had not yet heard of this program, so of course, it was not on my meeting agenda. But just days later I was able to direct the women of Zonta, interested in providing mentoring to young women, to Tiger Lilies.

United Way staff members serve on Big Brothers Big Sisters’ ABC Today network, which is in every school in the Cape school district. Through our workplace campaigns and corporate sponsors, we are able to help them acquire partners and prizes to reward students, and they help us find desperately needed volunteers for our early literacy programs. They work with other mentoring programs we support, including the Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and the after-school program we sponsor at The Salvation Army, which helped start the Back to School fair for all area students.

The People’s Shelter is a grass roots effort started by St. James AME Church to provide emergency housing during the bitterly cold nights our region recently experienced. While the group successfully utilized social media to rally volunteers and request aid, I first learned of them through our association with the Cape Girardeau Ministerial Alliance. Although their contributions have not been as public, numerous churches in the area have quietly contributed significant funds and services. In the first 48 hours the shelter was operating, United Way utilized our network to acquire large electric stock pots from a local caterer and the ingredients to fill them with hot vegetable soup for several days. United Way donors assisted many other community volunteers and businesses to provide food, clothing, bedding, and even transportation. Now we are working together to prepare in advance of cold weather and establish a process for these organizations to work together in helping our homeless out of the cold.

We also are part of a Community Housing Committee tackling affordable housing for low-income families and individuals. Many of our partner agencies, including Habitat for Humanity, First Call for Help and the Community Caring Council, also are represented.

Housing has been discussed at length in the Long-Term Recovery Committee meetings I attend in Perryville. Our participation in this group, which directs funding for the families impacted by the 2017 tornado, has opened doors to businesses and individuals who can help us grow our presence and offerings in Perry County, while helping its citizens.

Another group I visit when my schedule allows brings together agencies focused on workforce development. This is a key component of strategic plans in many of the communities we serve and will be discussed as we begin revising ours.

We frequently hear people bemoaning “Death by meeting,” but for the most part, the many meetings I attend every week reinforce the strength and value of our network, even to those agencies that are not a funded part of it. These meetings demonstrate our mission every day: to be the leader in uniting people with resources to build a stronger and healthier community.
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