For our 2019-2022 funding cycle, we have increased our number from previously supporting 24 partners and 34 programs to investing in 27 partners and 38 programs. These people and agencies provide services that join United Way’s fight for the health, education and financial stability of everyone in the communities we serve. United Way of Southeast Missouri serves the counties of Cape Girardeau, Bollinger, Perry, and northern Scott.

These partners and programs and the amount of United Way funding they will receive are determined by volunteers who represent our 4 counties, our three focus areas, our workplaces, and our donors. About 60-70 volunteers helped review more than 50 applications, conducted site visits, and listened to presentations. Then our Community Investment Committee had passionate discussion to determine where our donors’ dollars will have the greatest impact and provide recommendations to our board of directors.  

We are grateful for the commitment of these volunteers, not only for the help they give to our community, but for the very fact they alleviate my team and me from having to make these very difficult decisions. We truly wish we could give every worthwhile program every dollar they need to help the people of Southeast Missouri. But the requests for funding were twice the amount of funding we have.

Although United Way is a global organization, these decisions and these programs are local. They are based on where our donors’ gifts can do the greatest good right here in Southeast Missouri. It is important to remember that thanks to corporate investors, including Procter & Gamble, Mondi, Ameren Missouri and many more, 99 cents of every dollar given by individuals to United Way of Southeast Missouri stays right here and goes directly to programs and services that strengthen our community. 

United Way has a long history of giving help and hope. Many of the programs we support help people in dire situations. But the real power of the United Way network occurs when this collective group of partners tackles the issues that create the need in the first place. Rarely does one problem put a family in need of help, and rarely can just one organization return that family to stability and self-sufficiency. The collective power of the United Way network is what changes lives.

An example of this is with our education initiative. Ten years ago United Way of Southeast Missouri led an education coalition to address the graduation rate at our largest public high school. Through collaborative efforts of many community partners, the graduation rate has moved more than 20% points in the last decade and is on par with the rest of the state nearing 90%.

We will continue our focus on education by investing in previous partners with after-school tutoring at Cape Girardeau Public Schools and early literacy through Read to Succeed in Cape and Scott City. We will welcome our new partner in education, Meadow Heights Elementary, where we will support a backpack program like the one we invest in at Perry County Public Schools. Last year United Way invested in Emergency Student Funds in 15 public schools across our region to help students with glasses, prescriptions, dental work, and other obstacles to learning.  

We bolster our education focus through mentoring programs with returning partners: the Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, and 4H, while welcoming EPIC Pals, which uses puppy dogs to teach behavior modification, and Tiger Lilies, a program that helps young girls blossom into young ladies.

In this three-year cycle we have increased our commitment to health, continuing to invest in the Jackson Senior Center, where we help provide meals to help senior citizens remain independent. And we welcome new partner, the Oral Health Coalition that delivers critical dental care to all ages.

Our Income focus continues to support previous partners helping those who struggle to make ends meet, through First Call for Help, the Community Partnership, and The Salvation Army. But for the next 3 years our Community Investment Committee also allocated more dollars to help our neighbors become and remain financially independent by investing in the Semo Alliance for Disability Independence, SADI, and One City, which returns individuals to the work force who have been unemployed for periods ranging from 6 months to 10 years.

In Perryville we are proud to partner with the New Life Mission Inn Warming Center. Their approach really appealed to our Community Investment Committee, because the warming shelter they provide comes with counseling to address the factors that created the need for temporary shelter in the first place.

These are just a few of the many programs we are proud to partner with for the next three years, but ALL of them are required to return Outcomes. Each year our funded partners provide progress reports to our Community Investment Committee to ensure the money is going where it is intended and that it is making a difference. We just received outcomes for the past year, and we look forward to sharing data and success stories of the people our network has helped and the lives we have changed.

You can find a complete list of Returning and New Funded Partners here.

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United Way of Southeast Missouri is going “Over the Edge” on May 17 for the area’s first ever urban rappelling event. The local nonprofit has set an ambitious goal, hoping the event will raise $50,000 to help the citizens of Southeast Missouri, while challenging new volunteers and donors to give or go.

In partnership with Southeast Missouri State University, United Way invites the community to watch thrill-seeking “Edgers” rappel down Towers South, a 147-foot residence hall located on the university’s campus. While the Edgers chase the adrenaline rush, spectators on the ground below can enjoy yard games, refreshments and music during this all-day community event.

Anyone interested in descending Towers South is encouraged to go Over the Edge; no previous experience is necessary. Requirements include weighing between 100-300 pounds, and a minimum age of 14 is recommended with a parent or guardian present. Each Edger must raise $1,000 by May 17 to rappel.  

Daring participants can register individually or by forming teams of 6 and raising a collective $6,000. Edgers jump-start their fundraising when they register via the Over the Edge online platform, which requires $85. Once registered, Edgers can create personal pages on the fundraising platform to help them raise the money they need to rappel. Over the Edge and United Way are providing numerous webinars, tips, ideas, and resources to help every Edger reach or exceed the minimum goal.

Elizabeth Shelton, Executive Director of United Way of Southeast Missouri, explains, “We have been looking for new ways to engage our community, and this has been a very successful event in other areas. Instead of asking people to pay to attend a gala or auction, we are asking them to pay for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, while raising funds for people in our community who literally are living on the edge, struggling every day not to fall under the weight of finances, health issues, unemployment, and many challenges the United Way network fights every day.”

Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of SEMO, plans to go Over the Edge, as will Shelton. ‘Celebrity’ Edgers and announcers from local media are being recruited to participate, including Kathy Sweeney from KFVS12. Special rigging can even accommodate Rowdy the Redhawk and other area mascots, as well as individuals with physical challenges.

The event offers area businesses and organizations a variety of ways to participate in this unique fundraiser. Drury Southwest and Procter & Gamble are sponsoring the Landing Zones, and sponsorships are still available for helmets and ropes. Chartwells is sponsoring the Chicken Coop, an observation area at the event that provides free food and beverages to anyone too chicken to go but willing to give $100 to a team or Edger.

One tactic generating a lot of buzz is the “Toss the Boss” event. Workplaces can raise $1,500 to toss their boss Over the Edge. Any reluctant boss can delegate going over to another employee by matching what the employees raise.

Those who would prefer to keep their feet on the ground are invited to help run the ground activities. Volunteers can operate refreshment tents, take photographs of Edgers, work logistics, or supervise lawn games.

A few brave volunteers need to be stationed on the rooftop of Towers South to assist Edgers and technicians. Ropes volunteers also are needed and will receive four hours of training before the event. All ropes volunteers get the opportunity to rappel without having to raise funds.

More than 56,000 people have safely gone Over the Edge of nearly 400 buildings during 800 events. Towers South had to pass a safety inspection before being approved for the event, and adherence to all OSHA laws and SPRAT procedures is enforced. Over the Edge provides professional rope handlers and technicians to safely see all rappellers Over the Edge.

More info here; Register here.

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We're Giving Away Money!

Thanks to generous donors and accountable partners, we had some extra funds to invest and had a great time surprising some of our partners with them. See for yourself!

 

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Welcome Board Members!

The United Way of Southeast Missouri is proud to announce changes to its Board of Directors and the introduction of a new Advisory Council.

Recently, the board voted to reduce the size of the board, which at one time was up to 25 directors, and allow many to move to a newly created Advisory Council. The Council is made up of 30 members of the four counties served by United Way of Southeast Missouri: Cape Girardeau, Scott, Perry, and Bollinger. The Advisory Council includes area superintendents, mayors, chamber presidents, social service providers, nonprofit leaders, health facility representatives, as well as other community members who work in fields related to United Way’s key focus areas: health, education, and financial stability.

The Board of Directors meets monthly, while the Advisory Council will meet quarterly. Many board members who moved had been on the UWSEMO board for many years as ex officio members with no term of expiration. According to Elizabeth Shelton, Executive Director of United Way of Southeast Missouri, “This provides an opportunity for them to remain engaged with less of a time commitment. We still need their expertise and guidance, but some had been on the board for ten years with no term limit. It also makes for a more manageable board size.” Shelton added both groups of volunteers will be instrumental in assisting United Way with the development of a new strategic plan currently in process.

 

The Executive Committee for the United Way of Southeast Missouri is led by board president, Timothy Woodard, SEMO Market President for Commerce Bank. Tim has a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Illinois State University as well as a Master of Business Administration from Bradley University. Tim is a retired US Navy Supply Corps Lieutenant.

Tim has been involved with United Way since his first professional position with Commercial National Bank of Peoria. Through the years, Tim has served as a Loaned Executive, an Allocations Committee Member, a Team Captain, and a Board Member. Tim is active in the Cape Girardeau community and currently serves as board president for SADI (Southeast Alliance for Disability Independence) and the Treasurer and President Elect for the Dalhousie Homeowners Association, as well as being active in the Rotary Club of Cape Girardeau.

Vice President, Brandy McIntire, Account Executive at FOX 23 KBSI. Brandy graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in Mass Communication. She been active as a United Way Campaign Ambassador from 2013 until 2017. As a constant advocate for United Way, she volunteers in many ways, and has been helpful in finding sponsors. Brandy served as Campaign Chair in 2014. Brandy has been a member of the United Way Board of Directors for three years.

Treasurer, Jane Myers, Investor’s Club Development Representative, with The Bank of Missouri. A graduate of Barret Graduate School of Banking. She has been involved with the United Way for more than five years, volunteering on committees including the Finance committee. In addition to representing United Way as our Perryville Liaison, she has been an active board member for over five years.

Secretary, Dr. Quantella Anderson-Noto, Assistant Professor and Director of Hospitality Management in the Harrison College of Business, at Southeast Missouri State University. Dr. Anderson-Noto earned a Bachelor of Science degree in hotel, restaurant and tourism management from East Stroudsburg University, a master of tourism administration from The George Washington University School of Business and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri - Columbia.  As an active member of our community, she serves on the board of directors with the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau, KRCU Public Radio, Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce Women's Network.

New board members include Adrienne Henry and Adam Lorenz. Henry is the Real Estate Leasing & Development Manager for Drury Southwest, Inc. She has worked at Drury Southwest for 19 years after receiving her BS in Psychology from Southeast Missouri State University. She is the past treasurer and executive board member of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce and the current vice chairwoman of the Cape Girardeau Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Commission.

Lorenz is an area attorney and Founding Member of Lorenz & Lorenz, LLC.  He has been a member of the Missouri Bar for 16 years and a member of the Cape Girardeau County Bar Association for 5 years. In addition to providing advisory work for several local nonprofits, he sits on the Better Business Bureau Advisory Board and frequently lectures in the St. Louis area on real estate and land title issues.

Henry and Lorenz join remaining board members: Maureen Hodges, AT&T; Jack Geissinger, Plant Manager at Procter & Gamble; Phil Roop, Lead Pastor at Bethel Assembly of God; and Scott Meyer, City Manager for City of Cape Girardeau.
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Nearly 33,000 children, students, senior citizens and adults of all ages received help through United Way of Southeast Missouri during the organization’s 2017 campaign year of July 2017 through June 2018. According to Elizabeth Shelton, Executive Director, “We are preparing a comprehensive annual report, but as we begin our 2018 campaign we felt it was important to share early results with our donors and the rest of the community.”

United Way of Southeast Missouri (UWSEMO) fights for the health, education, and financial stability of everyone in Cape Girardeau, Jackson, Scott City, and Bollinger and Perry Counties. While the organization helps with emergency needs, their goal is to support programs that move individuals and families away from need toward independence and success in life.

Community volunteers that comprise the Community Investment Committee determine the programs UWSEMO will support and the percentage of funds each will receive. Annually, the group evaluates required outcomes from each program to ensure donor dollars are being used as intended. Recently, the group met to review outcomes from the 24 partner organizations that represent 30 programs and 6 Student Emergency Funds at public schools throughout United Way’s four-county footprint. Some of the results include:

  • 7,036 senior citizens remained healthier and in their own homes through support of older-adult programs from A.P.P.L.E, Hoover Center, Lutheran Family/Children Services, and the Jackson Senior Center
  • 288 students in Cape Girardeau and Scott City received literacy tutoring through Read to Succeed/Excel with most gaining a minimum of one reading level
  • 17,474 people were fed through Salvation Army’s Meals with Friends, Jackson Senior Center Meals on Wheels, and food pantries in Jackson, Scott City, and Bollinger County
  • More than 1500 individuals in the counties of Cape Girardeau, Bollinger, Scott and Perry received counseling from social workers helping to move them from poverty to financial stability.

Shelton explains that corporate sponsorships and a lean operating budget enable United Way of Southeast Missouri to invest $.99 of every $1.00 donated by individuals directly into the partners and programs working to change lives. Additionally, 99% of all funds collected remain in Southeast Missouri. The organization is required to send 1% to United Way Worldwide, which Shelton explains “provides global brand recognition, professional development, organizational training, and a peer network that is invaluable.”

United Way will submit a Request for Proposals (RFP) near the beginning of 2019 as the current three-year funding cycle will end next June. Organizations that desire funding and individuals interested in knowing more about United Way’s partners, programs, and results are encouraged to follow their social media and subscribe to the monthly newsletter via their website at www.unitedwayofsemo.org to receive the most current information and updates.
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This year’s campaign theme ‘UNITED WE FIGHT, UNITED WE WIN,’ created a lot of fun at our 2018 Campaign Kickoff luncheon, especially with Darren Burgfeld as our ‘ring announcer.’
 
Thanks to our Kickoff sponsor, Home State Health, our corporate investors, our workplace and individual donors, our 24 partners, and numerous volunteers, we raised $3,000 for mini grants, premiered the moving video KFVS12 generously helps us with every year, closed with some exciting news about a one-of-a-kind event coming in May (details on that in next month’s issue) and shared some powerful data on the collective impact of the United Way network.
Each year our partner agencies and programs must provide an Outcomes report of how they invested United Way funds and the impact they made. Our Community Investment Committee of volunteers from the region reviews these Outcomes. This same group will review the requests for funding when we begin that process again in 2019 and determine which programs we will invest in that support our fight for health, education, and financial security for everyone in the four counties we serve for 2019-21.
Here are some of the impressive results from our 2017-18:
  • Collectively, the 24 partners and 30 programs that comprise the network of United Way of Southeast Missouri touched 32,964 lives: infants, children, students, working parents, senior citizens, and struggling individuals of all ages.
  • We helped 17,474 people in Cape Girardeau, Jackson, Scott City, and Bollinger County by supporting Meals with Friends at the Salvation Army and food pantries with the Jackson Ministerial Alliance, the Scott City Ministerial Alliance, and Little Whitewater Baptist Church.
  • Our support of APPLE, the Hoover Center, Lutheran Family & Children’s Services, and the Jackson Senior Center helped more than 7,000 senior citizens remain healthier and in their own homes. 
  • Our collaborative education initiative involving numerous partners, community organizations, and businesses helped to increase the graduation rate at Central High School from 68% to 88.9% in 9 years, impressively near our 10-year goal of 90% by 2019.
  • Emergency Student Funds in public schools in Cape, Jackson, Scott City, Scott County, Perryville, Woodland R-IV, even Southeast Missouri State University enabled students in need to stay in school when financial emergencies like eyeglasses, prescriptions, a winter coat or dental care could have kept them home or caused them to drop out altogether.
  • Generous volunteers tutored 288 students in Cape and Scott City through Read to Succeed, enabling 70% to gain a minimum of one reading level, some significantly more, and most importantly, moving some students from reading many grade levels behind to reading on level with their peers.
As you can see, it doesn’t take a village. It takes everyone who fights with United Way: businesses, schools, churches, community groups, funded partners, and you. For every person in our community to be healthy, educated, and financially secure, it takes everyone to LIVE UNITED.
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We're Halfway There!

I’m continuously amazed by this community.

At last year’s kickoff event three partner agencies were chosen by volunteers to pitch mini-grant ideas to a room full of United Way donors. The introduction to this concept was a huge success, with 150 individuals contributing $2500 during lunch; so we decided to try it again in 2018.

The guidelines for the process are pretty simple: the maximum amount rewarded per project is $1,000 with the understanding the project would be an extension of or complement to the initiative United Way already funds. Additionally, last year’s recipients couldn’t apply for the same project.

Safe House for Women was this year’s first presenting partner. With their $1,000 grant, they’re hoping to provide “safe phones” to their shelter clients. The program is currently funded through Verizon, but is scheduled to end in December.

The Safe House clients utilize these phones to contact social service agencies, employers, and additional resources to help them through the process of transitioning out of the shelter.

Boy Scouts of America continues to collaborate with other organizations in Southeast Missouri. Their previous mini-grant launched a troop at Jefferson Elementary School. Now they’re hoping to collaborate with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Missouri to bring Scouting to their after-school and summer programs.

In addition to providing students with outdoors and service experiences, Scouts proudly incorporates various STEM activities into their curriculum. These skills and experiences are ones that many at-risk youth in our community are not otherwise provided.

Finally, First Call for Help and the Community Caring Council sought funding to aid families in our community who are going through difficult times.

The Family Transition Team consists of caseworkers from our partner organizations and others who come together when all other resource options have been explored. The group ensures that clients who may need a hand up, like steel-toed work boots to begin a new job or eyeglasses to complete an application, are able to resolve their issues without further stress.

Over the last year, United Way of Southeast Missouri has been able to touch the lives of nearly 33,000 individuals, children, and senior citizens in our community. But the need doesn’t end there. The mini-grant program is our way of helping partners get a jump start on new initiatives that can further their reach and go beyond the goals of their original programming guidelines.

At Thursday’s kickoff luncheon, we were able to raise half of the $3,000 needed to fund all three initiatives mentioned above. Will you join our fight by donating just $10? Click here to make your pledge now. Thank you for Living United.

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For many months we have been diligently (and somewhat desperately) exploring ways to fund Read to Excel after learning the DeltaCorps grant that launched it last year was being eliminated.

Enter the Kiwanis to the rescue!

After we shared program data and stories of the students’ success at a recent Kiwanis meeting, this kind-hearted group chose to fund Read to Excel in its entirety! We had pared it to the bare bones, cutting it from two site coordinators to one, and reducing the number of students and reading sessions. Now, with additional help from Zonta and Cape Girardeau Rotary we are able to move forward and add back more students and sessions!

Read to Succeed, which also began with a federal grant in 2012, is designed to encourage new readers as they learn this critical skill. Read to Succeed receives significant support from individual donors and the Cape Girardeau Public Schools. Read to Excel was created at the request of many teachers to target older, struggling readers. Although it is an extension of Read to Succeed, we had to create a new program with a new name to meet the grant requirements.

As we move forward, we will roll Read to Excel into Read to Succeed, sharing the name and new logo. Not only is this less confusing for our schools and volunteers, but both programs now include students in kindergarten through sixth grade who read below grade level. We also chose to update the logo to indicate the real beauty of this program: one-to-one tutoring for students from valuable volunteers.

Our donors fund many valuable programs, which we proudly share at every opportunity. We are ‘over the moon’ to welcome both financial and volunteer support from the Kiwanis. Truly, without you this program would not be possible. Schedules for 1:1 tutoring at elementary schools in Cape and Scott City still are being formed, along with the times for Tiger Book Club at Central Middle School. Interested volunteers can still register and provide their preferences for when the schools finalize the schedules. Email Robin.koetting@unitedwayofsemo.org or call United Way at 573-334-9634.

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Last year, over 150 United Way supporters came together to raise $2,500 in less than 30 minutes. The results? Three new local programs that helped nearly 200 area youth.

Boy Scouts of America presented a proposal to donors to start a pack at Jefferson Elementary, where 9 out of 10 students qualify for free or reduced lunch. This $500 grant provided the six participating scout’s registration costs for an entire year of scouting, a troop leader, and many unique experiences to help the scouts grow in the program.

In addition to fulfilling their Bobcat Badge requirements, the youth went camping for the first time this summer, something many had longed to do. Giving back is important to this young group, and they’ve spent the year completing service projects such as cleaning up Capaha Park and sending care packages overseas to our armed forces.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Missouri and Community Caring Council partnered to bring at-risk youth a international experience this summer. The Passport to Summer program connected roughly 115 youth to various community events this summer and to CENET, Cultural Exchange Network.  Students spent several weeks learning about the cultures of different countries, culminating with a small fair to celebrate the traditions of the countries spotlighted in the program.

Voices for Children was the final mini-grant recipient selected by our community investment committee. With their additional $1,000, they were able to start a support group for foster teens about to age out of the system. Leaving high school can overwhelm many students, especially those with no family or financial support.

The group consisted of 22 high school aged youth. Together, they went through financial coaching, developed workforce skills, improved their study habits, and built confidence as they moved into this next chapter in their lives.

United Way continuously utilizes our network of partners to build lasting solutions to the toughest problems. We’re still moved by how much work could be done for area students with just $2,500.

We’re excited to showcase three new programs at our Kickoff this August! As many of you know, the need in our community never stops, but thanks to donors like you, we’re able to make a difference for our friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and peers every day.

We hope to see you at kickoff on August 23rd! Tickets are $30/person or $240/table of 8. This provides 6 seats for your group or company and 2 seats for members of our partner agencies who are excited to share more stories like these. Please RSVP to Kristin via email or by calling 573-334-9634.
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When you know the answers, which are at the end of this article, it becomes quite obvious that we simply could not accomplish all that we do without valuable help. If you’re interested, now is the time to get involved as we begin a new fiscal year July 1 and kick off our next campaign August 23.
 
Some of the changes we are excited to report for the coming year include our new Executive Committee leading our board. These members are: Tim Woodard, President (Commerce Bank); Brandy McIntire, Vice President (KBSI/Fox23); Jane Myers, Treasurer (The Bank of Missouri), and Quantella Noto, Secretary (Southeast Missouri State University). These volunteers devote a minimum of 4 hours a month to our organization, and we are grateful for their leadership.
 
We also are forming an Advisory Council of area representatives from the four counties we support who are knowledgeable in each of our focus areas—Education, Income, and Health. We won’t list all 24 of them here, but they include education administrators, city leaders, members of partner agencies we support, and former board members. Information from this group will be instrumental in guiding our Strategic Plan, which is being revised this year. You, too, are a critical part of the process.
 
A key element of our Strategic Plan is to obtain feedback from our community and those we serve. When you receive a link to a survey in the next few months, please take the time to give us your opinion. We exist to serve Southeast Missouri; we must know the needs of our citizens and how you believe we should address them.
 
This campaign and fiscal year also ends our three-year funding cycle to our current partners. Although 2019 seems far away, all too soon we will send Requests for Proposals (RFPs) open to all agencies and services that support our mission. With the help of many volunteers, we will go through the meticulous process of reviewing and ranking applications. If you are interested in helping with this process, let me know. Please forward this to potential volunteers and organizations seeking funding, so they can become familiar now with the work we do, the work our strategic plan reveals we still need to do, and what we will be looking for when the time comes to identify future partners and programs.
 
As you can see, we have a lot of excitement occurring this year, and there will be more to come! Thanks for joining us in the fight to Live United!

Video Answers:

1. 3

2. 63

3. 2,810

  

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