Quick Guide: Year-End Giving

5 Tips to Give More and Save More Before 2018

We remain genuinely grateful for the donations of time and treasure we receive from the thousands of people who support United Way of Southeast Missouri. You are the foundation of this organization, and together we are changing lives.

If you would benefit from a year-end charitable donation, here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

  1. Charitable contributions only offer tax benefits to those who itemize their tax return.
  2. Most publicly traded securities purchased more than a year ago that have increased in value can be donated without paying capital gains tax. The greater the appreciation, the greater the tax savings. Your tax deduction increases, because it is based on the full value of the stock, not just the gain. This means you give less to Uncle Sam and even more to your community by donating to United Way!
  3. We also gladly accept cash, checks and credit cards. Be sure your credit card is charged or your check is postmarked no later than December 31, 2017, to receive the deduction for the past year.
  4. You are welcome to designate to your favorite cause, but an unrestricted gift allows us to put your money where it is most needed.
  5. If you want your investment to go to a specific cause, ask your financial advisor about creating a Donor Advised Fund (DAF). This allows you to take an immediate deduction, but gives you more time to decide how you want to direct your investment. If you don’t have a financial advisor, please contact me; we have several members on our Finance Committee who can help create a DAF that will benefit you and the people of Southeast Missouri.

Whether you Give, Advocate or Volunteer, many thanks to everyone who supports our community. The impact we make with our partner agencies and programs could not happen without your help. We wish you a 2018 full of health and prosperity.

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'Tis the Season of Giving

Black Friday is followed by Small Business Saturday, which precedes Cyber Monday, and many businesses remain open on Thanksgiving! As the newspaper becomes burgeoned with flyers and the airwaves promote holiday sales, it is easy to get caught up in the season of spending, rather than the original spirit of giving thanks and giving back. I’d like to remind you of two very easy ways to do both.

Amazon donates a percentage of every sale to the charity of your choice if you enroll in Amazon Smile, a very easy, painless process. Simply visit https://smile.Amazon.com and enter United Way of Southeast Missouri or your preferred charity. From that point on, log onto Amazon Smile to shop, and the donation is automatic. You also have the option of changing your charity at any time. Amazon will even remind you to go to Amazon Smile if you forget the next time you shop. You pay nothing extra to give as you spend.

Another way for you to give back this season is to support Giving Tuesday, a global movement now in its fifth year. Following Cyber Monday, this year Giving Tuesday falls on November 28. United Way of Southeast Missouri is using this opportunity to raise funds to ‘Save Our Students’ (SOS) by donating to emergency student funds in our public schools and at Southeast Missouri State University. The SOS funds help provide necessities to keep students focused on learning. Items include eyeglasses, lunch money, winter coats, and other necessities for students in public schools in Cape Girardeau, Jackson, Scott City, Perry County, and Bollinger County, as well as gas money, testing fees, and other assistance at the university.

There are many ways to donate on Giving Tuesday—via our social media, our website, by text, by calling our office or mailing a check. Donations may be made to a specific school or simply marked SOS. Please visit www.unitedwayofsemo.org/ for more information.

We are challenging community members to donate a percentage of what you will spend on holiday food and gifts to those students who, through no fault of their own, need your help. Our community is your community, and your community needs you. Thank you for choosing to give back. May your holidays be filled with more blessings than calories!
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Time to Give & Receive!

'Tis better to give than to receive, but when you make a year-end donation to United Way, you can give and receive at the same time!

Through our workplace campaigns, we are fortunate to receive year-round donations we invest into 24 agencies in Southeast Missouri. But nearly 33% of annual giving occurs in December with 28% taking place in the last three days of the year. For some donors, the tax benefits hold the greatest appeal, while others simply get into the spirit of giving. If you are considering a year-end gift, here are some benefits to keep in mind:

  • You can donate most publicly traded securities without having to sell them first, eliminating the capital gains tax. We have some very generous donors who gift valuable stock annually that gives them a tax reduction and puts thousands of dollars back into our community.
  • When you contribute to a public charity like United Way, you can give up to 50% of your adjusted gross income.
  • You must make itemized deductions to receive the tax benefit, which must be more than the standard deduction.
  • 99% of your gift will stay in our region, benefiting children, families, and seniors in 34 programs we fund.

Of course, we are not tax experts, so be sure to consult a qualified advisor. And if you don’t need a tax break, you can still recommend a United Way donation to your friends who do. Above all, enjoy a safe holiday season with those who matter most to you. 

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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?

SOTO Property Solutions has been in business for nine years.

What services does your business provide?

SOTO Property Solutions assists real estate investors in achieving their goals with real estate whatever those goals may be.  SOTO Property Solutions specializes in the forward planning and management of clients rental property and is dedicated to the clients they serve.  SOTO Property Solutions is a full service property management company providing services such as collecting rent, assuring landscaping is kept clean, coordinates all interior and exterior maintenance and repairs and plans and coordinates all capital improvements for clients’ properties.  SOTO Property Solutions also helps clients with buying and selling real estate to improve their portfolio. 


As a landlord, SOTO Property Solutions works with tenants to ensure a satisfactory experience.  We start by listing all our vacancies on our website with pictures along with all the details consumers are looking for.  The application and move in process are smooth.  Once a tenant with us, we answer maintenance issues in a timely manner, have an emergency phone line so tenants can even reach us during non-business hours and tenants can conveniently submit maintenance requests and rent payments online

What do you enjoy most about being a small business owner?

Zig Ziglar says, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough people get what they want.”  Being a small business owner gives us the chance to do just that. Being a small business, we have the freedom and flexibility to work with our customers to meet their unique needs.  It’s very rewarding to help people reach their goals.

What do you love most about this community?

Being relatively a newcomer to Southeast Missouri, it has been amazing how friendly and supportive people are.  It didn’t take long to build relationships with fellow business people. 

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

I support United Way because of their reputation and the broad reach and knowledge of the needs of Southeast Missouri.  I could contribute directly to an individual charity, but going through United Way, I know the money is going to the best programs out there.

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Chances are you’ve heard of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. These infamous days kickoff the holiday shopping season for so many individuals across America, but isn’t something missing? After all… we’re entering the season of giving.

United Way of Southeast Missouri has joined #GivingTuesday, a global movement that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy. This year, #GivingTuesday occurs on November 28th to kick off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their community and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.

A small yet impactful piece of the United Way puzzle here in our region is our Student Emergency Funds, established in 5 public school districts and at Southeast Missouri State University. These funds have been vital in providing assistance with basic needs to help keep students focused on learning.

The following story was provided by one of our local Children's Fund Coordinators:

“Upon returning to school on a Monday, I was made aware of a local family that suffered a house fire over the weekend. This family was a blended family with 6 children in the home and 4 of them attended school in our district. They had lost everything and had nothing but the clothes on their backs. They received funding from the Red Cross that they used to pay rent on a neighboring home until they could secure permanent housing. Our school staff was very generous in donating household items and food for this family, but there were so many things that were lost and the need was great.   

Thanks to our Children's Fund we were able to purchase clothing for all 6 of the children in the family as well as school supplies for the school-aged children.  With this funding we were able to get the children back in school so that they could start returning to a normal routine, which helped to reduce their anxiety and stress.”

In addition to household items and food, student emergency funds have provided the following across our four-county service area:

  • Shoes
  • Winter clothes and coats
  • Eyeglasses
  • Dental care
  • Utility assistance
  • Food and school supplies
  • Testing fees

This #GivingTuesday, we're asking our community to give a special gift to area children who need a small hand-up. It’s very hard for students to focus on learning when they are not dressed for cold weather, haven’t eaten all weekend or need glasses or dental care. All gifts made under this link will be designated to our Children's Funds in five public school districts. The fund is managed by a nurse or counselor at each school with input from faculty and staff. Please consider making a contribution to help our students reach their full potential. 

 

How can you get involved and help #SaveOurStudents?! 

• Donate! All donations made through this link will be designated to our student emergency funds. Home State Health has also agreed to match all donations made on #GivingTuesday to support our students even further. 

• Dine! On Tuesday's in November, you have the opportunity to donate to United Way anytime you place an order through Cargo Carryout. Be sure to use code: liveunited upon checkout. Also, on Tuesday, November 28th, IMO's in Jackson and Perryville is donating 10% of sales to our cause!

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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?

One year.

What services does your business provide?

Social media management, graphic design, smartphone notification services (reach), target audience advertising, video production, and business marketing and consulting.

What do you enjoy most about being a small business owner?

I love the opportunity to help other small businesses succeed by utilizing our social media platform with our audience of 65,000+.

What do you love most about this community?

What I love most about this community is how willing people are to help each other. Our growing populace never fails to come together for those in need.

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

Because together, we can make lives around us better.

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When partner agencies report outcomes to the Community Investment Committee, they’re asked to share a story that our marketing committee can utilize as well. While every story shared tugs at the heartstrings, one stood out in particular to us this year.

 “Mary* lost her MO Rx Senior discount back in June, as did much of the senior low income population.  She needed assistance due to the high cost of the drug, Azilect, prescribed for her Parkinson’s disease. Mary feared that without assistance, she would no longer be financially stable due to the cost of the medicine. It was feared she would need assistance with paying her rent each month, in turn eventually making her unable to afford a place to stay. A.P.P.L.E. staff members found the manufacturer’s pharmacy assistance program and assisted her in filling out the application and gathering the information requested by the program. Recently, the program learned Mary was approved for assistance and no longer has to worry about adjusting her budget to pay full price for her needed medication.”

September is always a busy month for United Way and our partner agencies. Schools are finishing up the first quarter of the year, the holidays are fast approaching and campaign season is in full force. The popular Safe House Vintage Now Fundraiser is being planned, Scouting organizations have organized new troops, Read to Succeed volunteers have started working with local students, and Lutheran Family & Children’s Services have identified houses for their annual holiday home tour. Another organization that continues to have a busy fall is A.P.P.L.E. Paperwork Services, although it may not be something United Way donors and community members are aware of.

A.P.P.L.E. is a comprehensive paperwork service whose goal is to help older adults maintain independence and a good quality of life. They do so by providing seniors 60 and over with counseling, advocacy, education, and direct assistance with their paperwork needs.

Currently, A.P.P.L.E. is gearing up for Medicare drug plan open enrollment. This is an opportunity for individuals to look at their current drug plan and others available to determine what works best for their needs. Thanks to United Way donors, A.P.P.L.E. plans to host events throughout Southeast Missouri that are open to the public and provide assistance when looking at the various Medicare plans.

The following sites take walk-ins only. For the events please bring a list of prescription medications, the dosage and how many times a day it’s taken as well as your Medicare card.

  • October 19 at the Perryville Senior Center 4 N Spring St in Perryville 10am
  • October 24 at Hoover Center at Southeast Missouri State University 1pm(private)
  • October 25 at the Altenburg Senior Center 200 Church St in Altenburg 1030
  • October 26 at the Cape Senior Center 921 N Clark St, Cape Girardeau 10am
  • October 31 at the Jackson Senior Center 2690 Travelers Way, Jackson 1030am
  • November 7 at the Scott City Senior Center 105 W Hickory, Scott City 1030
  • November 8 at Jackson Senior Center 32690 Travelers Way, Jackson 1030
  • November 16 at Perryville Senior Center 4 N Spring St in Perryville 10am

In-office appointments can be made by contact the A.P.P.L.E. office at 573-651-5467.

*Names were changed for confidentiality purposes.
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You’ve probably heard a United Way representative mention, “money raised here stays here.” As a member of a global organization, we take pride in being able to invest 99% of funds raised right back into Southeast Missouri. It’s something that’s important to us as stewards of your money and for you as a donor to be aware of as you choose where to invest your hard earned dollars.

While this transparency and stewardship is important to all donors, those who give through the workplace and those who give individually, we want to take the time to recognize one group of donors who take the term, “keeping it local” to heart: our small businesses.

They line the streets of downtown Cape Girardeau, can be found staggered around uptown Jackson and wrap around the Perryville square. There’s no question that locally owned businesses are a vital part of our region. As an organization focused on strengthening Southeast Missouri, we find it important to create an easy, worthwhile giving platform for business owners to support the community that continues to support them.

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.

Just $1 for 365 days can…

  • Provide transportation for 20 individuals seeking employment.
  • Supply tutoring materials for 52 struggling students.
  • Assist senior citizens unable to manage it on their own with checkbook management, bill writing, and other paperwork.
  • Provide one family with desperately needed hygiene items for a year.
  • Give a book per month to 8 low-income families, frequently providing the only books they will have to build lifelong literacy for their children.

Additionally, businesses who commit to the 365 Giving Program will be spotlighted on United Way social media pages and on our blog. Your company logo will also appear on the Small Business page of our website to demonstrate your support. Finally, we’ll do a small business raffle at our Community Celebration in April, where one lucky business will win a $500 advertising package sponsored by River Radio!

Join us in promoting lasting, positive change. We invite all small business owners to invest in their community and future workforce by joining the United Way 365 Small Business Giving Program. It may be one of the smartest investments you make and yield the greatest return!

For more information on how you can get involved, contact Kristin Funderburk at 573-334-9634 or via email.
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There is nothing that compares to the look that comes over a child’s face when ‘the light bulb comes on.’ I have seen that look of pure joy in the face of a beginning reader when all of the sounds and letters he has been practicing finally come together and comprehension occurs. When a child realizes he or she is reading, the proud moment ranks up there with riding a bike on two wheels! This is a memorable moment for our students, which also brings a lot of joy to our Read to Succeed volunteers.

Read to Succeed and Read to Excel are literacy programs fostered by United Way of Southeast Missouri. Read to Succeed (R2S) has been serving students in kindergarten and 1st grade since it rolled out to all Cape Girardeau public elementary schools in 2012. Data indicate students who were involved in R2S when the program first launched have the highest reading proficiency of any K-6 cohort. All participants average a gain in reading proficiency of one and one-half years.

Read to Excel (R2X) is a new program funded through a DeltaCorps grant from the Delta Regional Authority. R2X serves 2nd, 3rd & 4th grade students at two elementary schools as well as 5th & 6th grade students at Central Middle School. R2X targets a select portion of students reading at roughly one grade level below their current grade to strengthen reading skills and bolster self-confidence. As with R2S, progress will be monitored throughout the program and measured by pre- and post-assessments.

As the R2S Program Manager, I am privileged to get to read with kiddos at all of the schools on a daily basis. There is no better feeling than to witness a child's "ah-hah" moment. It gives you, as a volunteer, such a sense of pride and accomplishment. To be there to help celebrate with that child when they finally get it is like no other feeling. Knowing that you have helped a child further their reading skills, which in turn, will further their educational abilities, is so rewarding!

I highly encourage current volunteers to spread the word of the positive impact the program has, and I encourage those who have not yet worked with the program to volunteer today!

To learn more about volunteer times feel free to email Robin Koetting, Read to Succeed Program Manager, or contact our office at 573-334-9634.

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It’s no secret that the people in Southeast Missouri are generous and want to do all they can to support their community. Earlier this year, we came together to help our neighbors in Perryville affected by an early spring tornado. More than $70,000 was raised by our organization alone to help aid the families impacted. Months later, the community is still rallied together to ensure that those affected have the support they need as students go back to school, holidays approach and building projects begin. This generosity is the reason it came as no surprise to hear local businesses wanted to do their part to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Thousands of individuals living in the Gulf Coast have been forced to leave their flooded homes. They’ve lost everything they own due to days of continued rain. Across the country we’ve seen communities spring into action to help fellow Americans in Texas and Louisiana. Recently, we’ve had a few Southeast Missouri groups contact us about what items they can collect and where donations can be sent.

Unfortunately, collecting and sending food, clothing and other household items can do more harm than good. Volunteers are working around the clock to ensure families are evacuated from flood waters and have access to shelter and food. It takes a lot of time and money to store, sort, clean and distribute donated items, which diverts limited time and resources away from helping those most affected. The best way to support disaster victims is with a financial donation.

United Way of Southeast Missouri, a local affiliate of United Way Worldwide, understands your desire to help and wants to do our part to support you. United Way Worldwide has launched a national United Way Harvey Relief Fund. According to United Way Worldwide (UWW):

  • The fund was established in response to individual and corporate donors who are looking for one, simplified place to impact the entire affected area.
  • 100% of all money raised will be distributed to the affected United Ways for community needs. No individual donations will go toward administration and overhead at UWW.
  • UWW is working directly with affected United Ways in Texas and Louisiana to distribute the funds in an equitable manner.

If you are interested in volunteering, The American Red Cross is currently recruiting and deploying volunteers. According to a release sent by the organization, The American Red Cross of Eastern Missouri has around 50 volunteers who are in Texas or on their way. At this time, they are focused on deploying registered and trained volunteers. The best way to get involved is to register and start your training so that you’re ready if/when the call comes.

The Red Cross is holding a training this Saturday in their Cape Girardeau office located at 2430 Myra Drive. The training will run from 10:30 am - 11:30 am. Those interested in volunteering may also visit www.redcross.org/volunteer-interest-form

Hurricane Irma Update - 9/11/2017

From United Way Worldwide: "The U.S. Virgin Islands suffered catastrophic damage, mainly in St. Thomas and St. John. United Way of the U.S. Virgin Islands has set up a disaster fund and is currently accepting donations. The Turks & Caicos Islands also suffered massive damage. We will be assisting them on disaster recovery plans. Both Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic suffered building damage, flooding and power outages in certain parts of the islands. Fondo Unidos de Puerto Rico is supporting the Red Cross on recovery efforts, including providing their 2-1-1 service.

We also wanted to let you know that, similar to Harvey, United Way Worldwide is launching the United Way Irma Recovery Fund. Here are a few quick facts about the Fund:

  • This is a response to individual and corporate donors who are looking for one, simplified place to give and impact the entire affected area.
  • 100% of individual donations given to the United Way Irma Recovery Fund will be used for recovery efforts in the affected areas.
  • The money will be distributed to local United Ways in the affected areas of the Southeast United States, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and trusted partners in other affected areas of the Caribbean.
  • We are working with affected United Ways on distributing funds in an equitable manner.

To give to the Recovery efforts or find more information, please visit unitedway.org/recovery. You can link to the donation form here. In order to keep it as simple as possible for donors, there is one give page, and they can select to support (1) Harvey, (2) Irma, or (3) the hurricane-affected region where it’s most needed. From there, you can find links to specific information about the United Way Harvey Recovery Fund and the United Way Irma Recovery Fund, with more details on each storm and the individual local United Way funds."

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