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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If you were with us at the Isle, you know that we decided to switch things up a little with our campaign kickoff. We followed the trend of many other organizations and turned our fundraising kickoff into an actual fundraiser.

Knowing we were taking such a different approach from what we normally do meant we really had to come up with an out-of-the-box idea that not only excited our donors for the two-hour event, but also left them feeling excited about the upcoming United Way campaign in their workplace. We needed to capture the attention of our audience while also informing them of the need in our community.

Now, more than ever, we need to continue providing support to our students who may one day lead your workforce. We need to be there for our seniors who have been an integral force in our community and help them to continue to thrive and live independently. Our partner agencies collaborate every day to ensure seniors, children and their families are achieving their full potential. But what if we could do more?

The idea for offering our partner agencies mini-grants came from a United Way Worldwide training I had the pleasure of attending earlier this summer. The focus of the training was on fundraising, and I had the opportunity to learn from other resource development professionals working for United Way chapters across the country. Thanks to a colleague from Michigan, I learned about an event that utilized crowdfunding and the tech-popular start-up platform to help nonprofits begin new initiatives in their communities.

Why did Team United think this would be the perfect program to use for kickoff? We had a couple of reasons. First, it gave our partners an opportunity to share their ideas with our donors. We typically get about 10 minutes on average to update our donors with information during campaign season. Since we invest in over 30 partner agency programs, it’s impossible for us to share details about all of our programs in these short presentations. Sure, we highlight one every month in our newsletter and you can read more about them on our website, but donors are constantly telling us they also enjoy hearing directly from the source.

The second appeal of this new concept is it gave us a platform to demonstrate continuous need right here in Southeast Missouri. I tell people every day that I want to work myself out of a career. If there ever came a day where an organization like United Way and all of our partner agencies were no longer needed – it would be incredible. Unfortunately we aren’t quite there yet, but we’re still motivated to make this community the strongest it possibly can be. We gave three partner organizations the opportunity to share with our donors what would happen to their organization if they had just a little more funding. As it turned out, they could do some pretty incredible things.

The Boy Scouts of America utilize United Way funding to focus on giving “camperships” to students in our area who can’t afford to attend one of their summer camps. They believe in giving everyone the opportunity to have a full scouting experience, which is why they applied for a mini-grant that will pay for a troop in Jefferson Elementary School. The $500 they requested can pay for the materials and uniforms required to train 4 adults to lead 10 students on their scouting journey.

Linda Nash, Executive Director of Voices for Children/CASA, applied for a $1,000 grant to start a support group for foster students who are about to ‘age out’ of the system and graduate from high school. For any student, deciding what to do after high school can be challenging, especially in a day with so many opportunities. For the 20 or so students aging out of foster care, basic survival can be an even greater concern than attending college or trade school. The new support group will help these students become self-sufficient and productive members of the community and develop into individuals who are capable of meeting their own needs. The group will also allow them to gain the resilience and acquire the skills and education necessary to live independently.

Finally, the Community Caring Council (CCC) and Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Missouri collaborated to create the “Passport to Summer” initiative that will take place during the Boys and Girls Clubs’ 2018 summer camp. The goal of the program is to encourage students to engage in cultural, artistic, and community-focused events, building on the Key Developmental Assets of responsibility, the arts, and community taught by the CCC. The $1,000 grant will help cover the event and transportation costs for each student participating in the program.

We are extremely grateful to our donors at kickoff who stepped up to meet the need and make it all possible!

All it took was $2,500, the perfect kick-start to our campaign. If you can give just a little, that is just as fantastic. Every dollar invested into our organization goes a long way; we make sure of it. No matter the size of your gift, YOU make a HUGE impact in the lives of our families, friends, neighbors and coworkers. If every United Way donor in our region gave just one more dollar every year, it would be more than enough to make all three of these programs a reality every year.

Over the course of the next year, be sure you’re following us on social media and receiving our monthly newsletter so you can stay up to date on these new initiatives in Southeast Missouri.

It’s not just our community. It’s YOUR community. Together, we make it stronger. #LIVEUNITED

 

If you're interested in supporting these mini-grant initiatives, please click here to submit a donation.

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Donating my time to organizations was a huge part of my time at Southeast Missouri State. In fact, over the course of four years I probably volunteered at more than half of United Way’s partner agencies! There’s always something going on with our funded partners, and we do our best to update you all with their volunteer opportunities every month in our newsletter.

While I love promoting our partner programs and the incredible work they do, I’ve recently realized we’ve been neglecting our own volunteer opportunities. Did you know United Way of Southeast Missouri has 4 different committees you can serve on? That’s right, 4 unique and hands-on opportunities for you to get involved.

The best part? We’re seeking new volunteers for these committees right now!

Do you have an eye for videography? Or perhaps you know the best way to get your ad to stand out in the paper? Well, our Marketing Committee is the place for you to be!  This group meets once a month to strategize and execute the campaign advertisement plans for the year. In addition to the big drive, the group focuses on our Giving Tuesday and Give from the Heart plans alongside the resource development committee.

If you aren’t tapped into your creative side and prefer to crunch numbers, then you may be interested in joining our Finance Committee. This crew typically meets once every quarter, with the occasional extra meeting or two during budget season. They’re responsible for mapping out our expenses for the year and ensuring we stay within, or even under, our budget.

Our Community Investment Committee is a huge part of our United Way family. This is the group responsible for keeping track of where our allocable dollars are going and that our funded partners are utilizing their investments in the way they were promised. Every three years this group puts in the extra work to vet agencies applying for United Way funding. If you’re passionate about the impact United Way is making in the community, this is the committee for you!

Of course, we couldn’t make the difference we do without our network of businesses and investors who fund our organization. The Resource Development Committee meets monthly to identify and pursue new accounts and stakeholders for the annual campaign. This group hits the ground running and is instrumental in helping the United Way staff meet our financial goals for the year.

As our fiscal year winds down and we begin to gear up for the next campaign, it’s the perfect time for you to get involved! If one of the opportunities above sounds like something you want to be a part of, contact Kristin in our office to learn more information and sign up! 

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So far, United Way of Southeast Missouri has collected $76,000 for the people in Perryville impacted by the February tornado. Many people have asked how the funds are being distributed, and we are eager for our donors to know exactly how their dollars are being managed.

UWSEMO is one of many organizations represented on a Long-Term Recovery Committee (LTRC). Other members include The Salvation Army, The American Red Cross, First Call for Help, 211, the Perryville Community Foundation, Catholic Charities, and more.

A social worker from the Perryville community is meeting with each of the 58 families impacted to identify their needs and ability to meet them. Many families were well insured and, once their immediate needs were met, they are able to rebuild without needing much in the way of financial assistance. For those families and individuals who need additional help, the case manager brings the unmet needs to the LTRC, where we discuss which organization can help with each unmet need. Some are able to provide donated items, such as clothing, housewares and furniture; others, like UWSEMO, are able to provide funds.

Being involved in this committee is eye opening. There are so many details that must be managed, including responsible management of donations over a long period of time. With only 58 families registering with the case worker, the LTRC must be especially diligent in ensuring we are meeting needs and not carelessly dispensing funds.  I was surprised to learn funds from the Joplin LTRC still are being distributed five years after that community was devastated. Rebuilding takes time, and it does not apply only to physical needs. Children are especially traumatized following an event of this proportion, and we may identify emotional help that should be provided now and into the future.

Helping Perryville rebuild physically and emotionally will be a long process. Fortunately, United Way is a long-standing organization familiar with the patience and diligence needed to help families and individuals rebuild. Creating lasting change is what we do, even when the change is unplanned and unexpected. We and the people of Perryville remain incredibly grateful to our generous donors and volunteers. Thank you.

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If you missed our Community Celebration held April 13th, you missed the ceremonial closing of our 2016 community drive, which officially ends with our fiscal year, June 30. More importantly, we didn’t get to thank you along with many of our treasured volunteers, corporate investors, and area businesses that played a big role in helping us make a difference in the four counties we serve.

In years past United Way of Southeast Missouri (UWSEMO) and others in our network have focused on the amount of funds collected. While this is imperative to the work we do, we and many other nonprofits are choosing to communicate more about the impact we are able to make with those funds. Naturally, donors want to know just how their donations are helping, and we are excited to share the news!

Organizational goals for fiscal year 2016-17 included expanding our impact in other areas outside of our Cape Girardeau headquarters. Our Community Investment Committee chose several ways to support this goal:

  • Increase funding to the Boys and Girls Club to launch an after-school program in Scott City, which opened in January
  • Invest in a new 4-H leadership program in Scott County that provides career prep to junior and senior high school students
  • Support a food pantry in Bollinger County that helps an average of 40 families a month.

We also created awareness of need and the organizations that help meet community need through United Days of Caring. This event (UDOC) kicked off our community drive with a weekend of projects in every county we serve. They included building Habitat homes, helping women’s shelters, constructing Little Free Libraries, and collecting various supplies for families and students.

Team United Goals included an internal focus on strengthening relationships in Cape and beyond. We welcomed two new Jackson businesses to our list of workplace campaigns, Pepsi Mid-America and Liberty Utilities. We became regular members at meetings of ABCToday, a program of Big Brothers, Big Sisters implemented in all Cape Girardeau Public Schools. The first in the country to be district-wide, the program tracks the progress of every child in Attendance, Behavior and Coursework (ABC) and gives extra help to those not meeting the goal.

We also became members of the Perryville Chamber. At the time we had no idea how important this would become when the February tornado rocked this community. Because we already had established connections through our student fund in the schools and our Chamber membership, we were able to quickly establish an emergency fund that has netted over $67,000 with every dollar being returned to the recovering Perryville families. (For more about how these investments are determined, please see this month’s blog.)

These are just a few of the accomplishments we are proud to report, especially when 2/3 of our team members haven’t even been here a year! We couldn’t do it without the help and support of so many volunteers and donors. Thank you for helping us to strengthen our community!

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Helping the Heartland

Less than a month ago, a small, proud community just 30 miles from our office was visited by a tornado. Other writers use terms like “devastated,” “ripped apart,” and “shattered” to describe the impact left by a tornado. But that is not all that happened in Perryville, Missouri.

Yes, homes were ripped apart, belongings were shattered, and tragically, loved ones were devastated upon hearing of the one death and the loss of a son, brother, cousin, nephew. While this sadness is deep and life-changing, this community is just as complete and whole as it was a month ago, which is why I find myself using the term “visited” by a tornado.

People unknowingly traveling along Interstate 55 were unprepared for the cars from a nearby salvage yard that hurtled at them like missiles. Some families had warning and were able to dash into a cellar or cower in a bathtub. Even those with time to grab money, medications and, most importantly, family, had no way of preparing for what was coming.

Yet, somehow, they instantly knew how to recover and rebuild. Immediately, as we humans tend to do, people were digging, removing, lifting, helping, and providing any and all assistance they could deliver. As did United Way of Southeast Missouri.

We also quickly sprang into action, establishing an emergency fund and promising our donors that every penny donated would go right back into the community of Perryville. Thus far we have collected more than $60,000! While our hearts ache for the people in Perryville, they also swell with pride at the depth of care demonstrated by the giving people of this region.

Our partner agencies that excel during emergencies--First Call for Help, American Red Cross, and The Salvation Army—were there to meet the immediate needs. They provided hygiene items, clothing, food, water, information, and did their best to find housing in a place where temporary options are minimal. The funds donated to UWSEMO support these agencies and also will go toward long-range help through our investment in Perry County Schools.

We are one of many agencies that comprise a Long-Term Recovery Committee (LTRC) devoted to helping Perryville rebuild. Each family in need works with a case manager. These needs are brought before the LTRC to identify and deliver the required resources.

United Way also began collecting funds to help repair about a dozen homes in South Cape that were hit by high winds within a week of the Perryville tornado. Again, we are part of a LTRC working together to help our neighbors.

We know rebuilding will be a slow and painful process, especially for the people of Perryville. But we have no doubt this community has the courage, graciousness, and love for their city and neighbor to come through it even stronger than the winds that will never tear it down.

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