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:

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2. 63

3. 2,810

  

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School Supplies Drive!

Picture this: over 50 businesses coming together to hand out supplies and host activities; free lunch served to over 1,200 individuals; thousands of various school supplies donated by over 20 local communities; and thousands of area students going back to school prepared to do learn.

Thanks to some pretty incredible people, that vision is a reality every summer in Southeast Missouri at the Back to School Fair!

Cape Girardeau Public Schools, United Way, The Salvation Army, The Urban Kids Project, and Big Brothers Big Sisters are excited to host this event again this year on Wednesday, August 1st at the CJHS Tiger Field House from 10am-3pm.

Families can register their kiddos for free school supplies and have access to several family resources, including free immunizations and dental screenings, health insurance counseling, free food, and activities.

If your company is looking to get involved feel free to reach out to me! Many organizations set up to promote programming, offer services and giveaways, or just simply host a fun activity for kids!

It’s estimated that 1,000 families in our area cannot afford the school supplies needed for their children to confidently begin another academic year. So what can we do to help them? United Way, KFVS12, Withers Broadcasting, and Walmart plan to host the 5th annual Stuff the Bus event during Missouri’s tax-free weekend.

Boxes will be at various Walmart stores in Southeast Missouri starting Friday, August 3rd. School districts and their respective volunteers will be out from 10am-4pm on Saturday, August 4th to collect supplies (or cash) from shoppers who donate.

But why wait until August?! United Way of Southeast Missouri encourages you to start purchasing supplies now! Our office will serve as a drop-off point during the month of July for anyone who wants to collect supplies for area students. Your workplace may even be interested in hosting your own drive!

Here’s a list of some of the most commonly needed items:

  • Single-subject notebooks
  • Mechanical pencils
  • Filler paper
  • 2-pocket folders
  • Ink pens
  • Crayola 24-count crayons
  • 2-pack pink erasers
  • Bottled glue
  • Scissors
  • 3-pack glue sticks

United Way has had an ongoing dedication to students, and it’s obvious that our region is equally committed. One of the biggest challenges they face is heading back to school unprepared. We hope you’ll join us in supporting our students and ensuring they’re ready for another great year in August!

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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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