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United Way campaign half over, little more than halfway to its goal

WILLMAR -- With the 2011-12 campaign drive half over, United Way of West Central Minnesota has raised a little more than half its fundraising goal.

In a news release this week, United Way said it had received $495,622 so far in pledges and donations. The campaign goal is to raise $923,000 from businesses, individuals and service clubs in the area.

The campaign's results so far are similar to last year, Executive Director Renee Nolting said Tuesday afternoon.

"We feel good about where we're at, but we've still got work to do," she said. The campaign ends officially on June 30, 2012, the end of United Way's fiscal year.

So far, donations from governments and schools have been down a bit this year, but many private business donations have increased, Nolting said.

Some large employers, like Rice Hospital and Affiliated Community Medical Centers, have not finished their campaigns yet, either, she said.

She credited several companies with operating strong United Way campaigns, including BNSF, Christianson and Associates, West Central Industries and Jennie-O. "We've got some really great leaders here," she said.

With businesses that participate in nationwide corporate fund drives, Nolting speaks with employees about the programs of the United Way of West Central Minnesota.

All funds donated in the area stay in the area, she said. They are used to help fund local agencies and support early childhood programs like the Growmobile and Imagination Library. The United Way also has a gift-in-kind program to provide basic needs for families dealing with a crisis.

"We really hope that we reach that goal," Nolting said. "We're thankful for the help we have received."

Nolting said there is still time for people who want to make a contribution before the end of the year for tax purposes. Mail your contributions to United Way of West Central Minnesota, P.O. Box 895, Willmar MN 56201, or donate online at

To volunteer this holiday season please go to or call 320-235-1050.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

(320) 214-4340