WILLMAR -- United Way of West Central Minnesota has launched its 2012-13 community campaign with a goal of $900,000.
United Way is a nonprofit which raises money locally and spends it to benefit area communities.
According to a news release from United Way, the organization has received $765,000 in requests for funding, which is $35,000 more than last year.
This year, 44 nonprofit agencies are receiving funding from United Way to meet needs in four areas -- education, income, basic needs and health.
The United Way also gives a variety of grants smaller than $5,000 and operates a Gift-In-Kind program that provides household goods to individuals or families that have suffered a home tragedy, are homeless or are starting over due to physical or chemical abuse.
United Way connects volunteers to projects in the region and works with community leaders on issues affecting residents of west central Minnesota.
Families with kids are struggling with income stability as many public schools in west central Minnesota are reporting more than 45 percent of their students on the free or reduced-price lunch program. United Way affects education by operating the Growmobile mobile education program, providing Imagination Library books to area preschoolers, operating a school supply drive each year, and giving Early Childhood Screening backpacks to preschoolers in the region.
The goal this year is $900,000. Each year United Way invests the money that has been raised and starts its new campaign from zero. To help launch the campaign, many businesses in the region will feature United Way on their electronic bill boards in the coming week.
To help United Way of West Central Minnesota reach its campaign goal, mail your contributions to United Way of West Central Minnesota, P.O. Box 895, Willmar, MN 56201. Donations can also be made online at www.liveunitedwcm.org or by calling 320-235-1050.