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United Way sees hike in requests for funds from non-profits

WILLMAR -- More nonprofit agencies are seeking funding this year from the United Way of West Central Minnesota, and the dollar amount of funding re-quests has grown significantly.

A community review panel meets Thursday to begin considering the funding requests from 59 agencies.

Area nonprofits continue to see an increase in the number of people they serve, said Renee Nolting, executive director of the United Way of West Central Minnesota.

"More agencies are needing funding," she said. "We have over $700,000 in requests this year from local agencies."

The dollar amount is a 20 percent increase over 2010.

Last year 53 agencies requested $500,000 in funding, and not all were able to receive full funding, Nolting said.

The United Way allocates funds to area nonprofits in four major areas: education, income, health and basic needs. Programs serve 28 communities in the region.

With the effects of the recession still being felt, it's "not surprising" that funding requests to the United Way have increased this year, Nolting said.

"All dollars raised in west central Minnesota support programs and agencies in west central Minnesota," she noted.

More than 60 volunteers are involved with the community review panels, which will meet Thursday with agencies for presentations about each agency's programs and funding request. Panel chairmen then will meet in mid-April to formulate recommendations for the United Way Community Investment Council and board of directors.

Nolting said the United Way is currently at 85 percent of its goal of raising $915,000 for the 2011-12 fiscal year. The campaign officially ends June 30.

Meeting the goal is critical for the United Way to be able to fulfill all of its agency funding requests in addition to supporting its own programs. The agency runs a gift-in-kind program that provides household items for families dealing with fire, flood or other natural disasters. It also operates a mobile preschool learning program and supports initiatives in early childhood education and community volunteerism.

It's not too late for people to donate to this year's campaign, Nolting said. Donations can be sent to the United Way of West Central Minnesota, Box 895, Willmar, Minn. 56201 or made online at

The 2010 campaign raised $938,922. The amount was more than $80,000 over the goal.

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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