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Willmar, Minn., volunteers examine United Way distributions

Pam Larson, from left, Lillie Berczyk and Jackie Saulsbury sit on a panel Thursday of United Way volunteers during a community review day of United Way distributions at the First Baptist Church in Willmar. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

WILLMAR — More than 50 community members volunteered their time Thursday to help decide how donations to the local United Way will be distributed for the 2012-13 year.

The United Way of West Central Minnesota’s annual “Community Review Day” brings representatives from area nonprofit agencies seeking United Way funding into a room with the volunteer panel members, who ultimately rank the applications and recommend dollar amounts to be awarded.

According to information from the United Way, there were 13 panels of four members each who spent time Thursday conducting in-person program reviews with about 50 applying agencies. The volunteers had previously received the agencies’ proposals, and the meetings Thursday in Willmar allowed time for further questioning and explanations of the application for funds.

At the end of the day, the chairmen of the 13 panels then met to discuss the panel findings and finalize the funding amounts to be recommended to the United Way’s Community Investment Committee.

That committee will then forward the matter to the board of directors for approval at its April meeting, and agencies will be notified of their awards at that time.

The United Way of West Central Minnesota is a nonprofit agency itself, and money raised locally is invested locally each year — including in grants to partner agencies. For the 2011-2012 year, 44 nonprofit agencies have been receiving funding from the United Way, according to Tribune archives.

The fundraising goal for the 2012-13 campaign is $900,000. The United Way said at the time of the campaign announcement in September that the organization had received $765,000 in requests for funding, which is $35,000 more than the previous year.

In addition to making grants, the United Way undertakes several other charitable endeavors, such as the Growmobile mobile education program and a school supply drive each year.

Susan Lunneborg
Susan Lunneborg is news editor of the West Central Tribune. She joined the staff in Willmar in 1999 and has been a newspaper journalist for more than 20 years. She can be reached directly at the email linked here, but for the most timely response, please send news releases to the Tribune's general news email:
(320) 235-1150