The United Way of Olmsted County established a fund with the Winona Community Foundation to support Winona area programs and nonprofits.

As a result of the United Way’s affiliation with national corporations, there are Winona County-based companies that participate in United Ways campaigns that participate in the United Way campaigns. UWOC leadership determined that partnering with the Winona Community Foundation would allow them to meet their donors’ expectations by facilitating grantmaking decisions on their behalf.

The Winona Community Foundation is honored that United Way of Olmsted County entrusted us with this important task – a task we do not take lightly.

The Foundation opened a special grant cycle to nonprofit organizations, governmental entities, or educational institutions or programs serving Winona County residents in one or all three of the United Way of Olmsted County’s key strategy areas.

    • Education: ensuring children and youth reach their potential in school and in the community.
    • Financial Stability: helping individuals and families meet basic needs and become financially stable.
    • Health: helping individuals be physically and mentally healthy.

After thorough review and discussion, the Foundation’s grant committee forwarded a recommendation to provide granting to South Eastern Minnesota Center for Independent Living, Inc. and Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center.

Southeastern Minnesota Center for Independent Living, Inc. (SEMCIL) has been awarded a $10,000 grant to support their transition program for ages 14-24. Along with addressing key strategies, 58% of SEMCIL’s staff and 57% of its board identifies as having a disability. They also have existing partnerships with Winona Area Public Schools, the Area Learning Center, and Riverway Learning Community.

Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center has been awarded a $5,000 grant to support their board and lodge program. HVMHC is addressing a significant issue in the Winona area by offering a board and lodging program that provides individuals living with mental illness, recovering from addiction, or other mental health issues, with a safe, clean, and supervised living environment.

United Way of the Greater Winona Area dissolved on December 31, 2016. Since that time, United Way of Olmsted County has been evaluating what role, if any, the Winona area community would like them to play.

“We are interested to extend support to Winona area, if there is community desire for us to do so,” United Way of Olmsted County President Jerome Ferson said. “In the meantime, as a result of our national affiliations, donors have made contributions to us with the intent that their donations be put to use to support Winona County residents. United Way of Olmsted County seeks to honor these donor intentions,” Ferson added. “But community change doesn’t happen alone. That’s why we reached out to the Winona Community Foundation to help us invest those contributions to create the greatest possible impact.”

“We know that the Winona community takes pride in its diverse economy, educational systems supporting children and youth, and health and wellness programs that help people of all ages live healthy lives,” said Emily Johnston, Vice President of Impact and Engagement at United Way. “These are values that United Way of Olmsted County shares, and that’s why we’re excited to partner with the Winona Community Foundation to support local nonprofits that are helping Winona residents reach their full potential.”

The Winona Community Foundation is pleased to partner with United Way of Olmsted County to ensure gifts raised in the Winona County stay in the County. This partnership expands the Winona Community Foundation’s ability to meet the diverse needs in the community.

The Winona Community Foundation offers a range of charitable options and funds for individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofits to accomplish their philanthropic goals. As your trusted partner, resource, and steward for community philanthropy, the Winona Community Foundation is committed to helping every individual give back in a way that is both meaningful to them and to the causes they care about.