News Article – United Way has record…

United Way has record fundraising in 2019

Jena Gullo MSA United Way Annual Meeting 2020
Copyright 2020 Bismarck Tribune

The Missouri Slope Areawide United Way raised a record $3.2 million last year to support local programs, including one that provides weekend backpacks of food for needy children, the nonprofit announced during its annual luncheon and meeting Thursday.

“I’ve got a lot of ideas, and my ideas are good usually, but they mean nothing if you don’t have people to implement them, and you’re the ones that have made sure that thousands of kids have not gone hungry,” Executive Director Jena Gullo told the crowd of about 80 people at the Ramkota Hotel. Most who attended were donors, nonprofit partners and volunteers.

The United Way exceeded its goal to raise $3 million in 2019, breaking the $2.9 million record set last year, according to fundraising campaign co-chairwoman Julie Haussler.

The nonprofit on Thursday also handed out numerous awards, including to its top 20 contributors. MDU Resources Group Inc. donated the most money, followed by Basin Electric Power Cooperative and Dakota Community Bank & Trust. MDU Resources Group contributed about $150,000, President and CEO Dave Goodin told the Tribune after the event.

The city of Bismarck received an award for approving $250,000 in August for United Way’s permanent shelter for men, women and children, which opened this month. It is the “only 24/7 shelter and drop-in center in central and western North Dakota,” said Jim Haussler, fundraising campaign co-chairman. Officials played a video showing the facility in operation.

“We can now say that, regardless of holidays, subzero temperatures or winter storms, our city takes care of our most vulnerable neighbors,” Haussler said.

Event speakers also highlighted United Way’s accomplishments in the past year.

— The nonprofit mailed 47,963 books to local preschoolers through its Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The program provides books to about 4,000 children in the community and surrounding towns every month.

— More than 1,400 children in 10 communities are receiving backpacks of food during weekends as part of the United Way Backpack Program. More than $216,900 also was invested in hunger-relief programs.

— United Way supports the Abused Adult Resource Center’s domestic violence shelter, Welcome House’s transitional housing, Charles Hall group homes and the YouthWorks program for runaway youth. In 2019, those organizations provided 35,131 nights of shelter to men, women, and children.

“As I look back at the last 10 years, why we’ve made the decisions we made, why we’ve done the things we’ve done, and why we continue to do what we do, it’s really to make things better, to improve the lives of others, when we see people struggling,” Gullo said.

Copyright Bismarck Tribune: Andy Tsubasa Field at 701-250-8264 or .

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