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United Way donations have stimulus power

February 18, 2009
By Kevin Sweeney Journal Editor

NEW ULM - It may not be anywhere near the $789 billion stimulus bill that President Barack Obama signed on Tuesday, but the funds raised by the United Way of the Brown County Area this year will do an awful lot of good, according to outgoing United Way Board Chairman John Isch.

Isch compared the $439,634 raised by the United Way this year to the massive amount of money that the economic stimulus bill is providing. "If you calculate it out, it is 1,602,323 times the amount of money raised by the United Way campaign," said Isch.

"I don't know where the $789 billion is coming from," said Isch, addressing the annual meeting of the United Way Tuesday night. "I suspect there is a printing machine in the basement of the Treasury building in Washington. But I do know where the $439,000 of the United Way campaign came from. It came from folks like you. It came from people in workplaces, from stay-at-homes, it came from retired folks, and from high school kids. It came from people in every walk of life. It came from 2,200 people who gave by check, or by payroll, or bought a cake at a bake sale, or something at an auction. They paid money to see some very athletic and intelligent play the Survivor game that our campaign began with. They gave to the United Way, in small amounts and large amounts, and they gave $439,000, and I think that's great."

Article Photos

Staff photo by Kevin Sweeney
Outgoing United Way Board Chairman John Isch presents a plaque to Vice Chair Lisa Portner, who will take over as United Way board chair for the coming year.

"Second difference is, I'm sure the $800 billion will be spent well. There are a lot of people hurting in this country, and I'm sure this stimulus package will help many of them. But I'm not sure exactly how it will do that. But I am sure that the $439,000 the United Way raised this year will help people, because I know the 39 agencies that will distribute those funds. I know the people who run those agencies. I know their commitment and dedication to making sure the money United Way raises is spent in a very good way. And I know they are accountable to the people they serve, and they are accountable to the United Way."

Isch said he didn't know how well the government money would be managed, but he knew that the United Way money would be managed well because he knows the board members who are responsible for managing the money.

The featured speaker for the evening was John Illikman, plant manager for 3M's New Ulm plant, one of the United Way's top corporate donors.

Illikman said 3M is a big supporter of the United Way.

"We want to be located in communities where people each other," he said. "Where there is a culture of people helping themselves and looking out for each other, they tend to be better employees and help us do a better job of taking care of our customers."

Illikman said 3M bases its corporate support for organizations like United Way on the donations and participation of its employees in each community.

"And I can tell you, our employees in our 3M plant here in New Ulm compare favorably with our other operations around the country. Because of that, I feel we get more than our fair share for our community because of our employees' involvement."

Still, said Illikman, it seemed 3M employee giving had been slipping in the past few years. With older employees retiring and new employees joining the company, he said some of the new employees were not aware of the United Way's role. So 3M took a different direction in its campaign this year. They made it a year-round campaign, with fundraising luncheons every couple of months, and lots of participating in the Quest for Survivor activity that kicked off this year's campaign, and the Day of Caring. The company campaign team also made brief educational presentations to every work crew. The result was a 5 percent increase in participation, and a 17 percent increase in giving.

United Way Awards

Gold Award (80 percent participation, $75 per capita)

3M, Alliance Bank, Bank Midwest-New Ulm, Berens, Rodenberg & O'Connor, Bob Webb Insurance, Cash Wise Food/Liquor/Holiday Station, Century 21, Chuck Spaeth Ford-New Ulm, Chuck Spaeth Ford-Sleepy Eye, Citizens Bank Minnesota, City of New Ulm, Crime Victims Services, Design Home Center, Frandsen Bank & Trust, Gislason & Hunter LLP, ISD 88 Jefferson, Kenneth R. Vonderhaar, CPA, Lambrecht's, LarsonAllen, MBW Co, New Ulm Area Catholic Schools, New Ulm Area Chamber of Commerce, New Ulm Public Utilities, New Ulm Telecom, Physicians Group of New Ulm, Puhlmann Lumber & Design, River Bend Education District, Roth, Herzog & Associates, Chtd, Shelter Products, Inc., Southpoint Federal Credit Union - Sleepy Eye, Windings, Inc.

Silver Award (7o percent participation, $50 per capita)

AMPI, AMPI Butter Plant, D&A Truck Line, ISD 88 Administration, Southpoint Federal Credit Union-New Ulm, Valley Properties, Wells Fargo Bank

Bronze Award (60 percent participation, $40 per capita)

Herberger's, ISD 88-ECFE, ISD 88-Washington, Kemske Paper Co., Royal Tire, Somsen, Mueller, Lowther, Franta, Southpoint Federal Credit Union-Springfield, Target, The Journal, United Prairie Bank, New Ulm, Upper Midwest Management

First Time Campaign Award

City of Springfield, Springfield Medical Center

Corporate Match of

Employee Giving

AMPI, Berens Rodenberg & O'Connor, Chuck Spaeth Ford, New Ulm, Chuck Spaeth Ford-Sleepy Eye, Comcast, MR Paving & Excavating, New Ulm Dental Clinic, The Journal, New Ulm Telecom, Windings, Inc.

100 Percent Participation

Berens, Rodenberg & O'Connor, Bank Midwest New Ulm, Bob Webb Agency, Century 21, Citizens Bank Minnesota, Crime Victim Services, New Ulm Area Chamber of Commerce, Physicians Group of New Ulm, Roth Herzog & Associates, Chtd., Southpoint Federal Credit Union, Sleepy Eye



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