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United Way honors donors

Brown County United Way Executive Director Lori Pickell-Stangel stands with pickup bags for an open house event at Lola’s on Thursday.

NEW ULM — The United Way of the Brown County area held a Campaign Pickup Party at Lola’s on Thursday.

Every year, the United Way holds a campaign kickoff luncheon for all past and potential business members, but due to COVID-19, an alternative plan was in place.

United Way Executive Director Lori Pickell-Stangel said that in addition to New Ulm, these pickup parties were scheduled for Springfield and Sleepy Eye. The events are smaller, but they allow the United Way to meet with individual businesses.

“It’s tough that we are unable to do our traditional kickoff luncheon, but this has opened the door to create new partnerships with businesses in three of our biggest communities in Brown County and connect with the public in a new way,” Pickell-Stangel said.

The pickup parties were held like an open house. Businesses were encouraged to stop by, pick up their employee pledge cards and a goodie bag to promote the company’s campaign.

The event was also a chance to recognize area businesses for their support. The United Way gave out four awards.

Andrea Gehrke and Twin River Design were given the Spirit Award for their design and promotion of the United Way’s COVID-19 Emergency Nonprofit Assistant Fund through Tip Jar. Pickell-Stangel said that without this, many of the nonprofits would have received little to no assistance.

The Making a Difference award was given to 3M for the largest corporate contribution to the United Way’s COVID-19 Emergency Nonprofit Assistance Fund. The donation from 3M doubled this relief fund and helped struggling nonprofits in Brown County.

NUVERA received the Star Performer award with the largest contribution from a community business.

Bob Webb Insurance Agency received the Together We Can award for having the longest-running total employee participation in the annual campaign.

Pickell-Stangel said despite COVID-19, the United Way was able to realize 95% of their funding goals. The goal of the next campaign is to continue bringing in as much funding as possible to ensure nonprofits remain successful.

“Now more than ever we need them,” Pickell-Stangel said. “This does a lot of work for us.”

The final pickup party will be held Friday, Sept. 18, from 8 a.m. to noon at the Sleepy Eye Coffee Company.

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