To improve lives in Otter Tail & Wadena Counties by mobilizing the caring powers in our communities.
EDUCATION - Helping children and youth achieve their potential by supporting their learning, development and sense of belonging of children and youth to raise responsible and contributing adults.
INCOME - Promoting financial stability & independence to ensure that basic needs of food, housing, clothing & safety are met.
HEALTH - Improving people's health status through higher levels of positive health and lower levels of disease for overall improved quality of life.
History of Organization
Our organization was established in February 1945 as the Fergus Falls Community Fund. Fergus Falls Community Fund joined United Way World Wide and changed the name of the organization to United Way of Otter Tail County. United Way of Otter Tail County thus became able to receive contributions made at the workplace and designated to help programs through the United Way Campaign. United Way of Otter Tail County has been serving our community for over 75 years. On March 1, 2017 United Way of Otter Tail County joined efforts with Wadena County and changed the name to United Way of Otter Tail & Wadena Counties.
United Way of Otter Tail & Wadena Counties is primarily a volunteer-led organization with a mission to meet health and human care needs in our communities through a network of local agencies. Our Organizational Mission Statement is to improve lives in Otter Tail & Wadena Counties by mobilizing the caring powers in our communities. United Way helps people care for one another by providing an efficient fundraising campaign, an effective community fund investment program, a broad range of volunteer opportunities and community-based problem solving initiatives. We are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors with volunteer committees that oversee all major functions and a professional staff that administers the day-to-day activities.
Our Community Investment process includes an annual review of qualifying 501c3 non-profit programs by Community Investment volunteer panels comprised of county wide community members, a Community Investment committee and the United Way Board of Directors to ensure funds are used in the most effective and efficient manner possible. United Way also act as a catalyst for change to launch and participate in community problem-solving initiatives and act as a liaison in the community.
With this time-tested process we have made a measurable impact in our community. To date millions of dollars have been distributed to partner agencies. These agencies provide programs that provide a good education, good health and financial stability in our community.
United Way of Otter Tail & Wadena Counties ensures your donation is well spent. A cross-section of our county's leadership comprises the Board of Directors for United Way of Otter Tail & Wadena Counties. These trained leaders closely screen the agencies and programs receiving funds to make sure your money is well spent. Our volunteers have the expertise to identify the most critical needs in our community and direct funding to agencies and programs that positively impact our community. Your gift gets through to people who really need help.
United Way of Otter Tail & Wadena Counties is accountable and transparent. United Way World Wide standards require a certified public accounting firm audits United Way of Otter Tail & Wadena Counties each year. Copies of link to required filings are posted on our website under the Financials section of "Learn About Us".
United Way serves every community in Otter Tail & Wadena Counties by providing financial and volunteer support to programs which provide a good education, financial stability and good health to all residents in need.
Statement on Equity and Access to Justice
Equity is the foundation of our work, from our engagement with donors to our investment of community resources to our interactions with the public. We define equity as the presence of justice and fairness within the procedures, processes and distribution of resources by institutions or systems. We commit to equity as a core value and practice to advance our mission of connecting people, resources and organizations to create a thriving community for everyone. Our mission compels us to prioritize historically marginalized and systematically excluded people. It is necessary to focus on race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status, as well as other intersectional identities, to end the historical, social and systemic inequities that persist in our counties.
We acknowledge that we can only be successful if we recognize, raise up and support leaders from underrepresented neighborhoods. United Way is committed to engaging these leaders as partners, donors and volunteers. Further, we commit to intentionally creating pathways for them to be included in decision-making and leadership roles within our own and other organizations. We can only eliminate inequity when all individuals reach their fullest human potential. We maintain that building and sustaining equity in our counties requires an ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion that is fully expressed in our organizational culture, values, norms and behaviors and those of our partners.
Diversity & Inclusion Statement
At United Way of Otter Tail & Wadena Counties, diversity and inclusion inform every aspect of our work. We understand from experience the best solutions are crafted by diverse perspectives and stakeholders. Diversity is who we are. Our Board of Directors, staff and volunteers come from many walks of life and reflect the many faces that make up our community. Inclusion is essential to what we do. Inclusion creates and strengthens our community. It is at the heart of what it means to Live United and to advance the common good; to be a diverse and inclusive system is fundamental to reducing poverty in Otter Tail & Wadena Counties. We actively seek input and fully engage a broad range of partners to help us develop solutions that will result in long lasting change. Moving forward, we will continue to leverage and build upon the talents, strengths and opportunities available in Otter Tail & Wadena Counties.