United Way of the Greater Winona Area History
The United Way of the Greater Winona Area began as a Community Chest in 1943, one of several hundred across the country under the umbrella of the American Association for Community Organizations. That parent organization was rebranded in the 1960s as the United Way, and officially began using the name, as did its associated local chapters, in the 1970s.
Throughout the years, the Winona United Way has funded partner agencies in Winona, Buffalo and Trempealeau counties to provide programs and services to help the region’s residents, young to old, who need it most. Programs have served at-risk youth through mentorship and positive afterschool environment; facilitated development of early-childhood programs, including literacy; strengthened struggling families; aided seniors through visits, meals and other outreach; given individuals with disabilities access to increased care, resources, and job training; and much more.
Just one recent notable moment in Winona's United Way history came after the floods of August 2007, when the United Way created the Winona Area Flood Disaster Fund as a way to centralize and coordinate giving in response to the natural disaster.
The Winona United Way has been blessed with a tremendous force of volunteers who served in so many capacities over the years, from allocations committees to board members, from event volunteers to recipients of the Thomas Stark award, the United Way’s highest volunteer honor, which has been given more than two dozen deserving recipients since the award was created nearly 30 years ago.
The United Way has served the community by funding countless partner agencies over the years; it most recently provided funding to 19 partner agencies following the 2015-16 allocations process: American Red Cross (southeast Minnesota emergency services); Big Brothers Big Sisters (youth mentoring program); Boy Scouts-Gamehaven (youth protection); Catholic Charities (Medi Apps Program); Elder Network (senior support services); Family and Children’s Center (Matty’s Place, outpatient counseling); Girl Scouts-Badgerland (Girl Scout Leadership Experience); Habitat for Humanity (A Brush with Kindness); Home and Community Options (positive behavioral supports for persons with disabilities); Project FINE (Safe and Healthy Families); Ready Set School (school supplies); SE MN Resource Center (food shelf); Semcac (senior nutrition program); Western Dairyland (Homeless Shelter, RSVP Caregivers); Winona Dakota Unity Alliance Annual Gathering (education program); Winona Friendship Center (Friendships Forever program); Winona ORC (education and training programs); Winona Volunteer Services (Food Shelf Shopping 101); and the Women’s Resource Center (crisis advocacy services).