The Merrill Area United Way held its Annual Meeting on Feb. 3 at the AmericInn in Merrill. The event provides for the election of new board members and officers for the 2014 year.
Stepping down as president of the organization is Shannon Murray; however, he remains active on the board. Dave Jannusch concluded his term on the board and as treasurer. Filling the vacancy is Brian Richards of Richard Mamer CPA SC. Re-elected to the board for an additional 3-year term were: Nancy Kwiesielewicz, Denis McCarthy, Pat Burg, Jamie Koch, Joe Breaman, Jr., and Steve Silverman.
The election of the Executive Committee and the 2014-15 officers resulted in the following: President Kelly Zagrzebski, Wisconsin Public Service Corp.; 1st Vice President Jane Dehnel, One-Way Collision; 2nd Vice President Shannon Murray, Merrill Senior High School; Treasurer Brian Richards, Richard Mamer CPA SC; Secretary Denis McCarthy, St. Vincent DePaul; Past President & Allocations Chair Shannon Murray, Merrill Senior High School; Executive Committee members Leah Burbach, Church Mutual Insurance Company; Jeff Peterson, retired; Pat Burg, independent consultant; and Joe Breaman, Jr., Breaman Ford-Mercury.
Additional action included approval of the 2014 Annual Budget, acknowledgement of Dave Jannusch for his service and Shannon Murray for his leadership in 2013. The Annual Report was presented to the Board.
Murray thanked the Board for their dedication in overseeing the ongoing development of the Merrill Area United Way. Zagrzebski noted, “This is a great organization serving many facets of the community. I am both excited and proud to take the leadership role for 2014.”
Merrill Area United Way Annual Report
Total community service fund budgeted was $9,100, and total spent was $8,450.
Total Community Impact Allocations to 19 agencies and other Agency Designations budgeted was $112,000. In 2013 the total spent was $112,700 on allocations to 19 agencies for impact programming; paid out on March 1 and Sept. 1, as well as donor designations.
The United Way Board established and maintains a Disaster Relief Fund with money available to support any major disasters. The year-end balance is $30,296.05.
• Approved $6,000 for 2-1-1 Call Center to service Lincoln County for 2013.
• The county and other community organizations promoting countywide health reviewed the final plan in March 2013. The plan focuses on three areas: oral health, mental health and Nutrition/Healthy Eating. United Way has participated with this effort. It was presented to the United Way Board of Directors in April.
• In April, with leadership from Art Lersch, the Board of Directors participated in a planning session. The Board reviewed progress and established future goals for the organization. It helped define the organizations future direction. Several of those goals were addressed throughout the year.
• One scholarship was provided for the summer Park & Recreation Program for a child whose family could not otherwise afford it.
• United Way was recognized by FamilyWize for encouraging use of the program which resulted in saving $59,156 in prescription drug costs in 2012 for Merrill area families. 2013 figures are not yet released. Efforts were enhanced by distributing materials to 11 additional locations this year.
• In spring of 2012 community groups, including the United Way Director, came together to discuss homelessness in Lincoln County. Since then, the Lincoln County Homelessness Task Force was formed. The Task Force ensures that two Point-In-Time studies are done in January and July. Evaluation and consideration for a Warming Center is underway.
• Purchased 2 ton of potatoes for area food pantries and other non-profits = $200.
• Allocation Teams met in fall to review mid-year progress of the impact programs and evaluate the agency allocation applications for 2014 funding.
• United Way supported the Merrill Social Norms Project = $1,000, via the Community Service Fund. This aids in supporting the nationally aligned student survey, the billboards and posters, and other educational aspects for students against drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
• Regular, almost monthly, United Way articles ran in the Foto News to create greater community awareness of United Way and our role in the community.
• The Cosmo Theater agreed to run United Way ads on the big screen to help get our message out.
• The Emergency Food and Shelter Program advised us we should receive $4,361 plus $2,800 additional. 2013 money not yet received. The announced amount for 2014 is $5,625 in EFSP funds.
• Community Service Fund financially supported, and increased by more than 50%, the annual Christmas Spirit Appeal to make the holidays brighter for families in need = $400.
• In December the Board approved of $113,750 for 2014 allocations.
• At year-end the Board received the resignation of David Jannusch, Treasurer, as his Board term finished. We appreciate David’s service to the organization.
• In summer Board members visited the funded agencies and programs supported by United Way. It was interactive and beneficial for a broader understanding of how United Way dollars are applied and impact lives.
• The 5th Annual Run United, sponsored by Riverside Athletic Club, was held in May with almost 150 runners. Run United changes included holding the run earlier in May; the route changed and went into Merrill and through downtown; more sponsorships; DJ and fun post-event; and greater outreach. Over 20 Run United sponsors helped to make the event successful, which raised $3,010 for United Way.
• The Merrill Fire Chief and Police Chief have been made aware of the Disaster Relief Fund should they encounter any family in need after a disaster.
• United Way met with compliance measures with United Way Worldwide filing all necessary documents and reports. These included the Membership Certification, the “Standards of Excellence” Board Self Evaluation Study, and the Data Base II report.
• The United Way finances were audited by Krause, Howard and Company and met with acceptable accounting standards.
• In January 2013 MAUW President Jane Dehnel and the Executive Director attended the Samoset Council Recognition event where area United Ways were recognized for the important role they play in supporting Boy Scouts.
• Campaign leaders – Church Mutual Insurance, Weinbrenner Shoe Company, Ministry Health Care/Good Samaritan, Marshfield Clinic, Reindl Printing, Lincoln Community Bank, Wisconsin Public Service, City of Merrill and Lincoln County government. Individual and retiree giving was very strong. The Church Mutual Insurance Company campaign alone raised $91,511—best year ever.
• The Executive Director actively participated in many organizational development programs in 2013, including the United Way Wisconsin Campaign Roundtable, the United Way Wisconsin Community Impact Roundtable, the United Way Wisconsin Summer Conference and the Reimagining Service Summit. The Executive Director also regularly attends the Central Wisconsin United Way Directors meetings, the 2-1-1 meetings, “For the Love of City” event, Lincoln County Interagency Advisory Committee meetings, T.B. Scott Library Planning Committee and the Lincoln County Homelessness Task Force meetings.
• Board members met with the Chamber and Downtown Business Association to affirm support of United Way, and then distributed door decals throughout the business districts.
• The Executive Director has been the program/speaker at several community groups, including the Merrill Optimists, the Rotary Club and others.
• Enhanced the 2013 campaign by increasing campaign outreach and with an every-door-direct mail piece.
• Increased United Way visibility and awareness through the media with ongoing press releases, a new Foto News column, Merrill Focus articles and radio programs.
• The United Way extends a grateful THANK YOU to Linda Murray & Associates and Reindl Printing for assisting with our marketing and campaign pieces.
• The Merrill Foto News, WJMT Radio, the Merrill Courier, and the Merrill Focus have been wonderful media support partners.
• Redesign the United Way website to encourage more usage, add links, and make it more user-friendly.