Helping children and youth reach their potential in school and in the community.

United Way is actively creating lasting change in the community by positively impacting education in Olmsted County. When children and youth have strong, stable learning and growing environments, they can be more successful in achieving lifelong success and reaching their potential. United, we’re providing quality early childhood education, social-emotional learning opportunities, peer mentorship, home visits, books for children, school supplies, and changing systems to ensure future generations are on a path toward success.

Did you know...

  • Literacy is a critical skill for school, work and life success. 46% of Olmsted County third graders do not read at grade level by the end of grade three.
  • More than 12% of Olmsted County high schoolers do not graduate in 4 years. Black, Hispanic, and multiracial students are significantly less likely than their white and Asian peers to receive the support they need to graduate on time. 
  • Every $1 invested in out-of-school-time programs results in a $10.51 return with the benefits of improved school performance, reduced crime and welfare costs, and increased wages.

United Way and our community partners fight for:

  • Access to quality childcare and early education
  • School readiness
  • Social-emotional learning opportunities
  • Safe, supportive out-of-school environments
  • Educational equity


Learn about our grants to help children meet their potential in school and in the community. Click here


United Way’s Education Programs

United Way of Olmsted County's Running Start for School is a community-wide backpack and school supply drive to ensure that every child in our community is prepared to succeed in school. Each year, we provide needed supplies to more than 2,500 students enrolled in participating schools across Olmsted County. To achieve our goal, we rely on the community to get involved by donating, hosting a collection, volunteering, and encouraging others to help our children and youth reach their potential in school and the community. Learn more.

United Way Born Learning Trails encourage exploration, turning everyday moments into learning opportunities. All are welcome to visit our newest Born Learning Trail located along the Silver Creek bike path near Three Links Park. It contains 10 interactive signs in English, Spanish, and Somali with activities to turn an outdoor trip into a fun learning experience. Learn more.

Imagination Library provides one book each month to over 6,000 children in Olmsted County from birth to age 5. These sturdy, colorful, age appropriate books are delivered directly to the child. Each book is selected for the developmental benefits it offers, helping to support early literacy. Learn more