United Way Announces Merger of Dodge County
and Olmsted County Organizations
Strategic Consolidation Increases Community Impact in the Region
(January 10, 2023) – Rochester & Kasson, MN – United Way of Dodge County and United Way of Olmsted County announced today that they have merged the two organizations.
“We are excited about this decision to merge the administrative operations of our two United Ways. The reason for the merger is simple: Together, we can increase efficiency and have a greater impact, directing more money to services that improve people’s lives right here in Dodge County,” said Paul Kiltinen, who served as the President of United Way of Dodge County Board of Directors prior to the merger. “United Way of Dodge County has served the community for 70 years as an all-volunteer organization. This transition will allow us to create a greater impact while offering a greater level of customer service to our donors and nonprofit partners for the next 70 years.”
Kiltinen said the merger follows more than six months of discussions between the boards of both United Ways. United Way of Dodge County initiated discussion of a merger to create a greater impact in the region.
Here’s how it will work:
Effective January 1, United Way of Olmsted County is now serving communities across both Olmsted and Dodge Counties.
The organizations have joined together to consolidate administrative operations while maintaining core activities to unite people and resources in each community. United Way will continue to do business as United Way of Dodge County when working with Dodge County residents and businesses.
Before merging, United Way of Dodge County allocated funds it raised in 2022. Those grant awards will be maintained through 2025, without agencies needing to reapply for funding. A list of nonprofit grantees can be found on the United Way of Dodge County website.
United Way will continue to honor donors’ intentions by directing donations to local communities. Campaign pledges from workplaces in Dodge County and individual donations solicited by mail from Dodge County households will be directed to programs and operations supporting Dodge County residents; the same is true for Olmsted County.
Over the coming months, United Way will be exploring how best to serve communities throughout the merged service area. Local stakeholders will be consulted to inform planning efforts.
“Communities in both counties have strongly supported United Way for decades,” says Luke Freund, who had served on the board of directors in Dodge County since 2017 and will now be joining the board at United Way of Olmsted County. “As a Mantorville resident, I’m proud to be part of that tradition of volunteering and giving where I live. I want to invite my neighbors across Dodge County to continue their incredible legacy of giving to support the health, education, and financial stability of everyone in our communities.”
United Way of Olmsted County President Jerome Ferson echoes these sentiments. “People in Olmsted and Dodge Counties have a shared value of coming together to support their neighbors. We all want to live in communities where individuals and families have what they need to reach their potential. That’s what living United is all about.” Ferson also says the merger will enable a more seamless experience for donors. “People’s lives don’t stop at the county line. We know there are Olmsted County residents who work in Dodge County, and vice versa. By consolidating our operations, we are making it easier than ever to donate directly to your local community.”
Even before the merger, United Way of Olmsted County has supported services to benefit Dodge County residents, including free tax preparation and the 211 information and referral service. Ferson says more than 500 Dodge County residents benefitted from such services last year.
“United Way of Olmsted County has been uniting local people with local resources for nearly 100 years,” says Board Chairwoman Shamila Amarasekera. “This merger puts us in the best possible position to continue making a positive impact in local communities.”