Olmsted County is a great community – it’s a place of caring and opportunity.  United Way of Olmsted County’s purpose is to work consistently to improve lives and ensure that people in need have the access to the opportunity to reach their potential.  These reports provide a window into work accomplished this year to deliver access to the building blocks that are the foundation to a good quality life – education, income, health and basic needs. United Way works in partnership with many organizations to achieve results that transform lives, families, and the community.

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Goal: Children and youth reach their potential in school and in the community.

Youth Development

2,866 youth participated in quality out-of-school programs partnering with United Way.

Why This Matters:
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.

School Readiness

1,096 children in United Way partner programs achieved age-appropriate developmental milestones and proficiency.

Why This Matters:
Only 51% percent of Minnesota kindergarteners are fully ready for kindergarten in the areas of language and literacy.

Early Literacy

1,040 volunteers hours dedicated to helping 196 children improve their reading skills.

Why This Matters:
Literacy is a critical skill for school, work and life success. One in three 4th graders score below “basic” in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.


Goal: Individuals are physically and mentally healthy.

Dental Health

1,382 children receiving preventative dental care and education from United Way program partners.

Why This Matters:
In 2013, only 35% of the 11,000 Olmsted County children enrolled in the MN Health Care Program received any preventative dental care. Tooth decay is nearly 100% preventable and is the most common chronic childhood disease.

Mental Health

1,966 people receiving early interventions for mental illness in community settings from United Way program partners.

Why This Matters:
1 in 4 adults−approximately 61.5 million Americans−experiences mental illness in a given year. 1 in 17−about 13.6 million−live with a serious mental illness.

Health Insurance

2,791 people obtain or retain health insurance through referrals from United Way program partners.

Why This Matters:
In 2013, 30% of uninsured adults went without needed medical care due to cost.


Goal: Individuals and families are financially stable.

Job Training and Employment

199 people living below 280% of poverty receiving job skills training or have gained stabilized employment with the help of United Way program partners.

Why This Matters:
While almost 50% of U.S. workers over 25 years old have a minimum of a high school education or less, there is a sizable segment of the current workforce that is unprepared to succeed in today’s economy.

Housing Stabilization

134 low income families achieve stabilized housing with United Way program partners’ help.

Why This Matters:
Between 200- 300 families are dealing with homelessness in Olmsted County. Housing instability is directly linked to poor health outcomes, educational outcomes and employment outcomes.

Asset Building

385 low income people participated in financial literacy coaching this year.

Why This Matters:
People who understand money management and the importance of banking, budgeting and savings are better equipped for a successful financial future. Over $4 million in tax refunds were returned to low income people participating in the free tax preparation program in Olmsted County.

Basic Needs

Goal: People’s basic needs are met.

Senior Independence

810 seniors receive support to remain in their own homes thanks to the work of United Way’s program partners.

Why This Matters:
The Dept. of Health and Human Services estimates that 70% of people who reach age 65 will need some type of long-term care. Appropriate housing with supportive services can be the difference between independent living and care in an institutional setting.


776 children in-need experienced safe interactions with caregivers.

Why This Matters:
A child is abused or neglected every 47 secs. Nearly 70% of child abuse victims are under the age of 5. By providing child abuse prevention and early intervention services, programs supported by United Way assist individuals and families with issues before they escalate.

Access to Food

22,144 vulnerable residents have access to nutritious food.

Why This Matters:
Hunger affects all people in the U.S. and all ages. Food insecurity is harmful to all people, but it is particularly devastating to children. Proper nutrition is critical to a child’s development. In Olmsted County, 8.9% of the total population is food insecure and nearly 5,000 of them are children.