Running Start for School 2017

Running Start for School

Helping Students Succeed

Running Start for School is a community-wide backpack and school supply drive to ensure every child is prepared to succeed in school. When students have the tools they need to succeed, they score better on tests, increase their attendance, and are more likely to graduate on time. This year over 8,400 students in Olmsted County may need our help with getting a backpack and school supplies for the 2017-2018 school year. 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.

New this year: We are offering pre-packed backpacks filled with all the basic supplies in our online store. Click here to donate a complete school kit to support a child in need.


There are three easy ways to make a donation to help students succeed by supporting Running Start for School:

  • Purchase needed school supplies while you're shopping in our community and drop them off at United Way or one of our many collection partners.
  • Give a monetary donation online (Please include "Running Start for School" in the contribution note) or by mailing a check to United Way of Olmsted County, 903 West Center Street, Suite 100, Rochester, MN 55902
  • Visit our online store and make a purchase starting June 1.

Become a Collection Partner

Running Start for School Collection Partner

You can help students succeed by being a collection partner! United Way is happy to provide your business, organization, or group a collection bin for you to collect backpacks and school supplies (while supplies last).


Spread the Word

Whether you are looking to promote your collection or just looking to help, we have set up a social media toolkit to help you spread the word about Running Start for School. Simply click on the link to download and print posters and flyers, as well as other helpful media resources.

Not hosting a collection this year? We still need your help! Get the word out on Facebook and Twitter using our social media toolkit! And share your activities with United Way of Olmsted County!

Email us a photo of your collection so we can celebrate and share your ideas.


We need over 400 volunteers! Sign up on our volunteer portal, Get Connected.

Volunteers are needed for:

  • Set up and take down
  • Donation inventory
  • School supply kit assembly

Champions and Collection Partners

Our champions and collection partners help make Running Start for School a successful collection by giving back to the community. Thank you to our 2017 champions, including Rochester Kiwanis!

How to Receive Free School Supplies

To receive free school supplies, your family must be eligible for free or reduced lunch. School supplies will be distributed by individual school districts.  Click here for more information about free school supplies and how to find out how to get your Running Start school supplies!

Contact Information

Emily Johnston