Why Do We Give?

It’s that time of year again that families start to plan for the holidays. Where will Thanksgiving and Christmas be hosted? When should we celebrate? How can we make everyone happy? What should we get our loved ones? The list of questions and stressors go on and on and yet we continue to do it to ourselves year after year.

It’s also around this time of year that we all start getting into the giving spirit. We put ourselves aside to focus on others. Why is this? Why do we, in the midst of all the chaos, decide we want to do more?!

There are several reasons that make us feel fulfilled through giving. Here are a few:

  • It is one of the MOST rewarding experiences.
  • It is a moment to recognize and feel grateful for the things you do have.
  • It is about making someone else feel loved and important.
  • It is about teaching our children the importance of generosity and helping others.
  • It is about putting ourselves in someone else’s situation and giving them hope.
  • It is about challenging your beliefs and opinions.

Giving is many things and different for everyone. It’s what resonates with you and no matter who you are, you can give something – money, time, encouragement, love – they are all important!

A few weeks ago one of the individuals staying at United Way’s Emergency Homeless Shelter stopped with a rose for each staff member. It was thoughtful and sweet, and that act of kindness showed us you can have nothing at all and make a difference! He has very little, but his gift made a HUGE impact on us.

United Way does a lot of amazing work in our local communities, but that work cannot be done without the support of great business partners and compassionate individuals like you. It’s because of you that we are able to serve over 1,100 backpacks to children every weekend to ensure they do not go hungry. It’s because of you that we’ve helped provide emergency shelter to over 450 clients and connect them to necessary resources since March 2018. It’s because of you that the abused and troubled youth have safe places to go.

You are the reason for our success and because of you we are working tirelessly to end childhood hunger and homelessness!

Continue to help United Way keep our most vulnerable population safe during their darkest times.

Volunteer your time to the less fortunate in our community, educate your neighbors of the work being done, and GIVE TODAY to help continue to support United Way.

High School Student Teams up with United Way to Tackle Hunger

PB&J Target donationBismarck, ND – A Century High School student has teamed up with the United Way Backpack Program, businesses and individuals to address child hunger in the Bismarck-Mandan community.

For the past seven years, Lauryn Hinckley has been collecting peanut butter and jelly to help feed local children. Last year, more than 7,900 pounds of peanut butter and jelly were collected. With the help of Starion Bank, Bismarck and Mandan public schools, Youth Services America (YSA), Cash Wise, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Move for Hunger, Generation On and the Sodexo Foundation, she plans to make even more of an impact this year.

Hinckley’s inspiration comes from an event she witnessed a few years ago. “When I was 9-years-old, I witnessed a family not able to afford their groceries. I saw two little boys’ faces drop and a look of embarrassment come over their mother in a busy checkout line. Up to that point, I had never considered the fact that you need money to get food.” This type of occurrence may be more common than you’d imagine. One in five children in our area does not get enough food to eat.

Lauryn’s service to our community earned her the 2016 Prudential Spirit of Community Award, bestowed on two youth from each state who have demonstrated outstanding acts of volunteerism. She also was recently recognized by the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation as a 2017 Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Regional Honoree.

The United Way Backpack Program is working to end childhood hunger by filling the gaps and sending healthy meals home with students on weekends and breaks. In 2016, the program – supported by volunteers, individuals and local businesses – provided 96,228 meals to students who do not have enough to eat.

The Peanut Butter and Jelly Food Drive will run from March 31 through April 13. Supporting the drive is as easy as stopping by your local Starion Bank to drop off peanut butter and jelly or visiting http://www.msaunitedway.org/pbj to make a monetary contribution. To ensure that items can be delivered to children, please donate 16 to 18 ounce store-bought plastic jars. Youth across the community will also be supporting the effort by hosting drives at their schools.

LIVE UNITED DAY – November 18

Next Friday, November 18, Governor Dalrymple has declared Live United Day across North Dakota and we want to celebrate with you! After all, it’s our volunteers and donors who are Living United to make our communities a better place.

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED:
• Get you co-workers together and wear a United Way t-shirt (Live United, Day of Caring, etc.) next Friday, November 18.
Post on photo on Facebook or Twitter and use the hashtag #LiveUnitedBisMan. Don’t forget to tag MSA United Way in your post so we see it and can share.
Join us on Friday night for Live United with the Bobcats! Please forward the info below to your staff and encourage them to reserve their tickets now. Once the 50 free tickets are gone, they’re gone.

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Come celebrate LIVE UNITED DAY on November 18 with the Bismarck Bobcats.

The first 50 people who order tickets and wear a Live United shirt to the game will get in free (limit 2 free tickets per family). Ticket prices are $11-adults, $8-youth, $9-senior citizen & $9-military.To secure your free tickets and pay for additional tickets, call the Bobcats ticket office at 222-3300. The free tickets are first call, first receive. Tickets ordered ahead of time can be picked up the night of the game at will-call.

The puck drops at 7:15 p.m., but join us as early as 6:15 p.m. for $1 off draft beer and fun with your United Way friends in sections 9 & 10.

See you there!

Our Community Cares

dsc_0282If you’ve been a part of it, you’ll understand. There’s something special about Day of Caring. Something about the atmosphere created by over 1,000 people working together toward a common goal of making our community a better place.

At 7 a.m. on Aug. 10, volunteers began to arrive at Century High School. By 7:30 a.m. dsc_6533jpgthe bleachers were packed. A sea of gray and blue shirts listened as MSA United Way Board and Campaign Cabinet leadership discussed
campaign goals, community needs and solutions. By 8:15 a.m., volunteers were on their way to their assigned project. By 4 p.m., volunteers were meeting up at the Dakota Zoo to celebrate the day’s accomplishments.

In a single day:

– A record breaking 1,009 volunteers pitched in, investing 8,000 hours in our community.

43 sites and well over 150 projects were completed throughout Bismarck-Mandan and surrounding communities helping local nonprofits catch up on maintenance and make much-needed improvements.

– More than 100 local businesses pitched in to support the event through sponsorships, in-kind donations and providing employees a paid volunteer day.

– Nearly $275,000 in savings can now be reinvested into what matters, programs and services for people in our community.

Can’t wait until Day of Caring next year? You can get involved right now, by visiting volunteerbisman.com to view current volunteer needs in our community. Become a fan of United Way to receive updates when new needs are posted.

Submit a Community Improvement Project Today

At United Way, we want to know how we can help make our community better. Is there a park in your area that could use a little TLC? Are you sick of driving by that eyesore on your way to work? Do you have a neighbor who could use a helping hand? Please submit your proposal for our annual Day of Caring before Friday, May 2. This years event is scheduled for August 13.

All community members are encouraged to submit project ideas. Projects submitted should take around six hours to complete and should be appropriate for both skilled and unskilled volunteers. Chosen projects will be completed by teams of United Way volunteers, while generous businesses provide supplies, water and food for the volunteers.

Volunteer tasks for nonprofit office buildings, shelters, community spaces and/or qualifying client 220813_DayofCaring_46residences may include: painting, lawn care for the elderly or disabled, deep cleaning, minor repairs and restoration, organizing food pantries, sorting donations, reading to children, filling backpacks with food and school supplies, delivering meals, building playgrounds in low-income areas, etc.

Day of Caring started in 2000 as an opportunity to unite our community for the common good. Last year, 30 projects were completed – saving local agencies more than $50,000. Projects included outdoor repairs, cleaning, painting, and yard work at local 220813_DayofCaring_94shelters and homes, clean up at the Girl Scouts’ Camp Neche, and cleaning and repairs of an elderly woman’s apartment.

“Thank you from the depth of my heart for all the work you did for me. The painting of my apartment is great,” said a project recipient in 2013. “What was my apartment is now my home!”

In addition to project proposals, we’re looking for individuals who are willing to take on a leadership role by helping in the planning process. Project Managers are able to practice leadership skills, network with community-minded people, and take ownership of a project that benefits our community. If you’re interested in becoming a Project Manager, click the link below or give us a call at 255.3601.


Day of Caring is a community-driven event that couldn’t be done without the support of many individuals and generous donors. If you would like to get involved by offering a special skill, service or resource, please let us know. If you’re interested in volunteering for the event, please sign up for our newsletter and we’ll keep you updated.

2013 MSA United Way Campaign

This past year was one for the record books…….
In 2013, demands on our social service network reached an all-time high. Poverty and homelessness became visible, notable issues.
United Way volunteers
The numbers:
  • In Bismarck-Mandan, 45% of young children living with a single parent, live in poverty. This number rises to 84% for Native American children
  • Only 29% of local youth feel they have positive role models
  • Over 60% of North Dakotans are overweight or obese
  • Homelessness has increased by 347%
  • Home prices and rental rates have seen significant increases
There’s no doubt our community is experiencing a great deal of change. The good news is North Dakotans from all walks of life have responded in record numbers to meet the challenge.
In 2013:
  • More than $2.1 million was raised during our 2013 Campaign220813_DayofCaring_74
  • More than 6,000 individuals and 600 businesses showed their support during our campaign
  • A grant of $226,712 was received from the Otto Bremer Foundation for 2013
  • A one-time planned gift of $230,000 was left to MSA United Way
  • $122,151 in in-kind resources were distributed to our nonprofit partners
  • 550+ volunteers participated in Day of Caring
  • The United Way Backpack Program was born to combat food insecurity
  • Two new DPIL programs were launched to serve our rural communities
Wrapping up 2013
On Jan. 31, 2014, more than 400 community-minded individuals and business leaders attended our Annual Meeting. We shared the results of the campaign, the impact United Way has had on our community, and where we are going in the future. View the playlist below to see what you missed.
Moving forward in 2014
Because of the generous support of the Bismarck-Mandan community, we will continue to effectively and efficiently work toward solutions to the most pressing needs in our community. In 2014, MSA United Way contributions will support 65 programs and 31 partner agencies that focus on improving the building blocks of a quality life – education, income and health. If you would like to get involved, visit http://www.msaunitedway.org or call 255-3601.

What it means to LIVE UNITED?

This past week, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple declared Nov. 15, 2013, “LIVE UNITED Day” in the state of North Dakota.

So, what does it mean to LIVE UNITED?LIVE UNITED

You’ve probably seen the T-shirts around town, the familiar black block letters on a plain white T-shirt. They’re nothing fancy, but it’s not about the shirt. It’s about being part of something that’s bigger than one person or organization. It’s about joining an effort to address the issues facing our community to ensure that it retains its greatness. It’s about strength in numbers, working together and lending a hand to our neighbors in need.

Share what it means to you on Facebook.

We’re all connected and interdependent. We all win when a child succeeds in school, when families are financially stable and when people have good health.

Do you want to join the cause? It’s simple. It’s as easy as reading to a child, serving a Thanksgiving meal at a local shelter, speaking up or making a monetary donation to a worthy cause. We all have different resources to offer. You can give, you can advocate and you can volunteer. Together, we can advance the common good. That’s what it means to LIVE UNITED.

Share why you LIVE UNITED on our Facebook page.