10 Reasons to LOVE Your MSA United Way

“The degree of loving is measured by the degree of giving.”

– Edwin Louis Cole

Valentine’s Day has us thinking warm & fuzzy thoughts. We polled board members, volunteers, Women United members and United Way staff to collect just a small sampling of reasons to love United Way.


  • United Way brings folks from all walks of life together in the spirit of positive change. You really get to see the results of our community being better when we work together.
  • United Way uplifts, it does not divide.
  • Adopt-a-Classroom!
  • I LOVE United Way because they make children a priority by mentoring and tutoring them, making sure they have meals on the weekends, and by working to ensure every child has a positive role model in their life.
  • Every dollar makes a difference.
  • United Way spurs positive change in my community.
  • Everyone and anyone can get involved.
  • United Way is different. I know that my dollars are being used as efficiently as possible on the needs in the community that are most imminent. I love being a part of the solution and not just another whiny, complaining post on Facebook.
  • Working with Women United and seeing the impact they are making in the classroom, as mentors, and building relationships to make our community one that we are proud to live in.
  • I love being part of making our community a safer and better place to live.

Find what you LOVE about United Way by getting involved. Become a donor, volunteer with a non-profit at http://www.volunteerbisman.com, adopt-a-classroom and become a mentor…the options are endless. Call us at 255-3601 for more information!





Northridge 5th Graders Take Action

Check out this awesome story from a local fifth grader named Messina. After hearing about the shortfall with the United Way Backpack Program, their class decided to do something about it. What an inspiration, Northridge! Our future is in good, caring and community-minded hands.

My name is Messina and I’m a fifth grader at img_0723Northridge Elementary school. I am very happy to inform you about our great success in raising money for the United way Backpack Program, using problem solving skills, business skills, and communication skills we learned how to become businessmen, and put together two events to raise the maximum amount of donations we could give to the United way Backpack Program. Here are the steps we used to get us as far as we did.

step 1. Our teacher Mrs. Sagsveen got a letter on her computer telling how the backpack program needed help raising 40,000$ or more, she asked us if we wanted to do something about it, and we answered that with deciding do a hat day within our school. We created several different committees to do certain things, like the poster committee would make all the posters, hang them up, and take them done when appropriate. The poster committee made posters for the hat day, the ideas committee ( most of our class) said that the suggested donation should be 1.00$ or more, but if you didn’t have a dollar you could still wear a hat. we got about 700$ from that, but we still had to put some aside for the main event.

step 2. Our class decided that we would have a snack shack that would contain healthy snacks only. Our first obstacle was allergies, some kids in our school had allergies and might not want to buy things at the snack shack, we decided just not to have snacks that some kids might be allergic to. The second obstacle we had to face was germs and refrigeration, we decided to use a friend’s fridge, bowls of ice, and a lunch pack.With the germs, we had bought packaged items instead of open items and homemade items, (except for the fresh fruit). Once again, the poster committee made posters, and the snack shack was under way of being approved. As soon as the snack shack was approved, we got started buying and selling the snacks, this lasted for a week and then ended. We got back our spent profits (160$,130$,140$…), and over 550$ in real profits!

the result. I am very proud to say that we made over 1,300$ for the backpack program. To sum up everything, we started out with a hat day to raise enough money to start a snack shack, and we got even more money from that, so these are the two easy steps that got us 1,300$.kids

A Community UNITED

On Friday, January 27, 2017, 450 business leaders, agency representatives and United Way supporters gathered together at the Ramkota to celebrate. And there is a LOT to celebrate.
Because of your investment of our community in 2016:
• Over 40,000 lives were changed
• 23,234 nights of shelter were provided
• 1,866,419 meals were served
• 47,497 Imagination Library books were mailed
• 3,652 of you volunteered

This campaign season you stepped up and raised a record-breaking $2,616,216 million to support 33 partner agencies and 56 vital programs in our community. Simply amazing.

In addition to celebrating the amazing financial commitment of our community, a number of businesses and volunteers were also recognized.

Lifetime of Caring Award goes to an outstanding individual who goes above and beyond to give back to our community. Albert A. Wolf

Best in Show is awarded to groups for their exceptional gifts and campaigns
Small Business: Fireside Office Solution 
Corporate and Employee Gifts: MDU Resources Group, Inc. 
Employee Campaign: National Information Solutions Cooperative
United Way Agency: Abused Adult Resource Center

LIVE UNITED Award recognizes companies that go over and above for our community and exemplify the definition of LIVING UNITED.
* ND Department of Human Services
* Paramount Builders, Inc.
* Townsquare Media
* Kupper Chevrolet
Spirit of Bismarck-Mandan
recognizes a
business for an outstanding employee campaign.
EMC Insurance Companies 

Top 20 Company and Employee Investments:
1. Basin Electric Power Cooperative
2. MDU Resources Group, Inc.
3. Scheels Sports
4. Sanford Health
5. Doosan/Bobcat Company
6. Aetna
7. CHI St. Alexius Health
8. Eide Bailly
9. National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC)
10. Starion Bank
11. Bismarck Public Schools
12. Tesoro
13. American Bank Center
14. Wells Fargo Bank
15. Gate City Bank
16. BNC National Bank
17. U.S. Bank
18. KLJ
19. ND Workforce Safety & Insurance
20. University of Mary

May Your Backpack Always Be Full

This beautiful story is re-posted with permission from the author, Mrs. Fischer from Grimsrud Elementary and showcases the impact of the United Way Backpack Program.

The place: My Classroom
The Day: Friday
The Time: Afternoon
Me: Talking to no one and everyone, in particular

After what seemed to be one of the longest weeks ever, I was taking attendance and just said, “Whew, I’m so glad it’s Friday,” to no one, really. I’m sure a few kids heard me and just went about their silent reading time. But one heard me and came to my table in the back of the room.

This one said, “Me, too, Mrs. Fischer!”

I said, “Something special going on this weekend?” Expecting an answer like, yeah, we’re going to the street fair, or movies or getting a video game…Boy, was I wrong!

This one replied, “I love Fridays because I get to (get to, mind you) take the backpack full of food home to my family!”

Right then and there I wanted to grab that child, hold on to them forever…apologize to anyone/everyone I ever thought a mean thing about, quit whining about petty stuff, because here in front of me was a nine year old child who was so excited because they get to take home a backpack of food to the family! They will have food for the weekend.

As a couple of tears appeared this one said smiling up at me, “Do you get to take home a backpack, too?”

I said, “Yes, yes I do, but my backpack has some different type of “food” than yours. Mine won’t be as full as yours is.”

This one responded as they hugged me, “Don’t worry, Mrs. Fischer, I bet next week yours will be full too!” and went to their spot and started to read.

I turned around so the kids couldn’t see me because I was crying. And this is what I saw (a photo my dad). Talk about divine intervention, whatever works for you. This picture WAS on top of my taller shelf since school started. Somehow it was down right beside the phone…He must have known it’s been a heck of a week. Just like the nine year old letting me know that next week my backpack will be full, too. Little does this one know my backpack is already full! I just need to see it, feel it, and love!

1,000,000 Meals Provided Last Year

This week, Bismarck Mayor Mike Seminary recognized as Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.Thanks to programs like the Great Plains Food Bank, Burleigh County Senior Center, Mandan Golden Age and the United Way Backpack Program, over 1,000,000 meals were provided to the hungry in our area last year. We’re making great headway in combating hunger, we still have work to do.

Check out Brenda’s story of how her life took a turn and she found herself with two extra mouths to feed.

uw_portraits_0046Brenda had worked hard to prepare for retirement and she thought she was ready. However, life took a different turn when she unexpectedly became the guardian of her two young grandchildren.

Brenda previously had enough to take care of herself, but started running short with two growing boys to feed. Despite working full time and tapping into retirement savings, she quickly realized that her income wasn’t going to be enough and that food was going to be a problem.

Then she found help through Great Plains Food Bank, a partner in United Way’s Health Initiative. She enrolled the boys in a summer lunch program and was able to receive the assistance she needed to keep her family fed and fueled.

“At first I was embarrassed to ask for help. I’m 64 years old and have never asked for any type of assistance. But this was beyond me. It was about my grandchildren eating and I knew I had to do whatever it took to keep them from going hungry,” said Brenda.

Without this assistance, Brenda would have likely been faced with tough choices to keep food on the table, such as giving up needed medication or keeping up with house and utility payments. Brenda’s grandsons also would have likely sensed the pressure she was facing and begun to act out in school. With no relief in sight, these problems would have only grown worse.

“I can say I’m not longer ashamed to be on the other side. I’ve been treated with dignity and respect and my grandchildren have enough to eat. The summer feeding program gives them the fuel they need to do well in school, which will help them get into college. In that way, it’s providing them with so much more than food – it’s providing my grandchildren with a future.”


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.

Online Auction – Great Deals Doing a Great Deal of Good

Travel extraordinaires and sport and entertainment fans who want to support the community are in luck come April 20, as that marks the start of MSA United Way’s Online Auction. From the comfort of your own home you can search over 100 items that will benefit United Way’s Education Initiative which focuses on removing barriers that prevent students from succeeding in school. This will be the eight year for this annual, community-wide fundraiser.

Items up for bid include: a timeshare, an autographed NDSU 2014 championship team football, rounds of golf, dog kennels, golf club set, Medora vacation, spa packages, and much more. There’s something for everyone.

All items have been donated by area businesses, organizations and community members. The auction runs for two weeks and will end on Friday, May 1 at 8 p.m.

“This is one of our largest fundraisers of the year,” said Jena Gullo, executive director at MSA United Way.  “The auction offers an alternative way for businesses and individuals to support the community.”

For a full list of items or to place a bid, visit msaunitedway.org.