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United Way of Inner Wisconsin



United Way of Inner Wisconsin News


Hunger Coalition Seeks "United We Can" Teams

  • The South Wood County Hunger Coalition will be hosting its annual “United We Can” competition on June 15, 2016 at Witter Field. 
  • United We Can is a contest to see which participating organization in south Wood County can build the most creative and visually captivating sculpture out of cans (or other basic needs items) donated by employees, friends or employers.  After the event, the Hunger Coalition will distribute the collected items to area food programs.
  • The Hunger Coalition is currently looking for teams of volunteers to participate!  Construction is June 15 from 10am – 4pm.  Canned food sculptures remain on display during the Rafter’s game against the Madison Mallards, starting at 7:05pm. 
  • Each team will receive up to four complimentary tickets to stay for the game.  A team of judges will award prizes for “Most Nutritious” and “Most Creative.”  The “Community Choice Award” is selected by those in attendance at the game; the winning team will receive an award and the traveling trophy for one year.
  • Deadline to register your team is June 6, 2016.  Teams can consist of co-workers, volunteer groups, etc.  You can register your team by contacting Stefanie Drexler at United Way of Inner Wisconsin at 715-421-0390 or


United Way Announces 2017 Grant Recipients

  • The United Way of Inner Wisconsin Board of Directors approved plans to distribute $505,197 in grants in south Wood and Adams Counties in 2017 during its board meeting May 18, 2016. 
  • Programs that receive United Way funding must demonstrate they are making an impact in four strategy areas:  Education, Income, Health, and Safety Net Services.  United Way will be distributing $477,297 in south Wood County and $27,900 in Adams County.
  • United Way of Inner Wisconsin will raise these funds during its 2016 campaign this fall.  The United Way campaign runs from September 1st to October 31st, 2016.  2017 allocations are contingent on enough funds being raised this fall. 
  • To view our 2017 Grant Recipients, click here.


Great Book Giveaway

  • From June 7 – 10th 2016, United Way of Inner Wisconsin will be distributing FREE children’s books during its 7th annual Great Book Giveaway.  The community is invited to join in on this free event, including families, caretakers of children and childcare facilities. 
  • During Great Book Giveaway, volunteers will be reading books to children; and after each event, all in attendance can select books to take home and keep.  Great Book Giveaway will be at seven different locations:
    • June 7, 10:30am, Charles & JoAnn Lester Public Library, Nekoosa
    • June 7, 1:30pm, Wisconsin Rapids Municipal Zoo
    • June 8, 10:30am, Edwards-Alexander Memorial Park, Port Edwards
    • June 8, 6:00pm, Lester Public Library, Vesper
    • June 9, 10:30am, THINK Academy Playground, Rudolph
    • June 9, 6:00pm, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids
    • June 10, 10:30am, Burt Morris Park, Adams County .
  • The books that United Way will be giving out were raised during a community-wide children’s book drive held in April.
  • The goal of the Great Book Giveaway is to stave off “summer brain drain” as children quickly forget what they’ve learned during summer vacation.  “We’ve been told that teachers spend several weeks at the beginning of each school year just catching up,” said Tari Jahns, United Way of Inner Wisconsin’s CEO.  “Kids who keep up with their reading during the summer are ahead of the game.”
  • “Additionally, we know kids are more likely to read on their own when they have books laying around the house,” said Jahns.  “Parents can help spark a curiosity for reading by leaving the books around the house where children can see them; reading to their children every night; and visiting the library.  Working together we can ensure our local youth get a terrific start on the next school year!”
  • This year, volunteers will include:  Pam Abfall from Dependable Concrete; Barb Albrecht, community member; Darla Allen from the Charles & JoAnn Lester Public Library (Nekoosa); Deb Cleworth from the Family Center; Josh Dhein from ERCO Worldwide; Cathy Dyszelski, community member; Jeanne Fehrman, community member; Kathy Hartjes, community member; Brenda Hudak from Catalyst Paper; Celeste Huff, a student at Lincoln High School; Erin Huser from the Lester Public Library in Vesper; Judy Kay, community member; Pris Kellogg, community member; Mai Her Khang, a student from East Junior High School; Sally Kissner from ZAXX Technology Specialists; Kathy Maxwell, community member; Kathy McGrath, community member; Rick Merdan from Incourage; Kerry Preece from McMillan Memorial Library; Jamie Rokus from Daily Tribune Media; Tracy Vruwink from the South Wood County YMCA; Kaatje Weiland, 2015 Ms. Wisconsin Rapids Area; and Gaoia Xiong, a student from East Junior High School.
  • In the event of rain, Great Book Giveaway will be moved indoors to a backup location.  For more information, visit our website at or call the United Way office at 715-421-0390.


Stuff the School Bus Accepting Pre-Registrations



  • The Stuff the School Bus committee for south Wood County is now accepting applications for free school supplies that will be distributed August 13, 8:00am – 11:30am at Lincoln High School (1801 16th St. S., Wisconsin Rapids).  Families who wish to receive free school supplies need to pre-register from now until July 22, 2016. 
  • Registration applications were distributed to all students in the Nekoosa, Port Edwards and Wisconsin Rapids school districts – either sent home in the weekly folders or in monthly newsletters.
  • Applications can also be picked up at: 
    • Boys and Girls Club of the Wisconsin Rapids Area, 501 17th St. S., Wisconsin Rapids (as well as the Mead, Nekoosa and Port Edwards locations)
    • United Way of Inner Wisconsin, 351 Oak Street, Wisconsin Rapids
    • Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools Central Office, 510 Peach Street, Wisconsin Rapids
  • An application can also be downloaded above.  Applications will NOT be mailed out to anyone.
  • Applications must be returned to United Way of Inner Wisconsin (351 Oak Street, Wisconsin Rapids, WI  54494) by July 22, 2016.  In early August, families will receive a postcard informing them of their time-slot for pick up during Stuff the Desk on August 13, 2016.
  • Stuff the School Bus will be asking local businesses and individuals to collect/donate school supplies from July 11 – August 4, 2016.  School supplies will be dropped off at the Stuff the School Bus drive on August 4th during Lunch by the River at Veteran’s Memorial Park (11:30am – 1:00pm). 
  • Stuff the School Bus is a community collaborative effort to collect and distribute school supplies to students in need.  All families who are in financial need are eligible.  For more information, please contact United Way’s 2-1-1.
  • For more information, click here.


United Way Distributes 2016 Help Guides

  • Thanks to a Bridge Grant from Incourage, United Way of Inner Wisconsin was able to distribute over 10,000 Help Guides in the community in March and April.  This is the eighth year United Way of Inner Wisconsin has partnered with Incourage on the Help Guides.
  • The Help Guide is a listing of common questions asked by individuals who call United Way’s 2-1-1 call center.  These questions include “How do I apply for unemployment?” and “Where can I go for food?”
  • This year brochures went home with every student in the Nekoosa, Port Edwards and Wisconsin Rapids School Districts.  Help Guides were also dropped off at local non-profit organizations, government agencies, clinics, banks, gas stations and churches.
  • If your business or organization would like to receive Help Guides to display, please contact the United Way of Inner Wisconsin office at 715-421-0390.  United Way has additional materials to display including FamilyWize Prescription Drug Discount Cards, enTouch Wireless applications (free cell phones for individuals who qualify for certain government programs), and 2-1-1 materials (fact cards, posters, etc.).
  • The 2016 Help Guide for Adams County has also been completed.


United Way's 2-1-1 Achieves National Re-Accreditation

  • United Way’s 2-1-1 has earned national re-accreditation by the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS).    Accreditation was awarded the first time to United Way’s 2-1-1 in 2009. With this successful completion of the AIRS re-accreditation, United Way’s 2-1-1 joins a select group of organizations and programs that have demonstrated their competence in meeting the Standards for Professional Information and Referral. 
  • AIRS re-accreditation is used primarily as a quality assurance standard by using objective evidence to gauge achievement in service quality and effectiveness, community involvement and organizational stability. 
  • United Way’s 2-1-1 re-accreditation demonstrates its commitment to quality service delivery and community dedication. “Re-accreditation is a very lengthy process, said Amy Fluno, Program Director.  "AIRS looks at every aspect of our program and the process includes an onsite review. We are very proud to have earned re-accreditation at our very small call center.  It was worth all the time spent on this process.”
  • Participation in the re- accreditation process and successful completion is testament of commitment to delivering quality service. This distinguished re-accreditation award also demonstrates excellence as United Way’s 2-1-1 stands apart from its non-certified, non-accredited counterparts in the I&R and human service industry. Additionally, United Way’s 2-1-1 is currently one of only 150 organizations nationally accredited. 
  • United Way’s 2-1-1 is a program of United Way of Inner Wisconsin and Marshfield Area United Way, which serves Adams, Clark, Juneau and Wood Counties - as well as 10 additional counties in northwest Wisconsin.  2-1-1 provides community information and referral for inquiries such as food, shelter, counseling, and more via a three digit telephone number (2-1-1). 
  • 2-1-1 is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week.  Calls are answered by information specialists trained in navigating the maze of human service agencies and programs to help individuals, families and professionals connect with the services they need.