Live United


United Way of Inner Wisconsin



United Way of Inner Wisconsin News


Great Book Giveaway Grows Again in 2016

  • Attendance at the seventh annual Great Book Giveaway grew again this year with 323 children attending seven events (462 total including adults).  Additionally, 29 volunteers donated their time to read books to children at the events.  In 2015, there were 251 children (376 total with adults). 
  • The volunteers read books to children June 7-10 in Port Edwards, Nekoosa, Vesper, Rudolph, Wisconsin Rapids and Adams-Friendship. After the volunteers were done, books were distributed to every child present. Just over 1,000 books were distributed this year.  The books were collected during a children’s book drive held in April, 2016. 
  • This initiative helps families build up their home libraries and to stave off the “summer slide.” Teachers spend approximately one month every fall “catching up” on what children forgot during summer recess.  One of the ways to prevent the “summer slide” is to have children read – or be read to – every day.  We also know that when children have their own books, and when they are readily accessible in the home, parents, guardians and caregivers are more likely to read to kids. Reading to children is crucial to help increase school preparedness and improve literacy skills.


United Way Announces Winners of "United We Can"

  • United Way of Inner Wisconsin and the South Wood County Hunger Coalition are proud to announce the winners of the 2016 “United We Can” Food Sculpture Contest.  This year’s award recipients include:
    • Most Creative: Aspirus Riverview Hospital and their “Being Hungry Makes You Crabby!” sculpture
    • Most Nutritious:  Ocean Spray and their “Fork Lift” sculpture
    • Community Choice Award:  ERCO Worldwide and their “Snoopy” sculpture
  • “But the real winners are our local food programs and the people they serve,” said Stefanie Drexler, Director of Office Operations at United Way of Inner Wisconsin and coordinator of the event.  “Thanks to last night’s competition, we were able to leverage 6,000 pounds of food for local food programs.  These food donations will feed many families for a long time.  We were also able to educate the community about hunger issues that are happening right here in our community.”
  • This year there were eight teams competing:  Aspirus Riverview Hospital, Central Wisconsin Literacy Council, ERCO Worldwide, Grace Lutheran Church, Ocean Spray, Solarus, The Family Center (with help from volunteers from ODC) and United Way’s 2-1-1.  Teams worked on their sculptures at Witter Field on June 15th from 10am – 4pm; then during the Rafter’s game, spectators were able to view the sculptures and vote for their favorite.  Photos of last night’s sculptures can be viewed HERE.
  • Food that was collected was distributed to:  Christian Life Fellowship Food Pantry, Rapids Family Backpacks, South Wood Emerging Pantry Shelf, The Family Center Shelter Pantry, and The Neighborhood Table.


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.


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.