The board of directors of United Way of Thief River Falls has announced that it is severing ties with United Way and establishing the Thief River Falls Area Community Fund under the auspices of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation.
A letter sent to businesses, organizations and partner agencies last week by Laura Stengrim, director, explained that United Way Worldwide has been transitioning toward a “Community Impact Model” for the past few years and is now making it mandatory that local United Ways transition to a model that involves offering programming in their community versus fundraising for existing programing. The letter explains that Thief River Falls is not large enough to fund several fulltime staff to implement additional programs that other organizations may already be offering, so the unanimous decision was made by the board to move to fulfill its mission through the Thief River Falls Area Community Fund.
As noted above, the new organization would be under the auspices or support and protection of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, which currently has 21 community funds throughout northwestern Minnesota. These funds further the mission of NMF to promote philanthropy and improve the quality of life in the region.
These community funds grow through local gifts, but also offer greater flexibility in the ways it can receive gifts. Donations can be made online or mailed. NMF also accepts bequests, gifts of grain, sock IRA rollovers and real estate. Caryl Turnow, senior development officer at NMF, is available to assist with planned giving, including trusts and charitable gift annuities.
The establishment of endowments will also be a possibility. Those who wish to invest in the long-term sustainability of the Thief River Falls community may direct their gifts to build the endowment. Endowment gifts generate earnings that provide annual grants for qualified services, activities and projects that help to revitalize and re-energize the community.
Some members of the United Way Board will continue to serve. The search for new members will be initiated to assure a broad representation of the community. This local advisory committee will recommend grants from the fund.
The local committee is confident that this is a positive move for the Thief River Falls community. It is currently developing a timeline for 2016 fundraising.
Online donations are already being accepted. Individuals wishing to support the Thief River Falls Area Community Fund may do so be logging onto www.nwmf.org. Click on Donate, and select the Thief River Falls Area Community Fund. Choose spendable if it is your wish the money to be made immediately available for spending. Choose an endowment if you want the gift to be an investment in the future of Thief River Falls. Endowment gifts receive a 10 percent match from Northwest Minnesota Foundation. Donations may also be made via check written to NMF/TRF Area Community Fund and mailed to 201 Third St. N.W., Bemidji, MN 56601. If the donation is for the annual spendable campaign, please specify that on the memo line.