United Ways in the Twin Ports Merge
Duluth United Way Merges with Superior-Douglas County United Way
July 1, 2015 will mark a huge step for our regional community: United Way of Greater Duluth (UWGD) and United Way of Superior-Douglas County (UWSDC) merge to form Head of the Lakes United Way.
The combined Boards of Directors, along with UWSDC members unanimously approved the merger on April 22, 2015.
“I’m excited about the endless possibilities two strong organizations can provide by joining forces,” says Kathi Madsen, former Executive Director of UWSDC.
Community members have plenty to say about the merger. Via an anonymous questionnaire on the UWGD website, a Superior resident said: “As an organization in Douglas County with lots of friends and supporters in Duluth, we would really be benefited by more opportunities to connect on both sides of the bridge!”
A Duluth resident had this to say when asked their wishes for a merged United Way:
“Do it! It only makes sense. Shared resources saves time and money. There is so much cross-over between the two communities. Seems silly that businesses have to run two campaigns and non-profits have to apply to two different United Ways for funding if they serve both communities.”
“We know hunger and housing issues don’t stop at county or state lines,” says Matt Hunter, President of Head of the Lakes United Way (HLUW). “This merger will allow us to more positively impact the larger region in the areas of basic needs, education, and other issues. Communities have been supporting both United Ways for decades; their generosity and determination will position all of us to achieve more.”
During listening sessions and many conversations among merger task force members, donors made it clear they want to continue selecting which community they support through the United Way campaign: North Shore, Greater Duluth, Superior-Douglas County or Ashland- Bayfield Counties.
“No community wants to lose their United Way identity in a merger,” says Madsen. To ensure a smooth transition of the Superior-Douglas County and Ashland-Bayfield Counties’ campaign relationships and work, Madsen will stay on with the new organization for several months to assure the Wisconsin communities are represented well.
Other than the new name, donors and stakeholders should see little short-term change.
Full transition and integration could take a year or more.
This year’s community campaigns in the North Shore, Greater Duluth, Superior-Douglas County and Ashland-Bayfield Counties will look much as they have in the past.
Offices will remain in place, and Head of the Lakes United Way will continue to coordinate with volunteers and community leaders to help guide local strategies, programs, relationship building and fundraising.