Northfield Area United Way

Skating Through Life – With a Little Help


Very few kids skate through life. But beginning at age seven, Vanessa Gonzalez has been gliding through the trials of growing up by lacing up a pair of sharpened figure skates. “I love tVanessa United Way Herohe feeling of the ice under my feet. It makes me forget about anything,” she says. A scholarship from the Northfield Youth Sports Collaborative, a Northfield Area United Way-supported program, was essential to her development as the scholar, leader and graceful skater she is today.  The scholarship she received has paid multiple dividends for her and those she’s touched.

From student to coach

A high school senior, she progressed from skating student to volunteer assistant to full-blown coach.  Vanessa Hero with N sign in backgroundNorthfield Skating School Founder and Director Carey Tinkelenberg says, “Vanessa is a natural leader. She is patient and kind, and she thinks through how her actions impact others. ”

As a coach, Vanessa is magnetic, Carey adds. Kids are drawn to her cheerful, calm disposition.

A former national competitor in a sport sometimes identified with prima donnas and tire-iron antics, Carey determined that her school imbue the beauty, grace and athleticism of skating with life skills — skills that give skaters an edge on ice and in life. Carey only hires coaches who are collaborative leaders and Vanessa is a shining example, she says.

Giving back comes naturally

Vanessa not only models leadership on the ice, but also in her multiple volunteer activities. She completes a circle of giving, and that makes her a United Way hero. Vanessa is a member of the National Honors Society’s Steering Committee; she was selected for the Junior Board at Community Resource Bank; and she was recently chosen as a Defeat of Jesse James Days ambassador. Next year she plans to attend Northwestern College in St. Paul, where she’ll study to become an elementary school teacher.

You can make a difference in another’s life, too.  Nominate a hero — someone who gives back in our community like Vanessa or her hero, Carey — and perhaps hasn’t been recognized. The deadline is October 12. Five minutes could mean a world of difference to someone who gives and gives.

Rock Your World at the 100% Local Music Fest!

Third Annual 100% Local Music Festival to be Held October 23

Musical talent is harmonizing on an electrifying event. The third annual 100% Local Music Festival is Northfield Area United Way’s premier fall campaign event and this year it will be held at The Grand Event Center, Friday, October 23, with bands beginning at 5 p.m. and playing until 11:30 p.m.

The impressive line-up includes Mark Allen, Anna Marie Mitchell, The Counterfactuals, Wendy Smith and the Zillionaires, Jon Manners and Carleton’s Knightingales.

The audience is invited to kick up their heels on the dance floor or sit back in the comfortable venue of The Grand Event Center. Food will be complimentary.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students. The ticket price supports the 20 agencies funded by the Northfield Area United Way. Purchase tickets today at Event or mail in the ticket price with your name to: Tickets! Northfield United Way, P.O. Box 56, Northfield, MN 55057. Or call the Northfield Area United Way, 507-664-3510, to reserve tickets.

“The 100% Local Music Festival is a celebration of the fact that community donations to the Northfield Area United Way support local agencies that serve local people,” says Elizabeth Child, Northfield Area United Way executive director. “One in three Northfield area residents directly benefits from United Way donations.”

See What your Donation Does on Donor Day!

On Tuesday, July 28 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Northfield Area United Way invites the donors and volunteers to experience one innovative way their United Way contributions are invested. Every Tuesday during the summer, Growing Up Healthy hosts Martes en el Parque (Tuesdays in the Park) to provide a structured, but relaxed space for neighbors in Viking Terrace and Jefferson Square to build relationships and connect to local resources. Growing Up Healthy is a nonprofit program of Healthy Community Initiative, funded in part by the Northfield Area United Way.

On July 28, UCarleton Student does local food demonited Way donors and volunteers are invited to take part in the activities at Dresden Hill Park, 206 Dresden Ave, in Northfield. Northfield Area United Way volunteers have been supporting Martes en Parque’s weekly mobile vegetable market by helping to cultivate fresh vegetables at Seeds Farm. Vegetables from the farm are distributed to families at the events, and this will be a chance to see the pay-off of their work. Cooking demonstrations are often included to show people how to prepare less familiar foods like kohlrabi and kale.

In addition, Booker, the Northfield Public Library’s bookmobile, will be available so children can check out books, and children’s games will inspire healthy activity. “These connections and local social support have a powerful, positive effect on individual and community health and well-being,” says Leah Eby, Growing Up Healthy coordinator.

About Northfield Area United Way

Through the generous contributions of individuals and organizations, the Northfield Area United Way is granting $263,000 this year in three critical areas: health, education and financial stability/basic needs. One hundred percent of donations to the Northfield Area United stay local, improving the lives of people who live and work in our community.

2015 NAUW Grant Allocations


(May 26, 2015) – The Northfield Area United Way will allocate $263,000 in grants from its 2014 campaign to 21 programs that improve lives in the areas of basic needs, education and health.

Northfield Area United Way grants are awarded annually to local, tax-exempt organizations that offer services in one or more of these areas: Dennison, Dundas, Kilkenny, Lonsdale, Montgomery, Northfield and Webster.

Grant allocations are made with the help of community volunteers including financial experts who conduct a financial review of each applicant. Northfield Area United Way grants are aimed at solving problems in our community. Priority consideration is given to programs that serve the greatest need, and help the greatest number of community members.

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Following are this year’s grants recipients, awarded for the period July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.

Basic Needs:

  • Community Action Center, offering emergency assistance, needs assessment, advocacy and case management to people in the Northfield area with incomes less than 200 percent of poverty.
  • Hope Center, offering 24-hour services to victims of domestic and sexual violence.
  • Ruth’s House of Hope, offering transitional and permanent housing and supportive services for women and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
  • Three Rivers Community Action’s Hiawathaland Auxiliary Regional Transit volunteer transportation program, driving local residents to destinations outside of the public transit schedule and area.
  • Three Rivers Community Action’s Chamomile Housing program, providing transitional housing and case management for homeless people.


  • Bridges to Kindergarten, a three-week intensive pre-kindergarten program held in August at each of the Northfield School District’s neighborhood schools.
  • Camp FRIENDS, providing social, recreational and educational programming for middle school and high school students with disabilities.
  • KickSTART to Kindergarten, promoting and enhancing educational experiences for children entering kindergarten in the Tri-City United Public Schools.
  • Northfield Promise, coordinating the community in aligning resources in order to help all Northfield children thrive, from cradle to career.
  • PRIMEtime, providing low-income and at-risk Northfield children with free mentoring, tutoring, skill-building workshops and cultural enrichment programs after school and over the summer.
  • Project Friendship, pairing youths in grades two through seven with college-aged mentors for one-on-one mentorship.
  • Project ABLE, providing social, recreational and educational opportunities for adults with disabilities.
  • TORCH, seeking to increase the graduation and post-secondary attendance rates of Northfield’s Latino, low-income, minority and first-generation students.
  • Union of Youth, offering Northfield youth free programming, as well as leadership and community services opportunities and access to caring adults via mentoring and workshops.


  • Chemical Health Services of the Northfield Public Schools, addressing the social and emotional well-being of students, including chemical and mental health services.
  • HealthFinders Collaborative, providing free-high-quality, culturally appropriate health care and wellness services to low-income, uninsured and underinsured residents.
  • Infants Remembered in Silence (IRIS), dedicated to helping parents, family, friends and professionals following the death of a child.
  • Northfield Healthy Community Initiative, identifying needs for youth and families, providing ideas and vision, building coalitions to develop and run programs, and writing and managing large collaborative grants.
  • Northfield Senior Center, a fitness and lifestyle center for older adults to connect with their peers while working toward a common goal to be healthy, creative, social and engaged.
  • Northfield Youth Sports Collaborative, a scholarship fund that makes it possible for all Northfield youth to participate in sports associations regardless of their families’ financial circumstances.
  • SEMCAC, serving well-balanced, low-cost noon meals to seniors Monday through Friday at the Northfield Community Resource Center.



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