Northfield Area United Way

Why Give to United Way?

Unleash your inner hero.

Support your local community.

  • 100% of your donation helps people who live and work in the greater Northfield community.
  • 100% local individuals (including potentially YOU), direct giving. Join an allocation committee:Children get books through Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.

  • 100% of agencies your donation funds are reviewed by financial experts to ensure that your funds are spent responsibly.

1 in 3 residents benefit. Do you know a child in the Northfield or Tri-City schools who attended a ready-for-kindergarten program? Do you have an elderly parent who benefits from a free meal daily or weekly? Do you know someone with a disabled child? Have you ever needed medical care for depression or anxiety or diabetes yourself? All of these are ways Northfield Area United Way partner agencies step in to support people a lot like you in our community.

Create a circle of giving. Short term solutions can have long-term benefits creating a circle of giving in which those are helped, help others in turn. That develops a culture of caring in our community.

Support three legs of service that cannot work alone. The Northfield Area United Way funds Education, Health and Finanicial Stability/Basic Needs for our neighbors. Together they create a platform for success. The fact is, without stable housing and nutrition a child will not make it to school consistently. Without a good education, that child likely will not grow to support him or herself. Statistics also show those with lower levels of education have more health issues.  All three areas must work together.

Support small but important agencies that fly under the radar. Without the United Way, services like Reading Corp, which tutors third graders so they are reading at their reading level, might go unknown. By funding the United Way, you fund agencies that are making a world of difference to families – perhaps families like yours.

You have CHOICE about your giving.

  1. Give where there is the greatest need by giving to our general fund to fund three legs of support for our community: Education, Health and Basic Needs.
  2. Have a passion for a cause? Designate one or more of our partner agencies to receive your gift. (See them on our brochure or website,
  3. Designate your gift to any 501(c)3 health or human services nonprofit agency in the Northfield area, even if they are not on our partner list.

Tell Your Friends about Give to the Max!


Hey, United Way supporters, did you know you can help raise funds NOW for Give to the Max Day, Nov. 17?  How? Use your favorite social media — Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram — and start letting people know what you care about:

  • Post a message about why you give to Northfield Area United Way.
  • Post a photo from the Northfield Area United Way Facebook page. We love to have you share them!
  • Post one or more of these facts:


Northfield Area United Way funds local non-profit agencies meeting the most critical needs in our community within three key areas: Education, Health and Financial Stability.

Education, Health and Financial stability are three legs of a stool. Each needs to be addressed to stabilize and lift those in need – otherwise the stool falls down. United Way is unique as a funder in that it addresses all three.

Northfield Area United Way is…


One in three residents is directly served by United Way-funded agencies. Your donation stays local to help people who live and work in the greater Northfield community. 


We have been in the Northfield Area for 42 years, serving as a trusted resource for foundational services that help people succeed in life.


We hold our partner agencies (those funded by Northfield Area United Way) to measurable results to ensure your donation is wisely invested.


Money goes where you designate and administrative fees are a low 13% — well within guidelines of Charity Navigator. Rule of thumb: A nonprofit cannot be effective with overhead of 10% or lower.


Measurable Goals for 2016-17 United Way Campaign

By giving to the Northfield Area United Way this year, you help the community:

Increase the number of children reading at grade level in third grade by 5%. Currently 38% of Northfield third graders were not reading at third grade level by the end of third grade. Research has found that those not meeting that key benchmark for so far behind they are four times less likely to graduate from high school.

Achieve a goal of 100% of high school graduates having an achievable plan for their future.  Many high school students go off to college or jobs with no plan. We aim to help them reach their goals by visualizing them early.

Ensure that no one in need is turned away from the food shelf, even though needs are expected to grow by 5% in Northfield this year.

Give 50% more Northfield residents who are uninsured or underinsured with quality, affordable healthcare. As healthcare costs rise, many rely on community services. Your donation helps keep people healthy with both dental and medical care.



This year you can designate to one or more areas – Education, Health or Financial Stability — or give to the General Fund in which case your donation impacts the greatest needs in each of these areas. Click “Give” at now.

The tutor and the first grader sat side-by-side, working on a reading exercise together.

“Miss Rachel, you have a lot to teach me!” the student suddenly exclaimed.

The tutor, Rachel Miessler, remembers this moment vividly. “I have many great memories from my time as a Minnesota Reading Corps tutor,” she says.

Minnesota Reading Corps is an initiative of ServeMinnesota, an organization funded in part by Northfield Area United Way to meet critical needs and create positive change in Minnesota. Reading Corps is designed to address the state’s high rate of early literacy failure by training AmeriCorps members to serve as tutors. These tutors work with students age three through grade three who need supplemental support in order to reach reading proficiency.

Long-term success

Until third grade, students learn to read — but after third grade, they read to learn, explains Reading Corps’ Rachel Garaghty. If children are unable to develop strong reading skills by third grade, they won’t become the successful learners that they might otherwise. Nationally, schools are focused on reading in third grade, which is an essential benchmark indicating whether students will succeed in the long term. Research shows that students without strong reading skills in third grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school than those who read proficiently as third-graders.

Reading Corps, with support from Northfield Area United Way, has been implemented at Bridgewater Elementary and Sibley Elementary schools, where 38 percent of third-graders did not demonstrate reading proficiency in 2015. Contributions to the Northfield Area United Way this year will help at least 50 struggling readers get on target to read proficiently.

“We’re thrilled to add Minnesota Reading Corps as one of our partner agencies for the first time this year,” says Elizabeth Child, executive director of Northfield Area United Way.

During the five years that Reading Corps has worked in Northfield Public Schools, 22 tutors have been placed in the school district and more than 400 students have been served, including the first grader whom Miessler was tutoring.

By the end of the year, this student went from “not knowing letter sounds and being unable to focus for more than two minutes to reading short stories, pronouncing all the words correctly, comprehending the stories, and focusing well for 20 minutes at a time,” says Miessler.


Former Minnesota Reading Corps tutor Rachel Miessler working with a student in Northfield Public Schools.

One-on-one support

Tutors work one-on-one with students every day, individualizing their interventions and complementing the core instruction that students already receive in the classroom. They help with specific skills such as “letter and sound recognition, phonemic awareness, comprehension, and fluency,” Miessler explains. And by consistently collecting data on their students’ progress, tutors ensure that students are always moving closer to their targets.

Shari Sneary’s son participated in Reading Corps in Northfield. She explains that “he needed one-on-one support in order to meet the standards set before him. That type of attention would not have been possible without a program like Reading Corps.

“The sense of accomplishment as our son met various goals and grade-level standards was immeasurable.”

From a tutor’s perspective, Reading Corps benefits students in ways beyond strengthening their reading skills. Miessler says that “they also gain confidence and learn to focus, which are skills that stick with them for the rest of their lives.”

Another aspect of Reading Corps that sets it apart from other early literacy programs is its integrative design — it is delivered during the regular school day and involves regular school personnel. This design encourages strong relationships between the program and the school in which it is implemented.

“Northfield is a community that is committed to its children and their education,” Sneary says. “Reading Corps is a wonderful program that further enhances the existing initiatives and goals of the Northfield School District and the community.”

Miessler agrees, “Northfield has wonderful elementary schools, which are made even stronger with the addition of Reading Corps!”

The Local History of JonnyPops

We are excited to announce that JonnyPops is gifting pops at a severely reduced rate to Northfield Area United Way for our upcoming truck pull! Upper Lakes Foods is also donating ice cream treats for the event.

JonnyPops has its own local history. The origins of the company can be traced back to a dorm room at St. Olaf College, where a student named Erik shared a story with his friends.

Erik told his friends about a business idea that he and his cousin, Jonathan, had explored. The two of them wanted to create an all-natural, fruit-forward frozen treat with simple, wholesome ingredients.

But before they could embark on their new business, Jonathan passed away due to a drug overdose. It was this piece of the story that inspired Erik and his friends to take up where Jonathan had left off.

jonny-pops-creatorsJonnyPops creators Erik Brust, Jamie Marshall, and Connor Wray. 

JonnyPops were named in honor of Jonathan, and a portion of the company’s proceeds are donated to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation — a national leader in addiction treatment and recovery.

The company’s motto is “A Better Pop for a Better World,” and their belief is that every act of kindness — no matter how big or small — goes a long way.

Come to our truck pull on September 22nd at 5pm in Bridge Square to taste JonnyPops for yourself. All ice cream treats are free — and a great way to spoil your kid’s dinner!

Truck Pull in Bridge Square Sept. 22 – You’re Invited!

Could you pull a 6,000-pound truck filled with Northfield area leaders? Probably not. But if we pull together with a clear goal in mind, Northfield Area United Way believes we can move just about anything – or anyone – forward, no matter how weighty.

Northfield  Area United Way is asking locals to demonstrate the power of pulling together during its fall campaign launch. Teams will attempt to pull a giant Ford truck filled with area leaders representing the Northfield area from just inside Fifth St. to Bridge Square along Water St. from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22. The team pulling the truck the distance the fastest will win. The United Way Truck Pull is sponsored by Dokmo Ford-Chrysler, which also is providing the truck.

Leaders in the truck will include Northfield Mayor Dana Graham; City Administrator Ben Martig; Police Chief Monte Nelson; City of Northfield’s Director of Library and IT Services Teresa Jenson; and Northfield City Council Members Jennifer Peterson White, Rhonda Pownell and Erica Zweifel.

Leaders from all areas served by the Northfield Area United Way have been invited to participate, including officials from Dundas, Dennison, Lonsdale, Kilkenny, Lonsdale, Montgomery and Webster.

KYMN’s Jeff Johnson will emcee the event.

Teams that want to compete to pull the truck are forming now. If you would like to field a team, contact the Northfield Area United Way, 507-664-3510 or The number of teams is limited, so register your team as soon as possible.

The public is encouraged to cheer on teams and join in an ice cream social. Ice cream and Jonny Pops are free, complements of Upper Lakes Foods and Jonny Pops.

About the Northfield Area United Way

The Northfield Area United Way has been funding human service organizations in our area for more than 40 years. Through the generous contributions of individuals and organizations, the Northfield Area United Way granted more than $265,000 last year for education, health and financial stability.