Over the years, veterans and their family members have expressed the critical need for expanded, wrap-around services throughout our rural communities to United Way of Northeastern MN (UWNEMN) staff, board members and volunteers.
Hearing the need, UWNEMN recruited Wilder Research who spent the better part of 2014 conducting Key Informant Interviews with veterans, their family members and local service providers to determine the most critical needs for UWNEMN to focus on. An online survey option was also available for those that preferred to participate that way.
Upon completion of the study, the initiative “United for Veterans” was formed which is led by United Way staff and a group of local veterans and servicemembers whose mission is “To create an environment of honor and respect for all fellow comrades in Northeastern Minnesota, while developing opportunities, supporting those in need and empowering veterans.”
All dollars raised at Rampage at the Ridge stay local and support the development of current and upcoming programming.
To date, United for Veterans has accomplished the following:
Create and manage a crisis fund which allows veterans and servicemembers experiencing a hardship to apply for financial assistance to offset the cost of a basic living expense. UWNEMN receives most referrals from providers such as the local VA Clinics, County Veteran Service offices and MAC-V who reach out once their options have been exhausted. Over $30,000 has been distributed to local veterans.
A partnership with Speare Psychological Services is providing any veteran or servicemember experiencing depression, anxiety, PTSD, military sexual trauma or other mental health issues related to the military experience access to 12 free confidential therapy sessions at no cost.
Host local retreats for veterans and their families. The annual Fall Retreat will take place at Veterans on the Lake Resort in Ely September 7th-9th, 2018 with registration opening on May 1st. **New this year we have a Women Veterans Retreat scheduled for May 4th-6th at Giants Ridge. Registration for this retreat opens March 1st. To register or for more information on the retreats visit www.unitedwaynemn.org
Developed a veterans resource center on the Hibbing Community College Campus which provides a space for on campus veterans to convene, study, and access the veteran resource officer for assistance with their G.I. Bill and other military benefits.
A partnership with the Minnesota Family Assistance Center allowed United for Veterans to support the printing of over 6,000 Military Connections Guides which provide information on services available to Northeastern MN veterans and their families. Download the Military Connections Guide
Grant disbursements to local veteran service organizations upon request.
** The newest focus for funds raised at Rampage is a transitional housing unit for local veterans. Over the past couple of year's United Way has received numerous referrals for veterans that are homeless in our region. On any given night local small shelters are full and the wait to obtain and apartment or home can be up to six months. Development of the project is underway and more details will be released during the Rampage at the Ridge event
It is the vision of United Way of Northeastern MN, that through collaborative efforts with veterans and their families, local service providers, community stakeholders and funders; all veterans in our region will have access to improved care, financial stability, employment and high quality support overall, thus allowing veterans, their families and our communities the opportunity to flourish, grow and thrive.
Are you a Vet? Contact United Way of Northeastern MN to become part of the change.