Creating change together

Change requires first an understanding of what it is that we need to change. Following this awareness and acceptance, it requires us to act. When we act together, we create a difference that can change our community!

Daily, I interact with people who are making a difference that contribute towards positive change in the lives of the people who live here.

I am thankful for the many groups who collectively support the needs of families and individuals through the United Way. One particular group of people who are working together to create change includes the United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties Board of Directors: president – Glenn Miller (American Solutions for Business), vice president – Carl Vaagenes (Alomere Health), treasurer – Tom Flynn (Consolidated Equipment Group), secretary – Stephanie Howe (Studio E Architects) and past president – Rick Sansted (Alexandria Public Schools).

Additional members of the board include Mark Anderson (Knute Nelson), Lisa De Krey (Glenwood State Bank), Phil Falcon (Douglas Machine), Jessie Hjelle (LGC), Terry Kennedy (retired doctor), Dave Lamb (Aagard), Ashley Lardy (FAST Global Solutions), Mike Loge (Henry’s Foods), Karla Noetzelman (Alexandria Industries), Todd Peterson (3M), Corey Simonson (Blackridge Bank) and Sandy Tubbs (retired public health administrator).

These United Way leaders help to serve the public by identifying the needs in our community to find ways to address the most pressing challenges and invest in creating change locally. United Way develops integrated solutions to improve lives locally with a focus on what is most needed. Leaders and organizations from all sectors work together with thousands of others to amplify the impact.

Community Impact Coalition

United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties has years of experience of bringing organizations together, listening to them, and providing support to help them do what they need. United Way convenes and facilitates a monthly Community Impact Coalition meeting.

The coalition’s strategic intent is to create long lasting impact in our community in the areas of education, health and financial stability by serving as a resource in identifying and meeting community needs, as well as being a resource to one another. Our goal is to work together to create change by connecting people who need help with people who want to help.

The Community Impact Coalition is beginning a speaker series on Sept. 18. Each meeting will feature a speaker from a local organization that offers resources and services to our community. During each meeting, the speaker will share about the work of their organization and the programs and services that are available to support community members, followed by an opportunity for questions.

United Way updates will be provided at each meeting and time is allowed for those in attendance to share any community or organizational updates. Meetings are typically held on the third Wednesday of the month from 9 to 10:30 a.m. in Pope County and from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Douglas County. To find our more information regarding a specific speaker, meeting date and location feel free to contact our office or refer to our website.

United Way campaign theme – Give Where You Live

When you “Give Where You Live” through United Way, you help to provide over 30 grants to local organizations and sustain 12 unique United Way programs such as Stuff the Bus, Mobile Food Drops, The Traveling Tree House, Backpack Attack, Equipped to Work, etc. The amazing work of non-profits that focus their efforts on addressing daily problems are made possible through the support of each of you. This can only be successful when we work together to make it all happen!

“Each one of us can make a difference. Together we make change.” – Barbara Mikulski

For more information on how you can partner with United Way to create change together, contact our office at 320-834-7800, visit our website at or e-mail

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Jen Jabas is the director of the United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties. “In the Know” is a rotating column written by community leaders from the Douglas County area.