The United Way hopes to raise at least $420,000 to fund more than 45 sponsored programs throughout Otter Tail and Wadena counties.

The goal was announced Thursday, Aug. 15, at the PACC. It is part of the United Way of Otter Tail and Wadena Counties' “Give Where You Live” 2019 fundraising campaign.

Randy Kempfer, a board member, said the local United Way is focusing on six strategic areas:

  1. poverty
  2. reducing stigma around mental health
  3. child care solutions
  4. reducing food insecurities
  5. and bringing awareness to human trafficking.

Board Member Jose Alba said people assume these issues don’t exist within the community.

“To make our community stronger, and viable for the future, we need to invest in those types of programs and awareness,” he said.

One in three residents directly benefits from a United Way funded program, according to Executive Director Mary Phillipe.

Kempfer said a majority of donations come through individual gifts, but corporate sponsors are also enlisted.

PACC Director Leigh Shebeck said the United Way is a resource he can rely on for help, instead of taking a toll on his budget and staff.

“If we had to go out to each individual donor or business, we wouldn’t be able to have the staff and manpower to do that,” Shebeck said. “United Way gives us the opportunity to have one application for our causes and help those that need it.”

Ways to give

  • Send cash or checks to 120 E. Washington Ave., Fergus Falls, MN 56537

  • Make a credit card donation at

  • Text ASK2019 to 41444.

  • Set up a payroll deduction and choose the amount and number of pay periods your gift will be deducted.