Partner Agencies

A man and four women representing United Way partner agencies in the atrium of the Northfield Public Library

United Way-Funded Nonprofit Partners

$239,000 in grants were awarded in June of 2023 to the following list of organizations serving Rice County. United Way is proud to call these organizations “partners.” They work in collaboration with each other and United Way to achieve greater results than they could individually.

As partners, they are transparent about their work and finances, allowing United Way staff and volunteers, including financial experts, a broad and deep look inside their organizations. Below, we share our partners’ own words about their programs, in order to give you a clear look at how they provide solutions for the most critical needs faced by our neighbors.

We are proud to offer not only these annual grants, but also as-needed help and innovation stimulus through microgrants. We also support nearly 1500 pre-school children receiving books at home once a month through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – all thanks individual donors and grants from WINGS, Faribault Rotary, Northfield Rotary, Allina Health and Mayo Clinic Health System. 

Financial Stability Partners


The need for CAC programs, which provide financial stability, is enormous. According to the Minnesota State Demographer, 24.4% of Rice County residents live below 200% of the poverty line. As a result, 15,000 of our neighbors struggle to pay for basic necessities like food and housing.

Food insecurity is prevalent in Rice County, especially among children. More than 3,200 students in Northfield and Faribault receive free or reduced-price lunch. Rising food prices have made groceries more expensive. CAC is the largest food support organization in Rice County. Our three food shelves ensure that families can always find an abundance of fresh and healthy food.

Housing insecurity is a major issue. Rice County has the state's third-most expensive housing, trailing only Rochester and the Twin Cities. Close to half of local renters spend more than 30% of their income on housing, meaning they are “rent-burdened.” Working with over 300 households a year, CAC helps hundreds of families keep roofs over their heads. CAC is the largest emergency housing provider in Rice County.

Substance abuse is a major cause of housing instability, but the MN Department of Health has designated Rice County a “provider shortage area” in the area of mental health, which includes addiction services. CAC is unique in weaving recovery into housing programs.

Grant total: $80,500


We are the only provider of services for people experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault in Rice County. We also collaborate with other agencies to provide a holistic response to each individual clients needs. We provide services to victims from the moment an incident is reported through the process of healing and/or the judicial process.  We are there whether it happened today or 10 years ago. 

Grant total: $12,500


KCQ, Inc. services many individuals who do not qualify for long-term supported employment funding through County Case Management Services. These services include receiving assistance with interpersonal communication skills in the work setting, understanding schedule changes and requesting time-off per their employers' policy. These services can also include intermittent job coaching and training on new job duties to acquire job advancement.

Grant total: $2,000


The NUY provides a space of safety and place of power to young people, where youth lead programs, guide the work of the agency, and share perspectives freely. During a time in which everything is extremely accessible, with an inability to escape the pressures of society and the weight of tandem traumas, youth need places where they can escape. The Key provides that place for them, along with resources, peers who understand them, and consistent, caring, and responsible adults.

Free of charge to any young person between the ages of 12-20, NUY is open 365 days a year during the most at-risk hours of the day. In 2022, 545 young people entered the youth center - of those, 44% of all youth who have come at least one time have sought out a 1:1 conversation with an adult. Having an adult who cares consistently is the reason that NUY is effective with the at-risk youth it is designed to serve. We remain the only housing provider in Rice County that is youth-specific and The Wallflower project (a volunteer home-hosting network) hosted 3 young people in 2022, with 6 more provided wrap-around services and emergency shelter for short term periods of time.

Grant total: $7,500


The Ruth’s House of Hope grant supports Emergency/Transitional Shelter and Sarah's House, a recovery home. Funds from RCAUW will help to support women and children experiencing homelessness due to domestic violence or other traumatic life circumstances, such as illness, disability, or poverty and women seeking to recover from substance abuse. 

Grant total : $10,000


St. Vincent de Paul’s grant supports our food shelf, free store providing clothing, household items and personal care items, as well as financial aid assistance, Christmas presents, Christmas Trees and homeless supplies, as needed. Our food shelf has seen a substantial increase and we will probably double our attendance in 2023. We operate with no paid staff. All grant money received is directly used to help those in need of our services. In 2022 our food shelf served 17,528 people. 5,876 received clothing. 1,780 received other assistance (duplicated). The total value is calculated at $1,661,620.

Grant total: $10,000


The grant supports the Southern MN Military Women's Retreat 2023. Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Owatonna, in partnership with Veteran Community Partners will host the third retreat. This includes serving Rice and Steele County veterans. This retreat provides various educational and relaxing activities. The focus will be Mental Health issues. A MN Veterans Network Providers resource tables will be provided including United Way, CVSO, 23 to Zero Suicide Prevention, and other veteran organizations. The event will be held at the Mount Olivet Farmington, MN, Aug. 4th – Aug. 6th,2023.

Grant total: $1,000

Our Health Partners


Aging Services’ driver program averages 420 transports per month anywhere in Minnesota. The Homemaker Services (light housekeeping, laundry, running errands) help seniors and disabled people with day-to-day tasks. We have a waiting list of approximately 80 people waiting for services. Both of these essential services are important for these people living in rural communities with no public transportation or in-home support.

Funds will be used to pay for general operation costs, unreimbursed mileage for homemakers, and unloaded driver miles (non-passenger) for our volunteer drivers. You're not funding "transportation" or homemaking. You're supporting elderly/disabled people's abilities to stay connected and at home.

Grant total: $4,000


HFC’s is building a model of care that is at once comprehensive and accessible, while firmly rooted in community and supporting patients and communities thrive in their context. Over 80% of health is determined through factors aside from health care, collectively the social determinants of health.

HFC was born out of direct community engagement, an approach that remains foundational to how we do our work. Health happens in communities, and our community engagement team, comprised of  communitywide leaders, meets weekly to share conversations they have been having across the community and programs. These conversations have frequently pointed to an extensive need for mental health, in addition to medical and oral health care. These issues are also major concerns to various Rice County entities. 

Grant total: $15,500


HCI works within the intersectionality of health and education. We recognize systems exist in Rice County that perpetuate disparities in access, engagement, and outcomes for youth, with a full 43% of students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches. In the Faribault School District, that rate jumps to 62.4 percent. (Minnesota Department of Health)

To diminish inequity, HCI collaboratively incubates ideas to develop community-driven solutions and create action plans across sectors. We drive collective impact by sharing knowledge about trends, initiatives, and evidence-based practices; engaging, connecting, and convening partners, organizations, and people; identifying, soliciting, and securing funding for initiatives; building capacity and providing ongoing infrastructure support for direct service programming; tracking and evaluating effectiveness through data collection; and implementing new activities when possible.

One initiative is Growing Up Healthy. GUH is a program that exemplifies how equitable and healthy communities are being nurtured in Rice County. GUH’s multi-faceted approach includes early childhood navigation, parenting skills enhancement, local leadership development, caregiver organizing, and mobile home rehabilitation. Outreach and advocacy are specific to low-income, non-English speaking households of color, primarily Latine and Somali, and includes children, youth, parents, immigrants, and refugees facing challenges with childcare, kindergarten readiness, primary and high school engagement, and energy inefficient housing. Throughout, deep relationships are formed and barriers to participation alleviated or removed.



Project ABLE has been a part of Community Education in Faribault and Northfield since 1986. This program was designed because the state hospital closed in Faribault and members who attended moved into the surrounding communities. These communities had little-to-no social, emotional, educational and recreational programming designed for adults with disabilities. Project ABLE provides opportunities for adults with disabilities in the surrounding communities to interact socially, develop skills, experience new activities and enjoy their life just like people without disabilities.

Statistics: At the time of this report, Northfield High School and the Cannon Valley Special Education Cooperative (located in Faribault) had the largest number of 18-21 year olds in recent history. The population of special needs participants has surged and it is our responsibility to serve this community. Project ABLE currently serves 122 adults with disabilities annually in Rice County.

Despite attempts to keep rates low, registration costs for programs can pose an insurmountable barrier for potential Project ABLE participants. Grant funding will reduce all Project ABLE fees to $5 or less per activity.

Grant total: $6,000


Three Rivers Older Adults Program aims to address the physical, financial, and emotional health of older adults and caregivers. Meals on Wheels (MOW) are delivered by volunteers to homes of persons who are unable to prepare meals on a regular basis and homebound (unable to drive to meal site, restaurant, or grocery store). Furthermore, advocacy/caregiver support services provide information, education, resources, and referrals to reduce various stressors and/or situations that may result in premature nursing home/assisted living placement. This grant will supplement existing programs; base state funding hasn’t had an increase in decades and doesn’t cover the total cost of the operations.

Grant total: $7,000

Our Education Partners


The Faribault PRIMEtime grant supports a network of free afterschool and summer programs for over 1,100 Faribault youth in grades K-12. The programs each provide academic and enrichment opportunities, while offering free transportation and free food (evening meals and/or lunch) to all participants. Faribault PRIMEtime efforts are supported primarily through government funding and competitive grants. Rice County Area United Way funding will help fill gaps in funding and overcome funding limitations for these engaging, collaborative community programs.

Today, 74% of Faribault Public Schools students receive free/reduced-price lunch, including 87% of the district’s students of color. Financial challenges mean that families are often unable to afford fee-based afterschool and summer programs.

Grant total: $13,500


The Northfield Promise Reading Team’s goal is “Every child reading at grade level by the end of third grade.” On the 2022 MCA-III standardized test, only 33.8% of low-income third graders in Northfield met or exceeded the state’s proficiency standard (58.9% of Northfield third graders overall met the standard). Bringing the other two thirds of low-income third-graders (or the other one third of third-graders overall) to proficiency is a big job that will require the assistance of the entire community.

Until recently, most teachers in Northfield (along with 72% of teachers nationwide) taught reading based on an appealing but non-evidence-based methodology called “Balanced Literacy” that has now been debunked. “Balanced Literacy” holds that if you provide children with books and show them that reading is fun, they will learn to read spontaneously, without explicit instruction in letter sounds and how those sounds combine to form words. Decades of neuroscience and experimental evidence have conclusively shown that this approach does not work, and that explicit, structured instruction in letter sounds and how they combine is in fact necessary and effective. The Northfield Promise Reading Team works to spread and support science-informed, evidence-demonstrated strategies in the Northfield schools and throughout the community.

Grant total: $6,000


The PRIMEtime model was formed over 15 years ago with the goal of supporting at-risk and low-income youth with out-of-school time opportunities. Northfield Community Schools and Middle School Youth Center are designed to support students and their families in achieving the best academic outcome. In addition to academic support outside of the school day, the community school programs coordinate wrap around supports that address health, social services, youth development and community engagement both during the school year and summer. This has been especially crucial due to the learning loss experienced during the pandemic. The grant funds transportation and supplies for programs serving youth in grades K-8 in the after school space.

Grant total: $11,500


Project Friendship has more youth than ever before. The difference having a mentor makes is different for every child. Statistically, mentoring reduces “depression symptoms” and increases “social acceptance, academic attitudes and grades” ( All youth, regardless of income status, immigration status, academic status, etc. benefit from having a mentor. Many families in Northfield specifically do not fall under the income status that would allow other organizations to help. Project Friendship takes all kids. Every youth in Project Friendship has a goal that they work on with their mentor. Whether social/emotional or academic, every child gains from having a mentor. 

Grant total: $3,500


The ServeMinnesota grant will help recruit, train, compensate, and support one Reading Corps tutor, who will serve twenty K-3 students in the Rice County area. When we raise funds from the community, we are able to activate significant matching funds from the federal government and to direct more funds to Reading Corps in Rice County area schools. 

Grant total: $8,500


Run entirely by volunteers, Supply Our Children provides school supplies to over 1,200 children from low-income homes in Faribault, Minnesota. Based on incredible and accelerating need, hundreds of families have been turned away from the school supply distribution in recent years. Supply Our Children aims to meet this growing need by providing school supply support and alleviating a significant stressor in the lives of 1,200+ Faribault children and their families. We want every child to enter school each year with confidence and assurance that can impact their mental health futures in immeasurable ways.

Grant total: $5,000


TORCH has been at the forefront of addressing and narrowing gaps in high school completion and postsecondary attendance since our founding in 2005. For example, between 2001 and 2004, local Latine students were graduating at a rate of just 36%, and fewer than five of the 42 Latine graduates pursued post-secondary education. In contrast, since our program’s inception, TORCH has graduated 739 students and maintained a cumulative graduation rate of 98%. 

Grant total: $13,000


The TCU School District Community Education Department, in partnership with the Rice County Area United Way, will continue to provide financial assistance through our Little Titans Preschool Scholarship program for families in need. Through this support, we're providing families the opportunity to send their children to preschool to gain the necessary experiences to better prepare for kindergarten. During registration, families who may not qualify for Pathway II scholarship funding approach us to inquire about receiving any support to send their children to preschool. Our scholarship program bridges those barriers for families.

Grant total: $2,000