|10/9/2012 2:28:00 PM|
executive secretary of United Way
By Ruth Hanson
Judy Ruport is a family day care provider. It might be a good guess that her job keeps her extremely busy, but she is also finds time to be the executive secretary of the United Way Dodge County.
"I love doing books," she said. "I've been doing this United Way job since January of 1985."
She holds a thick ring binder on her lap and explains that it is the United Way paper work.
She and her board of nine people are just finishing up sending out requests for donations, requests that go to 8,322 mailboxes in Dodge County.
"That's all the mail boxes in the county," she said. "I hope that anybody who didn't get one and wants one will give me a call at 507-634-6655. I'll send out a packet."
She laughed and added that she did the books for the Methodist Church until five years ago.
All the envelopes come back to her. She sends them to Mark Miedtke, the treasurer, who sends checks out to the agencies.
"We want to make sure that the money goes directly to Dodge County people, and to help the needy, not just to pay the employees," Ruport explained and added that the United Way is a 501- (C3) organization, meaning it is tax exempt.
They get requests for money from agencies and fill out forms as a board before deciding on allocations. Sometimes agencies make presentations at board meetings. Typically they gain one or two agencies a year and lose one or two.
"We have a golf tournament fundraiser every year in August at Hayfield or Dodge Center," she said. "That has gone well and been fun for those who play."
The money is given to the agencies half in January and half in July.
"That is so we can make sure they are doing what they said they would be doing," she said. "Our goal this year is $125,000. Last year we took in $113,000 and paid out $103,000. The balance we put aside for emergencies. The Dodge County Back Packs for needy kids was a new project. We can answer emergency requests only for tax exempt organizations. We often refer emergency requests to the Salvation Army."
Occasionally they run across a particularly heart-wrenching story and can do something really meaningful.
One of the organizations that is especially close to Ruport's heart is Infants Remembered in Silence, Inc. (IRIS). Since 1987 IRIS has been offering parents, families, friends and professionals support, education and resources following the death of a child in early pregnancy (miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, premature birth and all other forms of early childhood death. They include blankets and quilts, clothing sets, keepsakes and other things. IRIS provides support groups, a Holiday Service of Remembrance, newsletters and training for professionals.
"It is a big family," Ruport said. "Amazing."
United Way has a nine-member board which meets for an hour each month and is always looking for volunteer members.
"Call me," Ruport said. "United Way is really a collective enterprise of givers of dollars, users of services and providers of services - right here in your community. It's a voluntary, non-profit organization formed and directed by people who, through your once a year pledge - economically and effectively provides a balanced program of vital human services for thousands of people who need your help. The more we raise, the more services can be provided!"
Paul Kiltinen of Kasson is the president; Karen Morris of Claremont, the vice-president; Mark Miedtke of Hayfield, the secretary-treasurer; Steven Becvar, Hayfield representative; Dale Rood, Dodge Center representative; JoAnn Scherger, Dodge Center representative; Laura Schroeder, Mantorville representative; Jeff Maness, West Concord representative and Kristi Hauschild, Sargeant representative.
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