The United Way of Steele County has reached its campaign goal of $700,000 for the 2017 program year, which will benefit 23 local nonprofit organizations.

Executive Director Kim Schaufenbuel says they saw a nice increase over the last week of local businesses finishing up their campaigns, as well typical supporters making their donations recently. She said the response was a little later in coming this year, but is thrilled by reaching the goal and thanks the community for its generous support.

The campaign will be held open through Friday, January 13, for any last-minute donations. People can send contributions to their office at 110 N. Cedar, Owatonna, MN 55060. Online donations can be made through For those interested in being billed quarterly, they can stop at the office and sign a pledge card.

A victory celebration dinner is scheduled for Thursday, January 26, at the Owatonna Country Club. Contact the United Way office at (507) 455-1180 if you would like to attend.

The United Way of Steele County funds more than 20 local nonprofit organizations that "strengthen families, assist community members to meet their basic needs, increase access to healthcare and affordable prescription medications, give seniors and disabled residents the support they need to live independent lives and youth the tools they require to succeed," according to a news release.

This year's goal of $700,000 was a slight increase over 2016 based on requests from the benefiting organizations, which include Transitional Housing of Steele County, Healthy Seniors, SEMCAC, Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, South Central Human Services, Crisis Resource Center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Southern Minnesota, Boys and Girls Club of Blooming Prairie, Free Clinic of Steele County, Children's Remedial Fund, Exchange Club Center for Family Unity, Somali American Cultural Society of Owatonna, Let's Smile, Steele County Clothesline, Steele County Food Shelf and Cedar Valley Services.

The United Way of Steele County also partners with SMART Transit for preschool transportation, SAC in Owatonna and Tiger Club in Medford and the Salvation Army's Boots to Work program.

United Way of Steele County also announces that have registered the 1,100th active Steele County child for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Children through age 5 are eligible to receive books through the program. Signup is available their office or website.

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