Retire United: January Newsletter

A Message from the CEO

Welcome Home

“Why would anyone move from Orlando to Central Minnesota in October?” As you can imagine, I get asked this question a lot. My response is always the same- once you have been here, you never want to leave.

CEO Larry Olness
I hope you will allow me to elaborate a bit on my response now that I call Central Minnesota home. During the interview process for my position, I had the opportunity to spend a few days in St. Cloud and the surrounding communities. This area was not totally new to me, having grown up in Winona, but the majority of my travel was to Minneapolis for either a Twins or Vikings game; I am a huge fan of both teams!


While here I had the opportunity to meet with the United Way staff, of which I have the greatest respect. I feel honored to work with this team daily because of their passion and dedication to the mission. Many of you will share my belief that proficiency can be taught, but drive and determination come from within, and this team has both in abundance.


I also had the chance to meet with the United Way Board, which is a team of community leaders who give their time, talents, and treasures to guide the United Way as a community champion. Without exception, each member I spoke with asked, “What can I do to support you?” and, “How can we work together to address the issues in Central Minnesota?”


I met with area business leaders who shared their challenges as well as their commitments to this community, many of whom run United Way campaigns, and are very active in the organization.


This area has several non-profit agencies working daily to improve the lives of those in the community, responding to the immediate need. I spoke with many of these agencies and each shared similar staffing and money concerns. These issues did not dampen their desire to work closer with United Way and the community to provide more to those in need.


Finally, I spoke to the members of the community- hotel staff, sales clerks, even my waiter. I asked everyone I could about this community and their concerns. The typical response was that this is a community in transition, but the future looks promising, and they hoped to be a part of the solution.


So, for me the decision to move to Central Minnesota has always been an easy yes. The reason is simple, the area is full of passionate people who want to make a difference. Add to that the two best teams in major sports, records aside, and you have yourself a community; a home.


Please reach out and welcome Larry to our community, (320) 229-3504.


Retiree Spotlight

Meet Greg and Janet Reigstad

Greg and Janet Reigstad

Greg and Janet have been supporters of the United Way for many years. When Greg worked for Head Start in St. Paul in the 1970’s, he collaborated with the St. Paul United Way on issues and services pertaining to children. In St. Cloud, during the 1990’s Greg worked locally and state wide with First Call for Help for aboutten years. That experience demonstrated the great need for services which served a wide range of problems and a wide diversity of people. His years there also highlighted the need for a service like United Way, which could react to changing challenges and adapt to changing demographics and culture.

Janet began her connection to United Way of Central Minnesota with the position she obtained in 1981 as a Public Health Nurse for Stearns County. Over her years with Stearns County she found that the partnership between governmental services and United Way services were crucial and provided much help to those in need. Janet recently retired from Stearns County after 34 years of service and Greg retired in 2013 from St. Cloud Community and Technical College.

Greg and Janet ReigstadGreg and Janet love St. Cloud! They believe that it is a great community to raise a family and a great community to live in. They both are still very active in the community with a wide variety of volunteering. Janet is a volunteer at the St. Cloud Hospital, at their church, and tutoring at their neighborhood association. Greg is currently an active member of the Retire United committee. In the outer community, he has been focused recently on the effort to bring a children’s museum to the central Minnesota area and plans are underway for this to happen in downtown St. Cloud! They both believe that United Way is one of the great ways to remain active in Central Minnesota. Our local United Way is well run and effective and needs our continued support.

Visit our website for more information about Retire United and other opportunities or contact Lori Eich320-229-3501.


Planned Giving News

Charitable Gifts of Life Insurance

As you review your legacy giving, we hope you consider a planned gift to United Way and the organizations and missions you hold most dear.  The gifts we receive every year help ensure a lasting legacy of support and stability.


Throughout our past newsletters, we’ve been talking about the different ways to designate legacy gifts.  When considering your next charitable gift, don’t forget about your life insurance policies. They can be an easy way to make significant gifts to your favorite charity, like United Way of Central Minnesota (UWCM).

  1. Beneficiary Designation.The easiest way to use your life insurance to support UWCM is to name UWCM as the beneficiary of all or part of your life insurance. You can change your beneficiary designation any time before you die. Because you can change it, it is not a completed gift of your policy and you will not receive a current charitable income tax deduction. This is considered a future gift or deferred gift because it will occur on your death.


  1. Gift of Policy Ownership.If you want to receive a current income tax deduction for your life insurance policy, you need to assign the ownership of that policy to the charity during your lifetime. Your deduction will equal the terminal reserve value (which is similar to the cash value). If the policy is paid up, no additional action will be needed. However, if the policy is not paid up, you will need to make future gifts to the charity to pay future premiums.


The staff at UWCM would be happy to help you make a gift of your life insurance.  Visit our website for more information or contact Lori Eich320-229-3501.


Written by Brad Hanson, Attorney, Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A. and United Way Planned Giving Committee Chair


As you consider your year-end charitable giving, be sure to have a conversation with your financial advisor about how the new tax law will affect your gifts and ways you could benefit from the changes, including a qualified charitable distribution from your IRA, options with donor advised funds and more.


Upcoming Dates

Annual Celebration

March 14, 2019

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

River’s Edge Convention Center


In appreciation of volunteers, investors, companies, and community partners, United Way of Central Minnesota will host its annual Celebration event on Thursday, March 14, 2019 at the River’s Edge Convention Center.


Imagination Library Progressive Dinner

April 6 & 13, 2019


United Way of Central Minnesota will host its Imagination Library Progressive Dinners on Saturday, April 6 and April 13, 2019.  This year is the events 10th anniversary!  Diners travel to different homes in the area to dine with others who have selected the same cuisine prepared by local volunteer, gourmet chefs.  Thank you to this year’s Premier Sponsor: Premier Real Estate Services


Tickets are $125 per person – 10 guests per cuisine.  Registration will open February 8, 2019.  Check the United Way website for more information and a list of cuisines as the event registration date draws near


Retire United Updates

Day of Caring Donations

Members of Retire United gathered a large donation of career clothes for the Catholic Charities sponsored Dress for Success donation drive. An incredible donation for those in need.


To learn more about Retire United and how you can get involved, contact Lori Eich, 320-229-3501.


Neighborhood Resource Centers Updates

Family Engagement Nights

Fun-filled family engagement nights took place again at Discovery Community and Lincoln Elementary Schools.  Over 700 family members shared a meal, played Bingo and built community on these two nights.

girl holding bingo card

Winter Needs

The Neighborhood Resource Centers are in desperate need of winter items.  They are looking for new or gently used: coats, snow pants, boots, scarves, hats and mittens.  Please drop off donations at the United Way office.