The Ripon Area United Way board has been actively investigating a merger with the Fond du Lac Area United
Way for nearly two years. For a variety of reasons United Way affiliates across the United States are choosing to merge. In the summer of 2020, the United Way that served Walworth County
merged with Jefferson County – much like Ripon, a smaller United Way joined a larger neighboring organization. But examples aren’t limited to small United Way affiliates. The United Way
of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties, one United Way serving two of our most populated counties in the state, is one of the biggest affiliates in Wisconsin.
In Ripon it all comes down to a simple phrase. “United
together we serve better.” The newly renamed “Fond du Lac County United Way” (from Fond du Lac Area United Way) brings a greater depth of resources to
continue to meet the needs of our communities. We're very excited about the possibilities this new relationship brings to our community.
There are some significant benefits with this new relationship
with the Fond du Lac County United Way. With a modest office, a full time paid executive director and a part time assistant, the Fond du Lac United Way has a track record of securing
grants to meet specific needs, then distributing and administering these grants across community partners that work to address these needs. For example, hypothetically, the Fond du Lac United
Way may write a grant for staff training and retention at early childhood centers. Should this hypothetical grant be awarded, the Fond du Lac United Way would distribute funds to centers across
the county and take care of the grant administration and reporting. With this new relationship with the county United Way offers more opportunities to build collaborative relationships,
and for United Way to sponsor events to meet the needs of our community partners.
The Fond du Lac County United Way has already elected two new members from Ripon to their board of
directors. John Triller and I will continue to represent the needs and the people of our community as part of the Fond du Lac board of directors. John and I have served a combined total
of more than 20 years on the Ripon Area United Way board of directors. We know the Ripon community well and will advocate for Ripon as the Fond du Lac County United Way diligently serves all
the communities in the county.
The Ripon Area United Way board pursued this merger after a
great deal of thought, discussion, and consultation with the Wisconsin and National United Way staff. In the end we believe this merger - and the greater resources this newly merged
organization will bring - is in the best interests of the Ripon community and the people who we serve here in our town and city.
In the opening paragraph I offered one quote which I believe
captures not only the reason we pursued this merger, but also a glimpse of the future opportunities. "United together we serve better." We look forward to the next
chapter of United Way in Ripon!
For more information contact Jeff Puhlmann-Becker, the Ripon Area United Way President at
firstname.lastname@example.org or Amber Kilawee, the Fond du Lac County United Way
Executive Director at email@example.com
Ripon Commonwealth Press Article May 3, 2023: