The United Way of Portage
County has 33 partner programs and
strives to make a difference within
Portage County. This includes the
University of Wisconsin-Stevens
United Way is committed to
researching and understanding the
needs of a community.
Those needs are then addressed
by use of the partner programs,
assistance from volunteers, donations
By addressing the underlying
causes of problems within the Portage
County community, the United Way
is able to create long-term solutions
and measurable results.
Since UWSP lies within the
community, the students, faculty and
staff can access the programs and
gain the help they need.
Individuals may be involved
in one of three ways explained Sue
Wilcox, Executive Director for the
Portage County United Way.
“United Way offers programs
that are available to students, faculty
and staff at UWSP, some departments
offer internships in some of the
partner programs for students, and
other students volunteer for United
Way related programs,” Wilcox said.
Fundraising, donations and the
help from individuals throughout
the community, allow the United
Way of Portage County to distribute
assistance and financial need where
Students who are directly
impacted by United Way take
advantage of the services provided
for those in need.
Chris Sadler, a professor of
Communication at UWSP, as well
as a United Way board member,
has seen situations where students
are directly affected by United Way
United Way funds the Crisis
Center and continues to provide
assistance to those in need,” Sadler said. His communication 240 class alsoinvolves a project where students
work with United Way to find out
why people do or don’t donate and
where those individuals reside, on or
This research helps the program
better understand it’s community
members and works to benefit all
those who are involved or eligible for
Others may be indirectly a part
of United Way through the partner
programs that they sponsor, but many
individuals aren’t aware of that.
“Students often volunteer for the
YMCA and other programs. Those
are volunteer opportunities where
people wind up doing them and
don’t realize they are United Way
supported,” Sadler said.
Every year, UWSP allows students
to sign up for Make a Difference Day.
This program is sponsored by United
Way and gives community members
the chance to volunteer their time one
day in Oct. to rake leaves for citizens
who are unable to do so themselves.
“It is amazing to see so many
volunteers come together and
actually make a difference. Seeing
so many people working at the same
time has a dramatic impact on the
community,” said Kristen Donkle, a
This year, Make a Difference Day
falls on Saturday, Oct. 26.
“We continue to look for
volunteers for all programs relating
to United Way, including Make a
Difference Day,” Wilcox said.
Students may sign up to help
with any United Way program at
Students may also sign up for
Make a Difference Day through their
UWSP account by searching SIEO
and selecting the “Service Saturday”
link under the Volunteerism column,
and then by going to the Oct. 26,
Make a Difference Day link.
“Make a Difference Day gets the
campus involved with the community.
United Way and the United Way
agencies do such good work in the
community. It is wonderful to see
how they help students directly and
indirectly,” Sadler said.