15×15 Challenge hits $100K milestone

Sean DeVaney drawn as 2023 winner

One hundred seventeen people took the 15×15 Challenge issued by Interlakes Area United Way (IAUW) and East River Federal Credit Union (ERFCU).

The contest asked people to pledge at least $15 a month in 2024 to United Way and return their pledge form by November 15.

Sean DeVaney of Madison was drawn as the winner and received a $500 Visa gift card.

The 15×15 Challenge was held in conjunction with IAUW’s current campaign drive.

This is the sixth year IAUW and ERFCU have teamed up to offer this incentive. It is linked to over $113,000 in pledges since 2017.

Pictured from left to right: ERFCU MSR Kayla Tolk, Lead MSR Dawn Allbee, VP of Operations Trasi Smith, Universal MSR Colin Peddicord, 15×15 Winner Sean DeVaney, IAUW President Lori Gustaf and Executive Director Melissa Dougan.

Madison Chamber presents DTMT earnings to IAUW

DownTown in MadTown has been rocking Egan Avenue since the summer of 2018. The six-week concert series–put on by the Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce (GMACC)–rallies the community around live music, cold drinks, delicious food and a family-friendly atmosphere.

It also serves as a fundraising event for Interlakes Area United Way.

For five years*, IAUW board members have managed the beer garden at each and every event. In return, the chamber donates a portion of each night’s sales to IAUW.

“We appreciate the chamber and [Executive Director] Eric Hortness for giving us this opportunity to raise funds and awareness for our organization,” said IAUW President Lori Gustaf. “Together we are building stronger communities.”

Earlier this month Hortness presented United Way’s most recent earnings to Gustaf and Vice President Danielle Kearin. Including sales and tips, IAUW earned $3,861 in 2023.

“We’ve garnered nearly $15,000 from these events since 2018. It’s helped us offset costs and instead direct that money towards our partner agencies,” Gustaf said.

*No events were held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pictured: GMACC Executive Director Eric Hortness presents a check to IAUW Vice President Danielle Kearin and President Lori Gustaf.

Record year for Dine Out to Donate

On behalf of all participating businesses, Steve Sims (second from left), DeLon Mork and Cam Shafer presented 2023 Dine Out to Donate earnings to IAUW President Lori Gustaf, far left, and Executive Director Melissa Dougan, far right. Sims owns Subway, Mork owns Dairy Queen and Shafer owns Sporty’s Bar & Grill.

Seventh annual event raises nearly $6K

It was a record setting year for Interlakes Area United Way’s (IAUW) annual fundraiser Dine Out to Donate. Not only did a record number of businesses participate but the amount raised eclipsed last year’s total by a thousand dollars.

“We are privileged to say it every year, but this year’s event was the most successful to date,” said IAUW Executive Director Melissa Dougan. “Twenty-nine businesses raised $5,778 towards our current campaign. The support from the public and business owners is just incredible.”

This is the seventh year IAUW has partnered with local eateries for the fundraiser, which was held October 4. Since 2017, the event has raised more than $22,000.

“Thank you to business owners, managers and staff for their hard work on this important day, as well as to all the patrons. This is a terrific kickoff to our annual campaign drive,” Dougan said.

For the event, 29 restaurants, eateries, food trucks and a movie theater in Lake, Miner and Moody Counties pledged to donate a portion of the day’s sales to IAUW. Participating businesses included:

  • 2nd Street Diner, in Madison
  • Bluejays Bar & Grill, in Egan
  • The Broadwater, on Lake Madison
  • Classic Corner, in Madison
  • Country Café, in Madison
  • Dairy Queen, in Madison
  • Dakota Cinema, in Madison
  • Fadeaway’s food truck
  • Fat Kid Filly’s food truck
  • Firehouse Subs food truck
  • Hef’s Bar & Grill, in Chester
  • Hillside Steakhouse and BluCabana Bar, on Lake Madison
  • JJ’s Coffee Spot, in Flandreau
  • Mad Mary’s Steakhouse, in Flandreau
  • Madison Golf & Country Club, in Madison
  • Nicky’s Restaurant, in Madison
  • Old Farmhouse Café, in Chester
  • OneStop, in Madison
  • Pizza Ranch, in Madison
  • PrimeTime Tavern, in Madison
  • Sheep Flockers food truck
  • Shipwreck Bar & Grill, on Brandt Lake
  • Sporty’s Bar & Grill, in Madison
  • Stadium Sports Grill, in Madison
  • Strive 605, in Madison
  • Subway, in Madison
  • Sundog Coffee, in Madison
  • The Lakes Bar & Grill, on Lake Madison
  • The Office, in Madison

IAUW provides financial support to non-profit, community service agencies and programs in Lake, Miner and Moody counties. It aims to create long-lasting changes by focusing on the building blocks for a good life: education, financial stability and health.

IAUW’s current campaign drive is underway, and the organization will announce 2024 funding after the new year. IAUW awarded nearly $130,000 in grant funding to 31 non-profit partners in 2023.

Featured image: On behalf of all participating businesses, Steve Sims, DeLon Mork and Cam Shafer presented 2023 Dine Out to Donate earnings to IAUW President Lori Gustaf, far left, and Executive Director Melissa Dougan. Sims owns Subway, Mork owns Dairy Queen and Shafer owns Sporty’s Bar & Grill.

United Way donors could win $500 gift card

East River Federal Credit Union sponsors contest for IAUW

Many believe that giving back is rewarding. It makes you feel good, can evoke feelings of gratitude and may strengthen your ties to others.

Now, those who give to Interlakes Area United Way (IAUW) may be eligible for another reward.

East River Federal Credit Union (ERFCU) is once again sponsoring the 15×15 Challenge as part of IAUW’s annual campaign drive. Donors who qualify will be eligible to win a $500 gift card from ERFCU.

“Our credit union philosophy is ‘People Helping People,’ which includes helping others build success stories,” said ERFCU Vice President of Operations Trasi Smith. “This value is also reflected in the mission of Interlakes Area United Way, which makes our partnership a natural fit. Together we can be a catalyst of goodwill in the communities we serve.”

To qualify, donors must pledge at least $15 per month—or at least $180—to IAUW in 2024. They must also submit the pledge to IAUW by November 15.

“We’ve found a terrific partner in East River Federal Credit Union and are grateful for their support,” said IAUW Executive Director Melissa Dougan. “We know the people in Lake, Miner and Moody counties don’t really need this incentive to give back—they’ve proven time and time again to be extremely generous. But it’s nice to have this gift as a token of our appreciation for those who choose to, perhaps, level up their donation and return it to us in a timely manner.”

The 15×15 Challenge originated in 2017. Since then, it’s been linked to over $92,000 in pledges to United Way.

Dougan says $180 a year is enough to buy free books for a year for six children through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. It could also equal a day of food and shelter for up to three people affected by disaster through the American Red Cross.

“To some, it may not seem like a substantial investment, but it could make a huge difference in the lives of others,” she said.

To donate towards the 15×15 Challenge, visit interlakesunitedway.org/donate. You may also email director@interlakesunitedway.org to request a pledge form via mail or to set up or verify payroll deduction through your employer.

Pictured from left to right: ERFCU Lead MSR Dawn Allbee and Kayla Tolk, President and CEO Tanya Hobson, VP of Operations Trasi Smith, MSR Maisie Smith, Universal MSR colin Peddicord, IAUW Executive Director Melissa Dougan, and IAUW President Lori Gustaf.

29 businesses to host Dine Out to Donate in 2023

Giving back to your community will soon be as easy as buying a coffee, burger or tub of buttery popcorn.

In support of Interlakes Area United Way (IAUW), 28 eateries and one movie theater in Lake, Miner and Moody Counties will be hosting a single day, Dine Out to Donate fundraising event on Wednesday, October 4.

Participating businesses have agreed to donate a portion of the designated day’s sales to IAUW. Proceeds are passed along to IAUW partner agencies and programs.

“If you need an excuse to go out for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or go see a movie, this is it!” said IAUW Executive Director Melissa Dougan. “You’ll be supporting your favorite small business plus boosting local programs which address mental and physical health, youth enrichment, basic needs and more.”

Several new businesses signed on to participate for the first time this year, including Madison movie theater Dakota Cinema and food trucks FadeAways, Fat Kid Filly’s, Firehouse Subs and Sheep Flockers.

“We are so excited by the number and variety of participating businesses. There will be something for everyone,” Dougan said.

The public is encouraged to visit or buy from one or more of the following businesses on October 4:

Dine Out to Donate kicks off IAUW’s annual campaign drive, which raises funds for non-profit, community service agencies and programs in Miner, Lake and Moody Counties.

IAUW awarded nearly $130,000 in grant funding to 31 non-profit partners in 2023. Pledge forms for the 2024 campaign will be delivered to postal customers in the area in the coming weeks.

Tim Grimm wins 2023 tractor raffle

Lake County resident Tim Grimm was drawn as the winner of the WIN BIG Raffle conducted by Interlakes Area United Way (IAUW). His prize was a 2023 Case IH Farmall 35A Tractor, valued at just over $36,000 as equipped.

The WIN BIG Raffle raises funds for non-profit agencies and programs in Lake, Miner and Moody Counties. The raffle sold 675 tickets, garnering $67,500 in proceeds.

Lake County resident Tim Grimm, seated in center, sits atop his WIN BIG Raffle prize, a 2023 Case IH Farmall tractor from Lake County International. Joining him from left to right: Lake County International Co-Owners Tom Bloom and Jeff Bloom, IAUW board members Nicole Agnew, Megan Rummel, volunteer Sydney Gustaf, board president Lori Gustaf, Executive Director Melissa Dougan, and board member Mandi Stegenga.

Grimm said he has participated in the annual contest for several years.

“I try and buy a ticket every year,” he said. “I am familiar with United Way and the work they do. It’s a great organization and I’m happy to support it. I still can’t believe I won!”

The tractor was donated by Lake County International of Madison, who served as the contest’s premier sponsor. Additional sponsors included Dakota Ethanol, KJAM Radio, BankWest, Dakota State University, Dakotaland Federal Credit Union, East River Electric Power Cooperative, F&M Co-Op, Farm Credit Services of America, First Bank & Trust, First PREMIER Bank, FirstLine Funding Group, Heartland Energy, Jencks Law, P.C., and Sunshine Foods.

“Thank you, thank you to all the people who purchased a ticket, as well as to our sponsors,” said IAUW Executive Director Melissa Dougan. “We sold a record number of tickets this year at 675! With help from our sponsors, every penny raised will support our community partners. It’s a high note as we look forward to campaign season this fall.”

Grimm’s name was drawn during halftime of the DSU Ag Bowl on Thursday, August 31.

WIN BIG Raffle kicks off June 29 with hot dog feed

Annual contest benefits regional non-profits

Tickets go on sale June 29 for the WIN BIG Raffle benefiting Interlakes Area United Way (IAUW). One lucky ticketholder could win a 2023 Case IH Farmall 35A Tractor.

Tickets sell for $100 each. Proceeds are passed along to community service programs and non-profit agencies in Lake, Miner and Moody counties. The annual contest has raised over $364,000 since 2016.

Premier sponsor and longtime partner Lake County International (LCI) donated the prize. Additional raffle sponsors include Dakota Ethanol, KJAM Radio, First Bank & Trust, FirstLine Funding Group, East River Electric Power Cooperative, Heartland Energy, Dakota State University, First PREMIER Bank, BankWest, F&M Co-Op, Jencks Law, P.C., Dakotaland Federal Credit Union, Farm Credit Services of America and Sunshine Foods.

Kickoff event planned

To celebrate this year’s kickoff, IAUW will host a hot dog feed on June 29. The free meal will be served from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the food wagon in the Sunshine Foods parking lot in Madison.

The tractor prize will be on display and IAUW Board Members will be on site selling tickets.

100 years of Farmall

The Farmall 35A Tractor features a 35-horsepower diesel engine, 3-speed hydrostatic transmission, MFD front axle, 540 rpm PTO, 3-point hitch, rear remote valve, foldable ROPS, and Case IH L340A loader and bucket. As equipped, it retails at $36,614.

LCI Owner Jeff Bloom said this year the prize has special meaning.

“Farmall has been one for all since 1923,” Bloom said. “For generation after generation, Farmall has been the symbol of modern farming, offering unmatched versatility to help meet farmers’ needs. We’re happy to offer up the 35A model and share the legacy of this all-purpose tractor.”

Ticket sales begin June 29

Once the raffle is live, tickets will be available for online purchase at interlakesunitedway.org or via QR code on raffle signage. People can buy in person at Lake County International, One Stop, First Bank & Trust, and FirstLine Funding Group in Madison.

IAUW will also sell tickets at each DownTown in MadTown event this summer.

The winner will be drawn at halftime of the Dakota State University Ag Bowl, slated for Thursday, August 31.

Pictured: WIN BIG Raffle sponsors and Interlakes Area United Way (IAUW) board members stand with the prize, a 2023 Case IH Farmall 35A Tractor, equipped as pictured and valued at $36,614. Back row, from left to right, Lake County International Co-Owners Jeff Bloom and Tom Bloom, Matt Bruns of Farm Credit Services of America, Lake County International employees Ken Falor, Dale Stegenga and Taylor Bloom, and IAUW Vice President Danielle Kearin. Front row, left to right, IAUW President Lori Gustaf, Board Member Nicole Agnew, Executive Director Melissa Dougan, and Board Member Mandi Stegenga.

Delta Dental truck is returning to Madison, Flandreau

The Delta Dental Mobile Program is returning to the area soon. It will visit Madison July 10-14 and Flandreau August 21-25.

Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership (ICAP) is hosting the truck for children who cannot afford or access a dentist because of cost, lack of insurance, transportation, or other reasons.

Registration in advance is needed, and a patient consent and information form must be completed. Appointments can be made with Sidney Olson at ICAP at (605) 256-6518 Ext. 128.

A full range of dental care is available, including exams, cleanings, preventive treatments and cavity fillings. Oral health education is also provided to patients so they can continue to care for their teeth after the visit.

Children from their first truth through age 21 are eligible. Services are provided at no cost to the child or family, and insurance is not necessary.

In Madison, the truck will be located outside the ICAP Head Start Building at 106 S Van Eps Ave. In Flandreau, the truck will be located at the Boys & Girls Club of Moody County, 803 W Community Drive.

Both visits are a partnership between ICAP, Interlakes Area United Way and Delta Dental of South Dakota.

United Way unveils funding allocations totaling $129,957

Prostrollo’s, FFG receive awards

By Zac Zwaschka, Staff Reporter, Madison Daily Leader; Reprinted with permission

The Interlakes Area United Way (IAUW) has provided support to countless agencies and programs throughout Lake, Miner and Moody counties for decades. Throughout their work, they’ve helped fund projects in the fields of education, health care, basic needs and more.

“Our mission is to change lives and improve the communities we serve,” IAUW Vice President Danielle Kearin said during the group’s annual meeting on Monday.

Each year, IAUW members announce their accomplishments and present awards for Volunteer and Donor of the Year. They also took this time to unveil the 2023 allocations.

Guests visit prior to the start of the meeting.

The meeting was led by Kearin and IAUW President Lori Gustaf. In addition, the group welcomed Melissa Dougan as the new executive director.

Gustaf and Kearin reported that 2022 was another successful year for the IAUW, with $129,957 in funding announced for 2023. This money will assist 31 programs and agencies as well as the IAUW caring fund, which holds finances in reserve for any project that may need a little extra.

Kearin said the money was raised through their “Dine Out pledge, Downtown in Madtown and other fund-raising efforts.” The Dine Out pledge refers to their Dine Out to Donate event, which saw 22 local businesses agree to donate a portion of their profits to the IAUW. The event took place on Oct. 5 and raised a record-setting $4,174. Kearin added that the fund-raiser has accrued around $17,000 since 2017.

Other major events for the IAUW include the Win Big Raffle and 15×15 Challenge. Not only are they both top earners for the group, but they also feature a community prize winner.

The Win Big Raffle kicked off in June, and the winner was drawn Aug. 25. Lake County International was the event’s main sponsor and donated a Farmall garden tractor as the prize. Six hundred tickets were sold, totaling $60,000 raised. Madison’s Eric Nelson was the raffle’s winner.

“I think people are just accustomed to buying a ticket every year now,” Kearin added. “Whether they want the prize or not, they know this is a way they can help support United Way.”

The 15×15 Challenge works by asking participants to pledge $15 per month to the IAUW for 2023. Their names are then placed in a drawing for a $500 Visa gift card, with the winner being selected on Nov. 29. The event is sponsored by East River Federal Credit Union and has helped raise $92,000 in the last five years. Kearin noted that 112 participants joined the event, and the winner was Madison’s Helen Melcher.

Along with this, the IAUW announced the outstanding supporters from the previous year. These were divided into the categories of top donors and top volunteers.

Prostrollo Auto Mall received the honor of Outstanding Donor for its continued dedication to the group and its mission.

“Prostrollo’s has been a heartfelt member for as many years as I’ve been on this board and most likely many more,” Kearin said.

IAUW President Lori Gustaf, far right, presents the Outstanding Supporter award to Nick and Renae Prostrollo.

The Outstanding Volunteers award went to the past, present and future staff of Firstline Funding Group.

“They sell raffle tickets for us, they stuff envelopes, they label things, they organize, they prepare campaign packets; we’d be lost without them, honestly,” Kearin added.

Following these awards, the group distributed allocation certificates for each of the partnered agencies and programs for the coming year. These include the Madison Area Boy Scouts, East Dakota Transit, Interlakes Senior Citizen Center, Valiant Living and a host of others.

The meeting included a brief presentation from Brookings Area Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Dan McColley and former board member Scott Parsley. The pair discussed three Madison properties the organization owns and their plans to turn them into new homes.

McColley said they hope to complete one each summer for the next three years and that they are currently in search of qualified buyers. Potential homeowners must have an annual income between $25,000 and $62,000 to be eligible for the organization’s zero-interest mortgage program.

They closed the presentation by encouraging anyone interested in joining Habitat for Humanity’s efforts to seek further information on the website, Brookingshabitat.org.

Brookings Area Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Dan McColley spoke about the organization’s aim to build three homes in Madison in the next three years. Also pictured is volunteer Scott Parsley.

Grant funding to be announced at Annual Meeting

Interlakes Area United Way will share success stories from the past year and announce 2023 allocations at its upcoming Annual Meeting.

The event’s agenda includes a recap of United Way’s impact in Lake, Miner and Moody counties in 2022 plus highlights from partner agencies. Heart Club members, fundraising sponsors and outstanding supporters will also be recognized.

The public is invited to attend, and anyone who made a donation to IAUW in 2022 is considered a voting member.

“Join us as we celebrate those who made a difference last year and look forward to another year of mobilizing caring power,” said IAUW President Lori Gustaf.

The meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 13 at FirstLine Funding Group in Madison. Refreshments will be served at 5:30 p.m. with a short program beginning at 6:00 p.m. RSVPs are not required but may be made to director@interlakesunitedway.org.