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United Way celebrates fall campaign: More than $400,000 raised to ‘Make a World of Difference’

United Way Communications Committee members reveal the campaign total at the Russian Village of the Concordia Language Villages Thursday. Pictured from left: Johnny Lee Walker, Sheila Dockendorf, Jean Baer, Jeff Peltier, Hannah Anderson, Jennifer Sanford, Heidi Hovis and Judy Comstock Magness. Submitted Photo

BEMIDJI — The United Way of Bemidji Area hosted its “Making a World of Difference” victory dinner Thursday evening at the Russian Village of Concordia Language Villages to celebrate the projected success of United Way’s fall fundraising campaign for the community.

During the dinner, the United Way’s communications committee of Johnny Lee Walker, Colleen Schulke, Hannah Anderson, Heidi Hovis, Jean Baer, Judy Comstock, Jeff Peltier and Sheila Dockendorf, led those in attendance in a version of “It’s a Small Town After All” before the projected campaign total to-date of $410,135.77 was announced.

The United Way’s campaign cabinet, which is divided into seven divisions and chaired by nine volunteers, will continue to work to help secure final donations needed to reach the projected results. Brian and Kristi Bissonette, campaign co-chairs, worked with the following Campaign Cabinet chairs: JoAnne Daniels, business division; Scott Kurtzweg, commercial division; Johnny Lee Walker and the communications committee, events division; Jeff Peltier, major gifts division; Sue Kringen, Pacesetters and Sheila Miller, special gifts.

Sue Kringen was announced as the United Way Campaign Chairwoman for 2014.

Contributions to the 2013 United Way’s campaign will be accepted through Dec. 31. Contribution can be mailed to United Way, Box 27, Bemidji, MN 56619 or make a donation online by visiting All contributions will be receipted for tax purposes.

The following awards were presented at the dinner:


Awarded to internal campaigns with a 50 percent or more employee participation rate and 3 percent increase in employee pledges over last year: First National Bank Bemidji, RP Broadcasting, Target.


Awarded to internal campaigns with a 70 percent or more employee participation rate and 9 percent increase in employee pledges over last year: AmeriPride Services, Boys and Girls Club of Bemidji Area, Northern Dental Access Center, Northwoods Caregivers, Paul Bunyan Broadcasting, Pinnacle Publishing, RiverWood Bank.


More than $10,000 in employee gifts and fundraisers: Beltrami County, Bemidji Schools (ISD No. 31).

More than $15,000 in employee gifts and fundraisers: Beltrami Electric Co-op, North Country Business Products.

More than $20,000 in employee gifts and fundraisers: First National Bank Bemidji, Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota.


Given to businesses and corporations with contributions of $1,000 or more:

President’s — $1,000 to $4,999: AmeriPride Services, Dondelinger GM, EAPC Architects, Ken K. Thompson Jewelry, Knife River Materials, Kraus Anderson Construction, Nortech Systems, North Country Business Products, Otter Tail Power Co., Paul Bunyan Communications, Potlatch Land & Lumber, Renaissance Hearing Center, Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota, Security BankUSA, Target, UPS.

President’s Plus — $5,000 to $9,999: Enbridge, Norbord Minnesota, RiverWood Bank.

President’s Plus Plus — More than $10,000: First National Bank Bemidji.