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United Way merger complete in Twin Ports

What was plural is now singular as the Head of the Lakes United Way emerged today from the Duluth and Superior branches of the organization. "I'm excited about the endless possibilities two strong organizations can provide by joining forces," sai...

What was plural is now singular as the Head of the Lakes United Way emerged today from the Duluth and Superior branches of the organization.

"I'm excited about the endless possibilities two strong organizations can provide by joining forces," said Kathi Madsen, an executive with the organization who will help oversee the transition.

The combined boards of directors of the United Way branches of Greater Duluth and Superior-Douglas County voted in favor of a merger in April.

"We know hunger and housing issues don't stop at county or state lines," said Matt Hunter, president of Head of the Lakes United Way. "This merger will allow us to more positively impact the larger region in the areas of basic needs, education and other issues. Communities have been supporting both United Ways for decades; their generosity and determination will position all of us to achieve more."

Other than the new name, donors and stakeholders should see little short-term change. Full transition and integration could take a year or more.

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During listening sessions, it was made clear by supporters they wanted to continue selecting which community they support through fundraising campaigns.

This year's community campaigns in the North Shore, Greater Duluth, Superior-Douglas County and Ashland-Bayfield counties will look much as they have in the past, Madsen explained.

Offices will remain in place, and Head of the Lakes United Way will continue to coordinate with volunteers and community leaders to help guide local strategies, programs, relationship building and fundraising.

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