Pope County Volunteerism
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Pope County Volunteerism
12A Monday, December 8, 2014
Variety of sizes to fit
your storage needs!
14’x40’ | 14’x30’ | 10’x24’
9’x20’ | 8’x10’
Call Dan for Pricing
320.304.3129320.304.312917671 210th Ave. | Glenwood, MN
Affordable Prices!Affordable Prices!
Brand NewBrand New
Storage FacilityStorage Facility
Pope County man embodies the spirit of giving
By Deb Mercier
om Meador gave up the hustle and bustle of the
east coast for the quiet, outdoors lifestyle of the
Midwest. A retired sales executive for Pﬁzer,
Meador landed in the Minnewaska area after searching for
the perfect place to hang his hat, ﬁsh and hunt. And along
with a love of the outdoors, he brought with him a passion
for giving back to the community in which he lives.
Though work took him out east, Meador’s roots go
back to the Midwest; he grew up in Ames, Iowa with sev-
en brothers and sisters.
When retirement became a possibility, Meador set his
sights back on the Midwest. He said he started his search
in Iowa and just kept working his way north. “Through my
corporate life, I had very good vibrations from Minneso-
ta,” said Meador. “‘Minnesota Nice’ to me is real.”
The Minnewaska area seemed to ﬁt everything he was
looking for in a community: quality ﬁshing, affordability
and friendly people.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that the area happens to harbor
one of the top 25 pheasant hunting spots in the nation, ei-
ther, said Meador. He bought what he calls a “chalet with-
out the mountain” on Grove Lake and has been living in
Starbuck while renovating his new home.
Giving to the max
Throughout his working career, Meador was active in
supporting his daughters’schools as well as contributing to
other nonproﬁts through employer giving programs. Over
a 15-year period, Meador estimates that he gave between
$5,000-$6,000. Using the resources available through his
employer, Meador said, “I was able to parlay that into an
additional $15,000—a three to one ratio.”
And just because he’s left the workforce and his
daughters have moved on to careers of their own doesn’t
mean an end to Meador’s support of education. To that
end, he has already set up two local scholarships of $500
each for Minnewaska Area High School and Brooten-Bel-
grade-Elrosa students. He’s also provided refurbished lap-
tops to MAHS.
Because of the opportunities he had to maximize his
own donations through Pﬁzer, Meador is passionate about
promoting employer giving programs.
What is an employer giving program?
Many employers encourage employees to donate to
nonproﬁts—to the communities in which they work and
live—through incentives or campaigns.
For example, many area employers run an annual
“Live United” campaign, offering employees a chance
to donate to United Way through the workplace. Accord-
ing to Corliss Stark of United Way of Pope and Douglas
Counties, the Minnewaska School District, Healthland,
Glacial Ridge Hospital, WASP and Glenwood State Bank
all have sponsored United Way giving programs for their
employees over the years.
Stark said one advantage of giving through an em-
ployer is the ability to set up a payroll deduction. “A small
amount can be given each pay period—usually, you don’t
notice the gift being taken out,” she said. “Often times
companies will do a match dollar for dollar or a certain
percentage, so their gift actually goes farther,” Stark add-
Employees of Glacial Ridge Health System are able
to cash out and donate from their paid time off (PTO) to
United Way as well as taking advantage of a direct payroll
deduction, said Diane Meyer, GRHS marketing and com-
munications manager. It’s a strategy that has “greatly in-
creased the number of employees donating, and their total
donation,” said Meyer. Last year alone, GRHS employees
surpassed their United Way donation goal of $7,000 by
more than $1,500.
When giving to United Way individually or through
employers, Stark said, “People can designate all their do-
nation to go to a speciﬁc agency.” She also reminded do-
nors that 99 cents out of every dollar given in Pope County
stays in Pope County.
More options for giving through employers
Besides participating in United Way campaigns, oth-
er employer-based giving programs promote employee
involvement in the wellbeing of their communities. For
example, Healthland, a local employer providing software
solutions to the health care industry, has clearly deﬁned
community donation guidelines on its website. Employees
and even Healthland clients are able to easily request mon-
etary or in-kind donations through Healthland for nonprof-
Just up the road in Alexandria, 3M offers a volunteer
match, providing ﬁnancial support to the nonproﬁts where
its employees and retirees volunteer their time.
Giving programs are good for businesses, too, said
Meador. “It’s a way [for employees] to feel good about
their place of employment.”
The important thing, said Meador, is to check out what
is offered through your employer—and for area nonprof-
its to be aware of what’s available through employers as
well. Meador said he’s always willing to present to boards,
parent-teacher associations, nonproﬁts and parents who
volunteer about tapping into corporate resources. Those
interested in a presentation should contact Meador at
Photo by Lane Studio
Tom Meador and his dog, Casper, are avid pheasant
hunters. When Meador moved to the Minnewaska area,
he joined the board of the Glacial Ridge chapter of
Pheasants Forever as a way to contribute his time to a
...and he says employers can be key
Minnewaska Area High School students and staff got a $25,000 surprise last Friday. While they were gathered
for a winter activities pep fest, it was announced that MAHS was one of 100 schools to receive a $25,000 grant
from State Farm as part of the company’s “Celebrate My Drive” campaign. The campaign is designed as a
contest--schools sign up to participate, and students, staff and community members are encouraged to go
online and make a safe driving pledge each day of the campaign. Minnewaska was one of 3,283 participating
schools. See the full story on page 1A. Above, the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) group
spearheaded the Celebrate My Drive campaign at MAHS. They are pictured with State Farm representatives
and MAHS students at the winter pep fest. Left to right are Chris Buckingham, local State Farm representative;
SADD students Grant Hitchcock, Jordyn Roggenkamp, and Greta Serrin; SADD advisor Denise Dougherty;
SADD students Austin Dougherty, Drew Opdahl and Ryan Majerus; (behind Ryan) Tim Boyd, State Farm sales
leader; Amy Roers, local State Farm representative; and the State Farm mascot, the Good Neighbear. At left,
MAHS science teacher Mike Troen made good on his bet. If Minnewaska was a winner, he vowed to let students
shave his head and craft a Laker mohawk.
‘Waska wins $25,000!
Photos by Deb Mercier