Southeast Missouri – United Way of Southeast Missouri has partnered with students from Southeast Missouri State University to promote Giving Tuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back, now in its sixth year. Giving Tuesday harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations with social media to encourage philanthropy and celebrate generosity worldwide.


Occurring this year on November 28, Giving Tuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.  Just as Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become synonymous with holiday shopping, the goal of Giving Tuesday is to inspire a national movement around the holidays, encouraging local citizens to impact their community through monetary donations or volunteerism during the season of giving.

This year, United Way of Southeast Missouri has chosen to focus their Giving Tuesday campaign around their Student Emergency Funds. 

“A small yet impactful piece of the United Way puzzle here in our region is our Student Emergency Funds, established in five public school districts and at Southeast Missouri State University,” explained Kristin Funderburk, Community Relations Manager at United Way of Southeast Missouri. “These funds have been vital in providing assistance with basic needs to help keep students focused on learning.”

While donations come from United Way donor designations, funds are managed by a nurse or counselor at each school with input from faculty and staff. Last year, over 400 students were given a hand up through United Way Student Emergency Funds. In addition to household items and food, emergency funds designed to “Save Our Students” have provided shoes, winter clothes, eyeglasses, and dental care for K-12 students, while helping with gas, rent, and tuition for SEMO students.

With this year’s focus on giving back to students, United Way has collaborated with a group of students from Southeast Missouri State to implement the campaign. The students have conducted research on awareness of the funds, developed ideas for promoting it to students, and have encouraged financial support from University Alumni.

“As a graduate of the Mass Media department, it’s exciting to work with students and provide them with some real world experience,” said Funderburk. “They’ve been able to help us plan a strategic campaign for the University Emergency fund, while improving upon the various skills they will use after graduation.”

Giving Tuesday is promoted and powered by social media. Anyone can join the movement by visiting any of the social media platforms of United Way of Southeast Missouri:  Twitter (@UW_SEMO), Instagram (uw_semo) and where there is a pledge to join #GivingTuesday. Everyone may participate on all platforms using the hashtags #saveourstudents #GivingTuesday #UWSemo.

There are two avenues for making financial donations. Mobile pledges can be made by texting “saveourstudents” to 41444 and entering the necessary information. Or donors can complete a similar form online at Checks made out to United Way of Southeast Missouri with “save our students” in the memo also will be accepted along with credit cards and cash at the United Way office at 1417D N. Mt. Auburn, Cape Girardeau, 63701.

All funds raised on #GivingTuesday will support the 24 funded partners that run 36 programs in the areas of Education, Income and Health in Southeast Missouri.  A comprehensive list of the funded partners can be found at More information about this movement or how you can LIVE UNITED can be obtained by visiting the website or calling United Way at 573-334-9634.

About United Way of Southeast Missouri

The Mission of United Way of Southeast Missouri is to serve as the leader in uniting people and resources to build a stronger and healthier community. We focus on the building blocks of a strong family and a good life: Education, Income and Health. Our proactive methods create lasting change in the community that will continuously reduce the need for emergency services. We envision a community that LIVES UNITED by Giving, Advocating and Volunteering to improve this wonderful place where we live and work. For more information please visit or call 573-334-9634.

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