ST. CLOUD -- The United Way of Central Minnesota recently announced they plan to invest $1.8 million to help local organizations over the next year.

President and Chief Executive Officer Larry Olness says they have three focus areas including $400,000 for health initiatives specifically addressing mental health issues.

We have invested dollars in District 742 to work with kindergartners because the sooner you can catch the problem the easier it is to deal with.  We are also working with the aging population to deal with the issue of isolation.

Olness says $550,000 will go towards education and $240,000 to help people struggling with financial stability.

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The remaining $600,000 will be added to the United Way of Central Minnesota's safety net funds, dedicated to supporting ongoing community issues like the emergency food shelves.

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