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Action Day to Help 40,000 Local Students Head Back to School

A United Way staff member snaps a picture of a group of volunteers at Action Day 2023

United Way Staff


Greater Twin Cities United Way, Minnesota United FC Co-Host Virtual Action Day Event and One of Twin Cities’ Largest Volunteer-at-Home Initiatives

Each year, about 100,000 kindergarten through twelfth-grade students in the Twin Cities region don’t have the school supplies they need to start the year ready to learn. That’s because many families face difficult decisions about buying those supplies or buying necessities like food and medicine, and the impact of COVID-19 has exacerbated this challenge even more.

At-Home Volunteer Opportunity

To help 40,000 students get the school supplies they need – whether they’re learning from home or in school – Greater Twin Cities United Way and Minnesota United FC are teaming up to host the fifth-annual Action Day, with a twist. Instead of thousands of people gathering on one day to assemble backpacks with school supplies, those interested can participate in one of the largest volunteer-at-home initiatives in the Twin Cities by:

  • Assembling school supply packs from the safety of their homes through Aug. 6.
  • Making a monetary donation through Aug. 13 to help fund 40,000 backpacks filled with supplies.

Those who volunteer or donate at will be entered into a sweepstakes for the chance to win a Polaris Slingshot and VIP experiences from Minnesota’s professional sports teams.

Virtual Action Day

Virtual Action Day will take place on Aug. 13 from noon to 1 p.m., and to participate from home, people can sign up at During this virtual event, 84 metro area nonprofits as well as school districts will pick up the backpacks and supplies at Allianz Field, which they will distribute to students in need. The event also will feature nonprofit leaders and how they’re preparing local students for academic success as well as mascots from Minnesota’s professional sports teams.

“While COVID-19 has changed the way we’re approaching Action Day this year, one thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to helping students of all ages start the school year with confidence, ready to learn,” said John Wilgers, President and CEO of Greater Twin Cities United Way. “Our vision is all students thrive academically, personally and socially, and Action Day is one of many ways we’re partnering with the community to help our students succeed.”

“While we aren’t able to host Action Day at Allianz Field the way we hoped to this year, the need in our community has never been bigger,” said Minnesota United CEO Chris Wright. “This event is still about looking after the youth in our market, now even more so, and making sure they have the supplies they need to push forward and excel in their school work.”

Partners and Sponsors

Created by United Way in 2016, Action Day 2020 is made possible through:

  • A partnership with all seven Minnesota professional sports teams, including the Minnesota Wild, Timberwolves, Lynx, Twins, United FC, Vikings and St. Paul Saints as well as Fox Sport North.
  • Sponsors including Allianz, CenterPoint Energy, Comcast, Land O’Lakes, Inc., Liberty Diversified International (LDI), Marathon Petroleum, Polaris, Post Consumer Brands and UPS.

Note – B-roll, photo and interview opportunities

  • Greater Twin Cities United Way President and CEO John Wilgers, Minnesota United FC CEO Chris Wright, nonprofit leaders and school district partners are available for interviews
  • Now through Aug. 12: Families and others volunteering at home
  • Aug. 13:
    • Eight UPS semitrucks unloading backpacks and school supplies at Allianz Field
    • Nonprofit partners and school district personnel picking up backpacks to distribute to students
    • Sports team mascots
    • Virtual or on-site, socially distanced interview opportunities
  • Click here for video on how Virtual Action Day supports American Indian OIC, an organization that works with Indigenous students to meet their educational goals and more.
  • Click here for Action Day 2020 video.

About Greater Twin Cities United Way: One in four people in the Twin Cities region are experiencing poverty. Greater Twin Cities United Way supports long-term wellbeing by working to provide equitable access for all to a strong education, stable housing, healthy food and good jobs. We do this by bringing together the public, private and nonprofit sectors to solve the community’s most pressing needs. Through our public policy work, volunteer engagement, United Way’s 211 Resource Helpline, nonprofit leadership support and grant making, we take a holistic, long-term approach to create pathways toward prosperity and equity for all. That’s because when more of us reach our potential, our whole community benefits. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

About the Author

Greater Twin Cities United Way unites changemakers, advocates for social good and develops solutions to address the challenges no one can solve alone to create a community where all people thrive. Together with our partners, we’re meeting immediate community needs while transforming inequitable systems in the areas of housing, food, education and jobs.

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