Alumna finds self-sufficiency through United Way

Susan Fabian in photo.


Most would feel terrified and alone when faced with an abusive spouse, young children and nowhere to turn. And, all this with no money, house or support. For Susan Fabian, the situation was all too real — until she found United Way.

“Homeless, broke and with two children to provide for, the path ahead seemed terrifying,” shares Fabian. “New Horizon’s Women’s Shelter provided emergency shelter for both myself and children. Enrolled at UW-L full time, working four part-time jobs with two children in childcare and still I had no place to say, ‘this is where we live.’”

Fabian worked hard, but was still financially unstable and unable to afford a place to live. However, when she started working at Bluff Country Family Resources (BCFR), things began to look up.

BCFR is a nonprofit organization, located in Huston (Minn.) County, that targets domestic violence and sexual assault. Its mission is to provide education and non-judgmental, confidential crisis services to create a non-violent world. Through her job as the adult program coordinator, she learned more about United Way and the CouleeCap’s Supportive Housing program.

Fabian began working with CouleeCap’s Supportive Housing program, funded by United Way, to become more self-sufficient. The program provided her an apartment with income-based rent, so Fabian could finally afford a place to live. The program also provided her with basic necessities she could no longer afford, such as cleaning and hygiene products.

Fabian is extremely grateful to the organization. “CouleeCap’s Supportive Housing program allowed me freedom to live,” she says. “I wasn’t worried about whether or not I could afford my apartment. CouleeCap provided important necessities while I figured out how to navigate the restart of our lives. Finally, there was our place to stay.”

Today, Fabian works full time at an area non-profit organization and has a bachelor’s degree from UW-L. Soon after, she received the YWCA Outstanding Woman Award for her volunteer and leadership work empowering women. Fabian has since “graduated” from the Supportive Housing program and is able to afford permanent housing. Fabian also works with others with similar stories to help them become self-sufficient like her.

“This suitability allowed me to devise a more detailed action plan for our future; it took homelessness and placed it into a position that had no power to dictate my choices,” Fabian explains, “I knew that my life had been changed forever by one choice. And while I may not have realized it at first, United Way has been with me throughout my journey.”

Give to the United Way campaign

The campus United Way campaign runs through November.

All employees were sent, via campus mail, a United Way brochure and copies of pledge forms. Retired faculty and staff in the area will receive a pledge form via US mail.

Simply return completed forms to University Communications, 115 Graff Main Hall.

Give online at or download the PledgeForm.

Those contributing at any amount will receive a 20 percent discount coupon to the University Bookstore. Those donating at least $25 will receive a free UW-L T-shirt. Also, every $52 pledge equals an entry for gift cards and more from the United Way.