Donors issue LIFT-UP pledge challenge | SteamboatToday.com
Zach Fridell

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Donors issue LIFT-UP pledge challenge

Local couple gives $7,000 - contingent on residents matching it

The only thing better than giving $7,000 to LIFT-UP of Routt County may be giving twice that amount.

An anonymous Steamboat Springs couple has aspirations of just that after pledging as much as $7,000 in matching donations toward LIFT-UP’s rent and mortgage assistance program.

Now, the charity organization is looking for donors to match that amount by the end of the year.

LIFT-UP Executive Director David Freseman said the assistance is coming just in time. In the six weeks since Nov. 1, the group has granted rent assistance to 34 individuals who have demonstrated need. In a six-week period beginning June 1, there were just six.

The donors, who have lived in Steamboat for five years, were looking for a way to help the segment of Routt County’s population that could use it the most, said the husband, who asked to remain anonymous.

“My focus has narrowed during these times, so if there are some dollars that can be spread around, my focus is that they should be put to people who need it the most,” he said during a phone interview Tuesday.

The donation was pledged at the beginning of December. Since then, LIFT-UP has placed advertisements in print and on the radio, bringing in $2,485 in donations toward the goal. Donations to match the goal have ranged from $10 to $500, Freseman said.

“People love when they know something they do can be multiplied,” he said.

Applicants for rent and mortgage assistance may receive a portion or all of their rent for a month, and past grants have ranged from $150 to $1,000. Applicants also must prove they will be able to sustain themselves in future months.

Freseman said the early part of 2008 was about typical, with a “dramatic spike” since the beginning of November.

“Typically, we have more in the off-season, but we don’t have this rash, this huge need,” Freseman said.

The clients requesting rent assistance are a mix of seasonal workers who have not yet received shifts or their first paycheck and full-time residents who have lost their jobs.

“There are needy people in our community right now, and a lot of them are our friends,” the donor said.

To donate to the matching program, call LIFT-UP at 879-3374 or stop by its offices at 2125 Curve Court.

– To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208

or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com