Routt County United Way reaches its $300,000 goal

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— With the result of terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, Routt County United Way didn't think it would see such local profits.

But nonprofit organizations in Routt County will benefit from the $300,000 raised by Routt County United Way for the 2002 fiscal year.

Executive Director Millie Beall and other board members put up balloons and stickers on the barometer that stands on the courthouse lawn Monday afternoon saying thanks to the many contributors.

"I'm thrilled about the campaign. It's wonderful that this community, once again, antes up in a difficult year," Beall said. "People were more compassionate this year."

Beall said the usual big donors didn't give as much money this year but she had more donors than in years past. She attributes most of this to people wanting to keep a financially healthy community.

"We have to take care of ourselves. We don't know what will happen with federal dollars so people are saying, 'Let's keep this community healthy,'" Beall said.

Programs such as Christmas in July or the annual Thanksgiving dinner can be paid for from the many fund-raisers or contributions made from July 1 through January.

Although the campaign season lasts only six months, Beall said contributions continue to flow in throughout the year.

Events such as Jimmie Heuga's Snow Express for MS or Crystal Ball help Routt County United Way raise the barometer every year. Last year, United Way raised $275,000 for the 2001 fiscal year.

"We upped our ante so we're just allocating $18,000 right off the top," Beall said.

Beall said budgeting is difficult when she must estimate what a certain event will gain United Way. Many times figuring in for bad debt when people change employment can be a huge loss.

"I feel like we're being real conservative in the budget," Beall said. "But I feel confident with $300,000. By the end of 2002, I think we'll have even more revenue than that."

The $300,000 budget will benefit Routt County United Way programs, which receive $1,000 each, and member agencies. Routt County United Way's 23 member agencies receive more money, depending on a number of criteria.

For instance, Humble Ranch is a program trying to gain status as a member agency to ask for more money each year. The Visiting Nurse Association is one of the largest member agencies, receiving about $40,000 last year.

"We have a foot-deep pile of proposals that we're just starting to go through," Beall said after a long meeting about allocations Monday.

The board will hear 15-minute speeches from each of the various programs and member agencies Feb. 7. After that Routt County United Way will reach a decision about which nonprofit is allocated a certain amount of money.

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