United Way close to goal

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— Whether measured in inches or thousands of dollars, Routt County United Way is just shy of meeting its $450,000 fund-raising goal.

Pledge by pledge, the giant United Way's campaign fund-raising thermometer in front of the Routt County Courthouse is inching its way up to the 100 percent mark. Routt County United Way Director Millie Beall said last week that the organization has reached the 98 percent of its 2005 fund-raising goal.

Beall hopes to wrap up the fund-raising campaign during the holiday season, so the organization has a set amount of money as it goes through the allocation process in January. Last year by Christmastime, United Way had met 99 percent of its $400,000 goal.

"Christmastime usually gets us there," Beall said. "It is the giving time of year."

In January, United Way goes through the allocation process to determine how much money will be distributed to the 35 Routt County agencies and special programs funded through donations.

Jan. 7 is the application deadline for those organizations to ask for United Way funding, and later that month hearings will take place to determine where the money goes.

Beall said United Way officials have to know the final tally of the fund=raising campaign by the end of January so that they can allocate the money.

Since mid-September, Beall and the board members have been appearing in offices across Routt County asking for donations. Because the fund-raising campaign is based on pledges, which some people don't fulfill, Beall said they would like to go beyond the campaign goal so they will be sure to collect the entire $450,000.

"It's been a really positive campaign," Beall said. She noted that many area businesses had incorporated the United Way campaign and its Christmas programs into their holiday celebration.

All the money raised in Routt County stays in Routt County, Beall said. Without United Way dollars, some of Routt County's health, welfare, youth, community and senior programs would not function and many would be forced to function at a lesser capacity.

Individual, group or corporate donations are accepted. The United Way staff and volunteer board can help businesses set up an employee payroll deduction pledge plan and help individual, families or other groups with a one-time donation or send reminders for quarterly or other timed pledged donations. Those wishing to give can also designate one or more of the 35 agencies or special programs as the recipients of their donation.

To make a donation to the United Way or for more information, call 879-5605.

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