United Way meets goal

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— Routt County United Way Executive Director Millie Beall can barely contain her excitement when she tells people United Way has met its biggest fundraising goal in its 23-year history.

"I feel really comfortable saying that we are going to meet our goal. With all of our projections, we're there. We're actually at 105 percent right now," she said.

Beall said the Routt County United Way set its goal high this year because of the need local organizations and programs have for the money. The budgets of many United Way-funded agencies were cut by the state and federal government.

Routt County United Way helps about 40 area agencies and human service programs. People who benefit from those agencies vary in age, income and needs. All the money raised in the campaign will go to programs within the county.

Last year, the Routt County United Way exceeded its goal of $450,000 by about $30,000.

At this point, Beall said there is a possibility the campaign raised more than $500,000, taking into consideration cash donations and pledges -- which are hypothetical donations until they are made.

Beall said this year's campaign is not quite over, but she hopes to wrap things up in the first few weeks of January.

"I think we've got a pretty good handle on fundraising after all these years," she said.

Beall said the board of directors helped make the campaign run more smoothly than ever by contacting area businesses, setting up presentations and handing out brochures.

Beall estimated that 95 of 136 businesses in Routt County made contributions, set up employee payroll deduction plans or handed out brochures, which was half the battle.

"It was a phenomenal experience. We were just glad to get out brochures into the hands of their employees," she said.

Beall said that although fund--raising is a huge part of the campaign, education is one of the most important things Beall and the board of directors strives to accomplish.

"Half of the campaign is educating the community as to what we do," she said.

"We are around all year providing services to people in this community that might not have realized they existed."

Such programs include a safe house for battered woman and children, which Beall said too few people knew about.

Beall said funds are distributed to agencies and programs in equal amounts four times a year: April 1, July 1, Oct. 1 and Dec. 15.

The United Way can fund up to 10 percent of any particular agency's budget, she said.

Qualifying for United Way funding helps organizations get money from other sources, Beall said.

"We just try to sustain their services," she said. "It behooves all of us to support the organizations we want here in this county."


-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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