Christmas came a few days late for Routt County United Way, but the present was well worth the wait.
On Thursday, United Way officials met on the snow-covered lawn of the Routt County Courthouse to affix the final red stripe to their oversized fund-raising barometer. Just four months after kicking off the 2005 fund-raising campaign, United Way executive director Millie Beall said the organization has met its $450,000 goal.
"This community has awakened its giving spirit," Beall said Friday. "This community came together in a united effort to make that goal a reality."
The goal -- $50,000 more than last year's -- was met quicker than any fund-raising campaign Beall has overseen in her five years with United Way.
"We really jumped out of the chute quickly this year," Beall said. "There was so much enthusiasm and energy."
United Way officials now must begin the process of allocating money to 38 local health and human services agencies and programs. Those groups will receive at least $350,000 in funding from United Way in 2005, Beall said. Friday was the deadline for those organizations to apply for United Way funding.
Depending on how many fund-raising pledges are fulfilled -- officials know from experience that some of the pledges that amassed the $450,000 won't be fulfilled -- United Way may have a supplemental budgeting cycle later in the year.
Many local agencies depend on United Way to make their budgets each year, with some receiving as much as 10 percent of their revenue from United Way. Beall said agencies are able to use United Way contributions to leverage financial support from other funding mechanisms.
The United Way's administrative costs total about $70,000 a year, a figure that includes costs associated with United Way-sponsored events such as the community Thanksgiving Day dinner, Day of Caring and the Christmas Wishes program.
Beall thanked all the individuals and businesses that donated to United Way during the campaign season.
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