Wednesday, September 14, 2005
For the first time in its 23-year history, Routt County United Way officials are asking residents to donate half a million dollars during their annual fundraising campaign, which kicks off today.
"We set that goal based on the burgeoning needs of our agencies in the health and human services area," said Mike Forney, campaign chairman and vice president of the Routt County United Way's board of directors. "There are cutbacks in state and federal funding, but at the same time, the costs have been rising, and the needs have increased."
Last year, Routt County United Way exceeded its goal of $450,000 by about $30,000. Forney said last year's success gives United Way officials confidence that they can reach this year's goal.
This year's campaign theme, "Awaken Your Giving Spirit," is the same as last year's. Forney said it resonated with Routt County residents because they are so giving.
"It's such a marvel, the giving spirit in Routt County," he said.
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.
Executive Director Millie Beall said the funds agencies receive from United Way often are used to leverage additional funds from other sources within and outside the county.
"Any one of these agencies, we don't fund any more than 10 percent of their annual budgets. But they take the amount and leverage it tenfold," Beall said.
To help launch the campaign, which runs through the end of November, United Way board members will give presentations to companies and groups about employee donation programs. Forney said officials have reached out to nearly 200 businesses to schedule presentations. About 3,000 people who have given to or shown interest in giving to United Way will receive letters about the campaign in the next couple of days.
It is important to remember that all the money donated during the campaign goes to help agencies that help people, Forney said.
"It's all well and good to list a dollar goal and put up big signs and thermometers. But in the final analysis, it's individual people who are being served," he said.
After all, Forney said, it might be your friend who benefits from the United Way's campaign.
"A lot of people in Routt County have friends and neighbors who, if they didn't have the help of these agencies, would really be desperate. We don't want that to happen."
Donations can be sent to: RCUW, P.O. Box 774005, Steam-boat Springs, CO 80477 or can be dropped off at 135 Sixth St. in Steamboat Springs.
For more information or to set up a presentation for your business or group, call Millie Beall at 879-5605 or visit www.unitedwayroutt.com.