Steamboat Springs Like the changing of the leaves, the installation of a giant thermometer on the lawn of the Routt County Courthouse is a sign that autumn has arrived.
Routt County United Way will use the thermometer to track its progress toward a $600,000 fundraising goal for its 26th annual campaign, which started last week and continues through Nov. 15.
United Way provides financial support to more than 40 programs for health and human services in Routt County. Organizations include American Red Cross, Integrated Community, Humble Ranch Education and Therapy Center, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, First Impressions of Routt County, Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, Advocates Against Battering and Abuse, and LIFT-UP of Routt County. United Way raised $590,000 in last year's campaign.
Campaign Chairwoman Lynaia South Orr said the organization has a "tremendous need" for donations this year, because organizations are seeing a reduction in their funding from other sources, coupled with increasing requests for services.
In the face of declining revenues and a weakening economy, the city of Steamboat Springs is planning on reducing its allocation to its Human Resources Coalition from $213,200 in 2008 to $115,985 in 2009. Many of the organizations the United Way supports also receive money through the coalition.
"They will definitely see a hit from the reduction in community support funding," South Orr said. "It's not just the city funding that's being cut. : Funding from other places is all taking a hit from the economy. : I think this year is going to be a tremendous test."
South Orr said those wishing to contribute to the United Way can contact the organization or have donations deducted from their paychecks if their employer participates in United Way's "workplace giving campaign."
In addition to its annual campaign, United Way sponsors volunteer opportunities, such as its annual Thanksgiving dinner and Day of Caring. For more information, or to contribute to United Way, call 879-5605.