Sunday, December 27, 2009
Editorial Board, October 2009 through February 2010
- Suzanne Schlicht, general manager
- Brent Boyer, editor
- Blythe Terrell, city editor
- Tom Ross, reporter
- Michelle Garner, community representative
- Paula Cooper Black, community representative
Contact the editorial board at (970) 871-4221 or email@example.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.
The Routt County Livability Index, in its second year, presents page upon page of interesting insights into our community. Some of it is great news, and some shows room for improvement. One such area is charitable giving.
Routt County ranked No. 9 of 10 similar Western Slope counties in the category.
The index measures charitable giving — using 2006 data — as a percentage of adjusted gross income. Routt County residents gave 1.7 percent of their income to charitable causes in that year, which represented a decrease from previous years. Pitkin County led the pack at 2.6 percent, and Summit County was the only one behind Routt, at 1.6 percent.
Although some might see this as a negative commentary about our community’s generosity, we prefer to see it as an opportunity for nonprofit groups to tap into a resource.
It might be hard to believe that Routt lags behind other counties in charitable donations. Every holiday season our community pours out support in terms of volunteer hours and food for the Routt County United Way Community Thanksgiving Dinner and the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors Community Christmas Dinner. Those events provide free holiday meals for hundreds of people in the area.
Those two events are communitywide and garner a lot of attention, but they’re certainly not the only charitable pushes in which locals participate, and we recognize that many people donate time rather than money. But that could be true in other counties, also, and the numbers are the numbers.
Roger Good, the project coordinator for the livability index, pointed out that the per capita income for each county also appears in the document. Routt County stood at No. 2 in that category, with an average per capita income in 2007 of $49,890. The county was second only to Pitkin, with a staggering per capita income of $93,465.
Also interesting, Good noted, was that Chaffee County was third in individual philanthropy at 2.1 percent and last in per capita income, at $29,453.
If Routt County were able to pull itself up to the giving levels of Chaffee County, from 1.7 percent to 2.1 percent of per capita income, that would amount to a huge increase in dollars given.
That means our nonprofit groups, which we know already work hard, have a great opportunity to further engage the community. When people move here, we might not be doing enough to help them engage and invest in their new home.
We know charity and caring for our neighbors isn’t all about money. But it also seems that there are people out there who might want to donate to nonprofit groups to make Routt County a better, more supportive place to live for everyone. We just have to make sure we’re actively seeking their help.