United Way contributions increase

Local businesses, individuals gave $365,000

— Many of the local agencies that depend on United Way funding will see an increase in their share of 2003 contribution dollars.

Routt County United Way was able to meet 96 percent of what its beneficiaries requested this year, board member Joe Fogliano said.

"That is, by far, more than we have done in the past years," he said.

Local businesses and individuals contributed or pledged to give $365,000 to health and human service agencies in the county this year.

About $326,000 was raised in 2002 for infants, the elderly, families, youth and those with special needs.

Increased financial support allowed board members to allocate additional dollars to member agencies and programs.

The jolt in funding comes at a time when many nonprofits in the community are feeling the effect of shortfalls in outside funding.

United Way dollars will help to fill the gap left in the wake of state and federal cuts.

The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association saw a $10,000 increase in its 2003 allocation. The organization, which serves infants, children and the elderly in Northwest Colorado and stands to lose at least $250,000 in state and federal funding, received $40,000 in 2002.

VNA Director Sue Birch said the VNA was appreciative of the boost in United Way support.

"We continue to see an increasing trend of people with greater needs," she said. "That's not going away."

Routt County United Way met its 2003 campaign contribution goal in late January.

Concerns about the slowdown in the economy loomed in the back of board members' minds as they mulled over a target dollar amount for 2003.

Their decision to increase the contribution goal by 22 percent was spurred by the anticipated loss of beneficiaries' state and federal dollars.

Member agencies and programs presented their requests Feb. 11, and the board approved allocations Feb. 12.

"We try to carve up the pie in a way that balances each of the agencies' needs with the available resources," Fogliano said.

Carving up the pie was somewhat easier this year because members had more money to work with and requests are reasonable, he said.

"The public was generous this year, and the agencies were realistic in what they requested," he said.

Twenty-six nonprofit organizations that serve various age groups, abilities and social and economic backgrounds received allocations ranging from $500 to $63,000.

Heritage Park and North Routt preschools, slated to receive a portion of First Impressions of Routt County's $63,000 allocation, are first-time recipients of United Way funds.

United Way funding for Partners in Routt County, a nonprofit organization that pairs youth with adult mentors, will increase by 100 percent in 2003.

Its $12,000 allocation should help to offset the loss of $60,000 in state funding over the next 18 months.

Routt County United Way awards up to $1,000 to programs within the county that depend on volunteers. The board set aside $22,000 to meet unexpected needs that pop up during the year. Almost $14,000 funded special need requests in 2002.

Routt County United Way Director Millie Beall said member agencies and programs should know of their individual allocations by Tuesday.

"We all work so hard to rally the troops, and this is the existing part of the whole process -- to really feel that you are making an impact on the health of the our community," Beall said.

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