There’s plenty to love about local people, nonprofits

In the spirit of the recent Valentine’s season, here are several things I love about Southwest Colorado.

I love how our banks rally around good causes. For example, United Way donations from Bank of Colorado employees in Durango increased by 1,389 percent this last year. Our banks are some the most consistent supporters of things important to our local communities.

I love how small businesses make big donations. Professional Computer Solutions employs 11 people, and every year they pledge more than $1,000 to United Way. Roseberry’s Plumbing & Heating is another small business that is a loyal United Way supporter each and every year. Small businesses are the heart of rural communities.

I love Snowdown. Thanks to all the organizers of this annual festival that allows us to shake the winter doldrums for a few days. The Follies this year were great, and I will never forget Big Jim and Danglers.

I love this year’s winter weather. There is a good snowpack in the mountains, but we have not had too much snow in town.

I love the staff we have at United Way. Bruce Johnson covers Montezuma and Dolores counties. Lisa Jensen covers Archuleta County. Christine Imming, Annie Satariano and I work out of the home office in Durango. I am very lucky to have such a great team of people to work with each day.

I love United Way’s focus on education, self-reliance and health. When I think about how to solve problems in our nation, I keep coming back to these three areas. These are the building blocks for the opportunity to succeed in today’s world.

I love nonprofits that have impact on a community. Durango Adult Education Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Liberty School, Axis Health Systems, Volunteers of America, La Plata Youth Services and the Eye & Ear Program are just a few of the United Way partners that truly affect our community. I also appreciate Trails 2000, Adaptive Sports Association and the Durango Arts Center.

I love volunteers. Southwest Colorado does not lack for volunteer opportunities. We also enjoy a community of people who truly care about our quality of life here. We have volunteers for local planning commissions, other government committees, churches, youth sports and our nonprofit organizations.

I love advocating for change. At your United Way, we pay attention to what is happening with federal, state and local government. Every now and then, there are policies under consideration that would positively or negatively affect our nonprofit community’s ability to fulfill our missions. When there is an issue that makes sense for us to consider taking a stand on, we have the ability and the responsibility to do so. Sometimes, organizations such as United Way can make bigger change happen with our voice rather than with our dollars.

I love collaboration. United Way is collaborating with 80 programs across Southwest Colorado and coordinating their services toward community-level goals in education, self-reliance and health. We also collaborate with the Rotary Clubs in the area on service projects and fundraising events. We work with state and local governments when necessary.

I love United Way!

Tim Walsworth is president and CEO for United Way and a member of the Durango High Noon Rotary Club.