United Way up and running to meet fundraising goal

United Way of Southwest Colorado’s board of directors recently approved our campaign goal for this fall and winter. We are setting out to raise $764,000 across Southwest Colorado for 80 incredible human-service programs that are doing great work in education, self-reliance and health. The campaign already is off to a good start with several events completed and our workplace campaigns up and running at local businesses.

Our fundraising events began with the 17th annual United Way and Durango High Noon Rotary Charity Golf Classic at Dalton Ranch Golf Club. Wells Fargo was our title sponsor again, and 20 other individuals and businesses also sponsored the event.

We also had a hole-in-one this year by a golfer on hole No. 5, which won him a great set of golf clubs. Even better, a golfer won our $10,000 putting contest by holing a 91-foot putt after the tournament. The event raises money for both United Way and High Noon Rotary, and the proceeds were more than we hoped to receive. Thank you to all our golfers, sponsors and volunteers for a great day.

United Way also helped at the Michael Franti and Spearhead concert at Three Springs, thanks to an invitation from Tami Graham Productions. We coordinated 70 volunteers to work various aspects of the event. Graham just sent United Way a large check as a donation to the annual fundraising campaign.

We then geared up to do our part for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge that began in Durango. We organized the start village at Buckley Park on race day. This was another fun event and a great chance to partner with the local organizing committee to bring our event-planning skills to the table.

United Way just completed its fourth fundraising event, the San Juan Brewfest. Sponsored by Chevron, this year’s event was one of the best ever. More than 900 people came last Saturday to taste beers from about 30 breweries from all over the nation.

Our next fundraising event will be the 16th annual Radiothon hosted by our good friends at Four Corners Broadcasting. We’ll be on KIQX 101.3 FM, KRSJ 100.5 FM and KIUP 930 AM all day Sept. 7 auctioning off more than $70,000 worth of goods and services. We have a car from Skyway Auto, an asphalt-paving project to smooth out your driveway from M. Leeder Construction, Broncos tickets, Follies tickets and much, much more. Visit the Radiothon website at uwradiothon.org to learn more.

While fundraising events are an important part of the annual fundraising campaign, the main way people donate to United Way is through payroll-deduction giving in the workplace. Two-thirds of our campaign goal will come from the workers in Southwest Colorado who choose to make a donation.

Walmart, Korn/Ferry International, UPS, Century Link and BP all are running their employee drives early this year, along with every United Way partner agency. These businesses help get our campaign off to a good start, and we thank them for their incredible support.

It’s been a busy month for United Way, and we are going to be working harder than ever to meet our fundraising goal.

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