United Way campaign gets off to good start with Radiothon

United Way of Southwest Colorado recently held its best annual fundraising event, the Four Corners Broadcasting Radiothon, on Sept. 7. This year, the radio auction was incredible, generating more than $47,000 for United Way.

Four Corners Broadcasting and its listeners are great supporters of United Way. The Radiothon celebrated its Sweet 16 birthday this year and over time has raised more than $500,000 for United Ways work in La Plata and San Juan counties.

Several other local businesses played a key role to make the event so successful. Ska Brewing Co. was our broadcast location and donated its facility to us for our event. CenturyLink provided the phone numbers that listeners called to place their bids. American Tel-Com provided the hardware that our bid takers used to take calls from bidders. J-3 Media built and maintained our website. Brainstorm hosted the website. Durango Motor Co. loaned us its IT person to manage our computer network. Alpine Bank sponsored an hour of the broadcast.

I also need to thank this years Radiothon coordinator Kristin Dills for her hard work. Dills secured well over $70,000 worth of goods and services that were auctioned off during the Radiothon. She kept everything organized and helped United Way to have a super smooth event. I, for one, hope she comes back and does it again next year.

Some of my favorite items that were up for bid included pipe from BP, a Volkswagen Jetta from Skyway Auto, Follies tickets from Janalee Hogan, Colorado Avalanche tickets from Daren Caldwell at Access Wireless AT&T, an asphalt paving project from M. Leeder Construction, wisdom teeth extraction from Dr. Michael Johnson, a queen-size mattress set from Wallace Sleep N Comfort and several donations from the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Thank you so much to everyone that made this event happen.

Now that most of United Ways fundraising events in La Plata County are complete, we are moving in to the heart of our local fundraising, which is asking local employees to consider donating a few dollars per paycheck.

Several businesses ran their campaign early for United Way this year. Bank of Colorado employees pledged more than $7,000 for United Way. UPS employees contributed nearly $10,000. Walmart, BP, Korn/Ferry, Williams, Wells Fargo Bank, Mercy Regional Medical Center and every United Way partner agency currently are running their employee drives with results available soon.

The United Way campaign will be coming to just about every workplace in Southwest Colorado in the coming months. We keep donations in the community where donors live, so we are good option to help people give smartly and locally. Donations are used to support a network of programs that United Way is coordinating toward key goals in education, self-reliance and health. To learn how to get your business involved, call me at 247-9444, ext. 1.

On another note, please remember to nominate businesses and individuals for the Durango Chamber of Commerce annual awards event. The event will be held Feb. 9, 2013. Your favorite business, resident or volunteer cannot win if they are not nominated. Visit www.durangobusiness.org to nominate someone you think is great.

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