Support makes fundraising worth effort

United Way of Southwest Colorado’s annual fundraising campaign is in full swing with a goal to raise $764,000 this fall and winter. If achieved, United Way will be able to support 80 programs across the region. Each program has proved to United Way that it can help us with our goals in education, self-reliance and health.

United Way works to achieve the fundraising goal in three main ways: We hold fundraising events across the region; we work with 200 local businesses where we ask employees to consider making payroll-deduction donations; and we also ask for one-time gifts from people in the community.

Our fundraising events have already produced more than $87,000 toward our goals. We still have three more events to go this season: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory’s Seconds Sale on Nov. 17, Taste of the Seasons on Nov. 29 and Wolf Creek Ski Day on Jan. 16.

We also are continuing our Party ’Round Pagosa fundraiser, where you can purchase gift certificates to more than 30 local restaurants in Pagosa Springs and support United Way at the same time.

A few early results have been submitted from the workplace campaigns that form the core of the annual goals.

BP is consistently one of United Way’s top supporters, and this year, it did it again. Employees contributed more than $30,000. BP corporate will provide a dollar-for-dollar match of employee payroll-deduction donations. BP also donated the top-selling item at our annual Four Corners Broadcasting Radiothon, which produced another $15,000 for United Way. Combined, BP’s support will exceed $60,000 this year. United Way thanks Greg Busch, Tiffany Valencia and Steve Collins for their leadership and support.

Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort ran its employee drive for United Way over the summer, and employees generously contributed more than $1,000. Thank you to human resources director Erin Hyder for her help.

Williams held a golf tournament fundraiser in May, and it produced almost $15,000. Williams employee Angi Nystrom deserves all the credit for this great fundraiser. Williams also allows United Way to interact with every one of its employees to ask for payroll-deduction gifts and matches employee donations dollar for dollar.

First National Bank of Durango dedicates an entire month to United Way each year and has already raised more than $5,000. On Friday, the bank will hold its annual Sip to Soup-port fundraiser for us. For a small fee, that all goes to United Way. Guests can taste up to 30 soups created especially for this event from professional and amateur chefs and then vote for their favorite. First National Bank employees also will make payroll-deduction donations and the bank will match them.

The annual fundraising drive takes a lot of hard work from our dedicated staff members across the region, but we love doing it because of the great response we get from donors every year.

We are proud to be celebrating our 40th anniversary of doing business in Southwest Colorado this year and hope we can count on your support. Visit our website at to learn how you can help us achieve our goal.

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

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