Our view: Agency asked; you gave

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Pound for pound, Moffat County is one of the most generous communities on the Western Slope.

Although there was plenty of evidence of giving during the holidays, our support of the United Way provides a way to compare ourselves with some of our neighbors.

The United Way's 2005 campaign just ended and donations still are trickling in, but fund-raising organizers exceeded their $320,000 goal, raising about $350,000.

Our county population is about 13,000, but the United Way's targeted donors, people ages 25 to 64, amount to about 7,000 people, according to the 2000 census figures included in the Community Indicators Project.

Corrie Scott, executive director of the Moffat County United Way, compiled some quick figures that indicate Moffat County residents are big spenders when it comes to supporting local nonprofit agencies.

Mesa County's target population is about 100,000, and its United Way agency raised about $900,000. Routt County looks to be on target to reach its goal of $450,000, but it has about 12,200 people in its targeted giving population.

Hitting the fund-raising goal doesn't happen by magic. "We have to work and plead and emphasize how important is to give," Scott said.

Still, Moffat County has two things going for it that make it a relatively easy task.

"We have really generous and very conscientious people here. Not that there aren't in other towns too, but people are really generous here," Scott said.

"We also have a long-standing relationship with our corporations who believe strongly in the United Way and what we do."

Some of the county's largest employers match 100 percent what their employees give.

Such strong ties helped the local United Way weather a scandal in 1992, when a federal indictment was brought against the former president of the national organization.

Scott was a part-time United Way employee then, but she remembers making the rounds to explain to people that the national scandal wouldn't affect allocations.

People "showed a lot of faith," that the local United Way agency was fiscally responsible and making sure the lion's share of all money raised benefited residents.

The Moffat County United Way is the only local nonprofit organization whose sole purpose is to raise funds for the health and human services needs of Moffat County residents.

These agencies and programs help infants, the elderly, youths and those with special needs.

We're proud, as always, to live among such generous and caring people, and we hope that the tradition of giving continues next year and beyond.

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