United Way luncheon to celebrate community's charitable streak

Past winners:

This will be Moffat County United Way's third time presenting an agency of the year award. The past winners are:

2007: Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association

2006: Advocates-Crisis Support Services

Moffat County United Way is faced with recognizing one of about 50 nonprofits and government services as its agency of the year.

The decision - which will be announced at the group's annual awards luncheon at noon today at the Holiday Inn of Craig - is always difficult, and this year was no different, United Way executive director Corrie Ponikvar said.

"It's really difficult to pick an agency," she said. "We haven't been doing this very long, but still, every year it's an extremely difficult choice to make."

The various community groups that receive United Way funding are involved in nearly every part of Moffat County, from housing and medical services to family planning and youth activities.

They and others will be up for several commendations.

Ponikvar said United Way plans to give out 25 to 30 different awards to donors and member organizations.

The event began as a way to bring those who give money together with groups that depend on their contributions to stay active.

It's basically a big thank you, Ponikvar said.

"The agencies that receive money from us do so much good work around our community, we wanted to make it more of a public appearance so the public knows what they're doing," she said. "This lunch allows everyone to be in the same room with one another, so everybody can see what these groups are doing."

United Way has been active locally for the past 13 years and always has met its fundraising goal. Although officials set the 2009 bar at $480,000, the community surpassed that mark with a total of $485,093.

When Ponikvar learned about the total in January, she said she was, as always, thankful to live in such a giving community. That the national recession had become a topic of everyday conversation by the time the United Way donation campaign started only made her more impressed.

Today's event is United Way's chance to publicly show its gratitude, she said.

Although the luncheon is invitation-only, Ponikvar added it is meant to celebrate the helping spirit that stretches across Moffat County.

"We're just really excited to have this opportunity and be able to show people what our agencies have done," she said.

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