Moffat County and city of Craig employees count on Friday the money raised so far in Moffat County United Way's annual fundraising campaign. The city and county employees, pacesetters for this year's main campaign, raised $45,600. From left are Audrey Danner, Kathy Larson, Jennifer Riley, Shirley Seely and Linda DeRose.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Moffat County and city of Craig employees count on Friday the money raised so far in Moffat County United Way's annual fundraising campaign. The city and county employees, pacesetters for this year's main campaign, raised $45,600. From left are Audrey Danner, Kathy Larson, Jennifer Riley, Shirley Seely and Linda DeRose.

City, county pacesetters raise more money for United Way than in 2008

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This year's pacesetters for the United Way fundraising campaign have set the bar high.

The city of Craig and Moffat County raised about $45,600 in an effort to jump-start the main campaign, which begins Sept. 14.

Corrie Ponikvar, Moffat County United Way executive director, was encouraged by the final tally, which pooled donations from 45 city and county employees.

"It's a significant amount of money," she said. "Whenever we have a company that wants to be a pacesetter, it brings so much more awareness to the campaign."

The general campaign will raise funds from local businesses and employees for United Way to divide among local organizations.

Last year's pacesetter, Xcel Energy, raised $33,000, and the campaign raised a record $505,000 total, Ponikvar said.

The success of the campaign last year was not derailed by early reports of a slumping stock market and warnings of a coming recession.

In fact, Ponikvar said that when the economy is in trouble, the Craig community steps up to the challenge.

When there's a downturn, she said, it is more necessary than ever to give to local organizations that might be affected by government funding and shrinking budgets.

"When the economy outside of our community is in a recession, we find that our community gives more," she said. "It's because people see their coworker got laid off or their neighbor, and they really start thinking how fortunate they are that they are employed. They really step up to the plate."

The United Way fundraiser is unique in that it is an umbrella nonprofit for several local services.

Ponikvar said United Way divides up funds among services that aid people from infants to seniors.

From well-baby checks to the Boys & Girls Club of Craig to hospice care, those who donate can choose where their money goes and who they want to support.

"We encourage that people's money is a personal thing and that giving is a personal thing," Ponikvar said.

The campaign, which stretches from Sept. 14 to Nov. 20, will ask for donations from local business employees. Workers can have donations taken out of their paychecks in small increments.

"It adds up to a lot of money that can be used in the community," Ponikvar said.

And, with a goal of $485,000 for this year, Ponikvar is convinced the community will continue to impress her.

"I've been doing this for 20 years, and it's always amazing to see how generous this community is," she said.

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