This year's United Way campaign is off and running, thanks to this year's campaign pace setters, local banks. The banks donated $5,000 to the 10k Challenge and are encouraging community members to donate the other $5,000.

Photo by Darian Warden

This year's United Way campaign is off and running, thanks to this year's campaign pace setters, local banks. The banks donated $5,000 to the 10k Challenge and are encouraging community members to donate the other $5,000.

United Way Campaign under way

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The lifeblood of a community is its people.

As the United Way campaign gets underway this year, volunteers will be visiting workplaces and urging members of the Craig community to give to maintain the services offered in community.

Having kicked off September 17, the campaign runs through November 16.

Corrie Ponikvar, executive director for the Moffat County United Way, said this year’s goal is to raise $490,000, the same as last year.

“We were a little shy of our goal last year,” Ponikvar said. “Based on the economy, the board felt like we would leave the goal there. It’s more of an internal benchmark. The needs are there. Every year there’s more and more need.”

This year’s pace setters for the campaign are four local banks. Ponikvar said they have contributed $12,000 to the campaign, and have put up $5,000 as part of the 10k Community Challenge.

By donating the $5,000, the banks have challenged the community to donate the other five.

Ponikvar said she would be visiting other major workplaces in the community and asking people to contribute to the program.

Donors can decide how much they would like to donate for the year, and then split that amount up to come out a little at a time every paycheck. Ponikvar said most companies’ match their employees’ contributions dollar for dollar. Except for government entities.

“We’re just the vehicle. We’re the only non-profit that gets to come into the workplace and talk to the employees about all the opportunities you have to support and how,” Ponikvar said.

Ponikvar said she understands people’s hesitation to donate.

“It’s still money. It’s a personal thing for people, and they work really hard for it. So we appreciate if someone gives $1 or $50,” Ponikvar said. “People can give however they want.”

Ponikvar said the campaign averages about 1,200 givers a year, and said all contributions, no matter how small, add up to a great deal at the end of the year.

Donors may designate what organizations they would like their donations to go to, or they may leave their contributions as undesignated.

Agencies may apply to United Way for financial assistance ranging from $5,000 to $60,000 in grants.

Ponikvar said the funds go to almost any community group imaginable.

“We’re really hoping to make our goal this year because requests always go well over $400,000 and we’re only able to fund around $300,000 to agencies that apply,” Ponikvar said. The rest of funds raised are donor designated and go where donors have chosen.

Ponikvar said they have online donating this year too. People can visit www.unitedwaymoffat.org to donate.

Ponikvar said if someone can’t afford to support United Way financially, they can always volunteer.

“Our little town offers a lot of great services,” Ponikvar said. “It warms my heart to think our little community will provide services that you can’t always get in a large metro area.”

Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or dwarden@craigdailypress.com

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