Making a Difference: Human Resource Council of the United Way makes the most of city, county money | CraigDailyPress.com

Making a Difference: Human Resource Council of the United Way makes the most of city, county money

— The Human Resource Council of the United Way (HRC) brings nonprofits together to facilitate charitable giving of city and county funds.

Moffat County performs better than neighboring counties in connecting people to services as reported in the Craig Daily Press.

This success was repeatedly attributed to the HRC.

"The purpose of the HRC is to provide support funding and information to its members, collaboratively seek financial support, act as a collective voice, coordinate services to avoid duplication and increase awareness regarding community service needs and activities," said Moffat County United Way Executive Director Amanda Arnold.

What is the HRC?

In 2001, Corrie Ponikvar was director of Moffat County United Way, Dave DeRose was the mayor of the city of Craig and Marianna Raftopoulos was a Moffat County commissioner.

All three signed the original memorandum of understanding to create the HRC and it's allocation committee.

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"The city charter would not allow the city to provide support to nonprofits unless they partnered with a government agency," Ponikvar said.

Nevertheless both government entities were regularly hearing requests for funding.

"We got tired of every meeting, someone would come to the city or county with a funding request," DeRose said.

Ponikvar looked to Routt County where a third party facilitates the distribution of city and county dollars to charitable causes.

She felt that model would serve the community.

"It takes the politics out of it," Ponikvar said.

The agreement between city, county and United Way states HRC cannot fund fraternal, religious or political organizations.

It's created efficiencies for city and county.

"We don't have to deal with the constant onslaught. It's a lot more efficient," DeRose said.

Who is the HRC?

HRC involves two groups: A collaborative forum and a committee charged with sharing out government money to good causes.

An open group of representatives from area non-profits and service driven agencies such as the Boys and Girls Club, Human Society of Moffat County, Connections4Kids, Moffat County Social Services, Colorado Northwestern Community College, Northwest Colorado Health and many more.

About 30 to 35 representatives attend quarterly meetings that used to be called the Interagency Meeting, Ponikvar said.

The group appoints one non-profit representative to the HRC Allocations Committee.

The HRC Allocations Committee is a separate, closed group, that includes:

• Three citizens

• The United Way board chair

• A county commissioner, currently vacant after Commissioner Chuck Grobe's departure

• A city council representative, currently Councilman Joe Bird

• Love In the Name of Christ of the Yampa Valley Executive Director Pat Jones, who was reappointed in January as the nonprofit representative.

Each April the committee reviews funding requests and determines allocations by March 15.

This year city and county each contributed $40,000 for a total of fund of $80,000.

How does HRC make a difference?

The collaboration that happens as a result of HRC helps government agencies and non-profits more efficiently use limited resources on behalf of the community.

"It holds nonprofits accountable for spending funds wisely," DeRose said.

Nonprofits save the community money.

"We know that some of the agencies we have funded reduced the costs that would have otherwise been paid by city or county entities such as the police department or county social services," said Ponikvar.

DeRose believes that programs like the Boys & Girls Club of Craig have reduced demands on law enforcement by up to 44 percent compared to years prior to the start of the club.

"The city has always done a good job on trying to help take care of their own and, with HRC money, it helps keep those support agencies functioning. I consider it to be very important," said City Councilman Joe Bird.

Over the years, despite budget ups and downs, HRC funding has remained relatively stable.

"The requests seem to be going up every year. Revenues have capped what we can provide and we have to review it year by year," Bird said.

If the city and county were to eliminate funding for HRC, the program would be missed.

"It has been such an asset for our community," Arnold said. "We are excited it is continuing."

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.