Moffat County United Way holds lifeline for local nonprofits |

Moffat County United Way holds lifeline for local nonprofits

Noelle Leavitt Riley
Corrie Ponikvar, left, is excited to pass the torch as executive director of Moffat County United Way to Amanda Arnold, who has worked as the community impact coordinator for Bridges Out of Poverty. The two have much respect for each other, and they work extremely well as a team. Arnold is excited to build on all the wonderful things that Ponikvar has done for United Way.
Noelle Leavitt Riley

Moffat County United Way is the thread to funding, support and communication for our local nonprofits.

It’s hard to quantify exactly how much United Way means to the community, as it supports a plethora of nonprofits and works extremely hard on community impact programs such as Bridges out of Poverty.

Other impact programs include finding better transportation options for Craig and figuring out how to get parents engaged and involved in the lives of their children.

Moffat County United Way is currently going through big changes as Corrie Ponikvar passes the torch of the executive director position to Amanda Arnold.

Ponikvar has run the organization for nearly 18 years, giving Arnold big shoes to fill. Yet the two women have a fabulous working relationship, and Ponikvar couldn’t be more pleased that the board hired Arnold to take her place.

“I think she’s going to do a great job,” Ponikvar said with tears in her eyes. “She has the passion, she has the dedication and she has the work ethic.”

Although Ponkivar has acted as the executive director for the last 18 years, she’s actually worked with United Way for more than 25 years in various roles, including being on the board.

Moffat County United Way currently has 18 board members who are in charge of the organization. The board must approve any changes to the local United Way.

The county’s local United Way is a part of the international United Way organization.

“United Way Worldwide is a leadership and support organization for the network of nearly 1,800 community-based United Ways in 41 countries and territories. We envision a world where all individuals and families achieve their human potential through education, income stability and healthy lives,” according to the organization’s website.

Essentially, Moffat County United Way lives up to the international organization’s mission by helping fund nonprofits and by improving the lives of those with hardships in the community.

The local United Way raises money for nonprofits each year and then properly allocates the funds to its members agencies. Basically, any nonprofit that seeks funds raised through Moffat County United Way must apply to receive money.

Additionally, some nonprofits receive money through donor designations only, meaning any person or business that gives money to United Way and wants to designate the funds to a specific nonprofit has that option.

In 2014, Moffat County United Way raised $420,000 to allocate to nonprofits in the community, and in 2013 it raised $430,000.

Perhaps what’s even more impressive is the total amount that has been raised during Ponikvar’s tenure as executive director.

In total, she’s helped raise $4,828,946 for nonprofits in the community.

The money raised through the Moffat County United Way campaign drive each year is not the only source of funding for the organization. In 2014, the Human Resource Council in Moffat County gave the local United Way $80,000. Those funds are generated from the city and county to help fund local nonprofits.

“Specifically, we are the anchor for all the nonprofits in our community,” Ponikvar said. “By being the anchor, we not only provide funding, but we provide other supports as well.”

Arnold left her position as the community impact coordinator for Bridges Out of Poverty to take Ponikvar’s place. The board hired Aspen Matthews to replace Arnold.

Bridges Out of Poverty is a branch of United Way that helps low-income individuals and families get out of poverty. Arnold was so successful in that role that the national Bridges Out of Poverty asked her to be on the board. It’s a position that she’ll keep as she takes over as executive director of Moffat County United Way.

Arnold’s roots in the community are much deeper than what she’s done with local nonprofits. She’s a Craig native, and her husband, Daniel, is from Meeker.

The couple has tons of family in both communities, and they care deeply about Northwest Colorado. They have two kids, Kaylee, 7, and Kyler, 8. Since their kids were born, Arnold has worked part-time for Connections for Kids and for Bridges Out of Poverty.

But, her kids are now in school all day, giving her time to dive into her new, full-time position at United Way. For the last month, Ponkivar has been showing her the ropes.

“She has so much to offer,” Arnold said. “I’ve learned a lot from Corrie. I just feel so lucky to have her as a mentor.”

Reach Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or Follow her on Twitter @noelleleavitt.

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