United Way kicks off its big campaign in Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

United Way kicks off its big campaign in Craig

Bear Steadman

This year, United Way is aiming to be more "impact specific" as it does its yearly fundraising campaign for local nonprofit organizations.

"We are the community fundraiser," said Corrie Ponikvar, executive director of Moffat County United Way. "We are the tool for residents to be able to invest back into their community."

United Way kicked off its campaign Sept. 16 with Tri-State being the biggest contributor of $65,800 so far, yet United Way's goal is to reach $475,000 in donations this year.

United Way representatives will be going to several different businesses such as Trapper Mine and Twentymile to give presentations to employees on how they can give back to the community by simply donating $5 to $10 from each paycheck to United Way.

United Way gives donors the opportunity to choose what organizations their money will go to. If a donor wants to support something such as kids soccer or a Young Life group, they can specify on the form they fill out and that money will go directly to those "Donor Designated" groups.

"We are very mindful of how that money is spent. It's an investment people make and they want to make sure their donations are impactful and are making a difference in the community, and we help them do that," Ponikvar said.

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Applications for funding will be available to nonprofit agencies starting in November. Upon turning in applications, the United Way committee will review and interview the agencies in February and then will make decisions based on the amount of money it has to spend and the level of funding it will give each agency. Then it will have a full board meeting in April to vote and make final decisions on who receives funding.

Agencies that require larger amounts of funding such as the Community Budget Center or the Boys & Girls Club are recognized as "Member Agencies" and are required by United Way to report back to them on where the money went and how the money is benefiting the program or the community. This is to ensure that the money donated is making a meaningful impact on the community.

United Way also is working on a community impact project called Bridges Out of Poverty. In this program, United Way will be offering classes to people in poverty who want to change their lives and get out of poverty.

"We can give them the tools to help them make that change in their life," Ponikvar said. The Bridge Out of Poverty classes will begin in spring 2014.

Bear Steadman is working as an intern for the Saturday Morning Press.