GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - With United Way of Mesa County celebrating its 125th birthday in 2013, the local nonprofit had high hopes for this year's fundraising efforts."Our original goal for 2012-13 was $1.25 million in honor of it being the 125th anniversary of United Way across U.S." Development Director Amanda Crysler said. "We're at about 67 percent to that goal right now."Crysler noted that United Way of Mesa County isn't trending positively with its local fundraising efforts so far this year."The campaign is coming in a lot lower than where we were last year," she said, with donations being flat or down. "We're trending $65,000 less than what we raised last year, which would create a dent in local funding."United Way of Mesa County has given a lot to local nonprofits over the years. The community-based organization focuses its efforts on raising money to fund "programs that address community concerns," said its website. Its main focus is on funding human services programs, and it aims to "foster cooperation among community agencies, business and governmental sectors in an effort to encourage a balanced network of services for people in our community."According to Crysler, the local chapter of United Way funded 54 Grand Valley nonprofits in 2012 and brought in $1.1 million through its fundraising efforts.Now, Crysler said she can only hope fundraising efforts will remain flat to last year's take in hopes that money awarded to local nonprofits won't be cut in 2013."Most of our funds come from the workplace campaign, where companies offer (their employees the) benefit of doing payroll deductions," she said, with 83 percent of United Way's local fundraising efforts coming from this. "The rest comes from individuals and companies through corporate donations, and also special events."
One special event coming up is the 11th annual Home Loan Taste of the Grand Valley at Two Rivers Convention Center. It's an indoor food festival, with booths featuring local restaurants, catering businesses and more. The fundraising event is planned for Monday, Feb. 11, from 4-7:30 p.m., and admission for tickets purchased in advance is $13 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $6 for children (4-12). Tickets sold at the door are $2 more."Exhibitors provide samples of their food and/or beverage from their booth, and participants enjoy an evening of tasting and fun, all while supporting United Way of Mesa County," a news release said."Thirty-thousand dollars (has historically) come from this event," Crysler said. "We hope to do it again (this year)."For more information on how to give to United Way of Mesa County, visit www.unitedwaymesacounty.org.