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United Way of Garfield County encouraging residents to donate more this year

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The United Way of Garfield County knows firsthand the impacts the economy is having on local nonprofits this year.

That’s why the organization is doing all it can to help out those struggling agencies like the Advocate Safehouse Project, by getting the word out to the community that during tough economic times it’s more important to donate to local charities.

“We would like to bring United Way to people’s attention a little bit more this year,” said United Way of Garfield County Board Chair Donna Gray.



The United Way of Garfield County provides funds to more than 20 local agencies such as Catholic Charities, Advocate Safehouse Project, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts among others.

Gray said that all of the agencies to which the United Way distributes funds have expressed concerns of increasing needs over the past year, while donations have dropped significantly.



Julie Olson, executive director for Advocate Safehouse, said that despite a very loyal and giving community of donors, the local nonprofit is facing a deficit going into 2010 because of an increase in services.

“We saw a 10 percent decrease in budget for 2009, and about a 15 percent increase in people,” Olson said.

She added that Garfield County will decrease the funding for Advocate Safehouse by 30 percent for 2010. That alone will leave a huge void that needs to be filled. And they will be looking to organizations like the United Way to fill that funding void, as they have in the past.

“If we could get additional funding over what we have received in the past, that would be absolutely huge,” Olson said.

However, the United Way has also seen a drop in contributions within Garfield County over the past few years. So, the challenge is up to the United Way to convince people to donate during these uncertain economic times.

“We’ve all been affected by the economy. Some of us luckily have been able to keep our jobs and are probably doing better than a lot of our neighbors are,” Gray said. “We need people’s help now more than ever.”

Gray said that even the smallest donations can have the biggest impact.

The United Way collects donations through one-time gifts or through its payroll deduction program, in which several participating businesses deduct a specified amount from employees’ paychecks. Those deductions can be as much or as little as the employee wants to donate and is often matched by the business.

It’s a simple and effective way for people to give.

“If you’ve never given before, even a small donation can make a huge difference,” Gray said. “That is where the employee payroll deduction can work out really well, even if you only donate a dollar or five dollars a week.”

Those interested in donating, or for more information on the United Way of Garfield County, visit its website at http://www.unitedwayofgarfieldcounty.org. People can also inquire at their respective business to see if it is a participant in the payroll deduction program.

jgardner@postindependent.com


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