Saturday’s community yard sale benefits United Way |

Saturday’s community yard sale benefits United Way

Kay Vasilakis
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

United Way is a national network of more than 1,300 locally governed organizations that work to create lasting positive changes in communities and people’s lives. The organization engages communities to identify the underlying causes of the most significant local issues, develops strategies and pulls together financial and human resources. Local United Ways tackle issues based on local needs, but common focus areas include helping children and youth succeed, improving access to health care, promoting self-sufficiency, and strengthening families.

United Way of Garfield County pays a small fee to United Way of America for membership, allowing the organization to be part of the network of United Ways across America that sends contributions to Garfield County from non-Colorado-based businesses and employees.

United Way of Garfield County is a nonprofit organization recognized by the federal government and state of Colorado. One hundred percent of local contributions stay in the county to help agencies and support United Way programming. United Way’s current tax form is available on the Secretary of State’s website or by calling 625-8189.

The declining economy has had a huge impact on United Way of Garfield County agencies, who are serving many more people with less resources. LIFT-UP is 200 percent above average in demand, the Salvation Army is serving four times more people this year than last and the busy winter hasn’t begun. United Way agencies are also seeing a different type of consumer – many more professionals and business people who have never had to ask for help before. Michaela Folsom, United Way executive director, estimates this will probably be the busiest winter season for its agencies since the1980s.

Every year United Way reviews grant requests from 20 to 30 agencies, depending upon the submitted applications. In 2009, United Way added a few new agencies that it had never funded before, and it expects many more applications to be submitted in 2010.

Contributions raised in the fall campaign are distributed the following year. In early spring, a volunteer group of local citizens will review agency requests and determine the level of support to each agency. Information will be disseminated to the public through local media outlets.

You can help United Way make a difference. The Community Yard Sale and Fall Campaign Kick Off Event will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, at Community Banks of Colorado, 1810 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs.

“Community Banks of Colorado has once again put together a community yard sale that will benefit United Way of Garfield County,” said Folsom. “This event is the United Way kickoff for our fall campaign and is exactly the kind of ingenuity and generosity that allows United Way to support local nonprofit agencies. Our mission is to help ordinary people to make an extraordinary difference. And this yard sale is doing just that. A simple yard sale with donated items will not only raise money, but awareness about United Way’s agencies without no overhead cost, which means all of the proceeds will go to United Way. And the great part is that everyone can participate by either donating or buying items.

“The yard sale is a fantastic event, not because there will be entertainment or wine tasting, but because the cost to United Way and Community Banks to host this event is zero. Every penny of every dollar goes directly to United Way. This event engages the community by allowing people to donate or to buy items without a lot of overhead, which is what we believe is important to the community. Stop by and make an extraordinary difference.”

For more information about the event, please call Michele Diamond at Community Banks at 945-7035.

United Way follows up to make sure agencies use the funding in the ways reported, so contributors will have confidence their donations have an impact.

United Way of Garfield County agencies include Advocate Safehouse, Alpine Legal Services, Boy Scouts of America Western Colorado Council, Catholic Charities, Colorado Mountain College, Columbine Home Health, Childhelp River Bridge Center, Family Visitor Programs, Fatherhood Initiative, Garfield County school districts, Girl Scouts of Colorado, Head Start, Kids First, LIFT-UP, Literacy Outreach, Mountain Regional Housing, Mountain Valley Developmental Services, Mountain Family Health, Planned Parenthood, Roaring Fork Family Resources, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Sopris Therapy Services, The Salvation Army and YouthZone.

And on a very positive final note, give United Way of Garfield County a pat on the back for developing an innovative program that keeps products out of the landfill and into local nonprofit offices to reduce overhead costs. For five years, United Way has partnered with local Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and Office Depot businesses in the ROAR (Return, Overstock and Return) program to recycle returned items including cleaning products, small appliances and supplies for programs to 18 nonprofit agencies.

Kay Vasilakis’ “Nonprofit Spotlight” column runs every other Wednesday in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. She is an active member of the Garfield County Human Services Commission. To contact her with a local nonprofit event or inspiration, call 618-6689 or e-mail

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