Our View: The rewards of giving | SteamboatToday.com

Our View: The rewards of giving

The Routt County United Way kicked off its 2006 campaign last week with a goal of raising $550,000, up from the record $530,000 raised in 2005.

The goal is ambitious – an average of $27.50 from every person in Routt County. But it is realistic, given the genuine way the people and businesses of Routt County have responded in the past. We believe there isn’t a better way to help our community than donating to United Way, and we urge everyone to consider giving generously.

Eighty percent of every dollar given to United Way goes directly to more than 40 agencies in the county, each of which depends heavily on those funds. Those agencies address nearly every health and human service function imaginable in the Yampa Valley.

When you give to the United Way, you’re giving to the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition, the South Routt Community Center, Routt County Habitat for Humanity and The Haven. You’re giving to the Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice. You’re helping provide for 11 early childhood education programs. You’re helping provide care for animals through the Heeling Friends program, and you’re giving money to youth baseball and hockey programs.

“There are very few individuals in Routt County who haven’t been touched by the United Way,” said Bryna Larsen, this year’s campaign chair and a member of the Pilot & Today Editorial Board. “That’s why this program is important, and that’s what makes the financial gifts of our community members so critical.”

Many things can be done with money. But none is more satisfying than giving to a worthwhile cause. And when it comes to giving, nothing is more practical than United Way. United Way allows individuals and businesses to give in varying ways. Donors can earmark contributions to go to specific agencies or allow United Way’s board of directors to direct their funds toward agencies with specific needs. Or donors can request that their individual funds not go to agencies whose missions they disagree with. Donors can write individual checks, or they can give through their companies.

Many local companies match employee contributions to United Way, thus doubling individual investments. Giving to United Way through payroll deduction is one of the simplest and best ways to help. Also, it should be noted that United Way follows strict accountability principles to ensure rigorous auditing and oversight to ensure donors’ funds are used properly and efficiently, and it encourages member agencies to do the same.

There are those who feel pressured to contribute to United Way. Some resent being asked to give some of their hard-earned wages to another cause. Some believe they can make their own giving decisions independent of United Way.

We can sympathize with such arguments. Still, we would encourage individuals to consider the rewards of giving, even in modest amounts, and to look closely at the work of United Way. We would also urge businesses that have not sponsored United Way campaigns to consider doing so.

United Way is a powerful force behind a lot of good that happens in Routt County. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

Donate by sending funds directly to United Way at P.O. Box 774005, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477 or by dropping your donation off at 135 Sixth St. As noted above, many employees can contribute through their employers.

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