United Way donations up 13 percent

By Glen Seeber

lthough this year’s United Way campaign has come to a close in Clovis and Curry County, that doesn’t mean additional money would be turned down if it was offered.
“We always take money — that’s never a problem,” said Erinn Burch, executive director of the Curry County United Way.
Friday marked the conclusion of the 2003 fund-raising campaign, with a total of $356,952 raised in cash and pledges.
“We are happy with the outcome of the campaign,” she said. “We didn’t meet our goal, but we are ecstatic that we raised 13 percent more than we did last year. That’s a really big jump.”
Last year’s total was about $315,000, she said. This year’s goal was $375,000.
“Our biggest increase came in the workplace campaigns,” she said. Employees whose businesses offer payroll deductions boosted their giving over last year — by 50 percent at the hospital, 15 percent at the schools and between 15 and 20 percent at the city, she said.
“We saw a great increase from the average giver. The working people decided to make a difference,” Burch said.
“I think there is a lot of positive feeling right now in Clovis.”
The increase in giving was not an aberration, she said. “This community is a giving community. … The people answer to the needs around them.”
Derek Cockrell, United Way president, said Saturday, “The agencies always ask for more than the goal. … It’s never enough. No matter what the goal is set at, there are always more people we can help.
“We are always trying to increase our goal.”
He was excited that the amount raised was more than $356,000, since the board had hoped for at least $355,000. “I would have been very surprised if we had not reached that,” he said.
Although the goal was set before the fund-raising campaign, no determination was made how the money would be divided among the 16 participating agencies.
“After we finalize our budget,” Burch said, “the allocations committee will sit down” and determine how much of the money each agency will receive.
Once the committee has settled on a recommendation, the United Way board of directors will meet in January for final approval. At that point, checks will be cut to begin agency funding for the year.
Cockrell said the local United Way supports only local agencies. “Our board determines who we are going to fund.”
Funding for the United Way itself does not come from the money raised during the campaign, Burch said.
This is the second year that Corporate Cornerstone contributors have “relieved donors of the burden of paying for brochures and everything it takes to run a business,” she said.
LCI2 provided more than $10,000, for the Cupola level of contribution, followed by Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s Rotunda contribution of more than $7,500.
Keystone contributors, providing more than $5,000, include Citizen’s Bank of Clovis, Xcel Energy, Plains Regional Medical Center, Bank of Clovis and PNM. Arch contributions of more than $2,500 were provided by the Clovis News Journal and Wells Fargo Bank.
Other contribution levels are Column, donating $1,000 or more, and Pedestal, for more than $700 in donations.
Burch said these are corporate gifts, beyond what employees give as part of the regular campaign.