United Way: Collections down, but participation up

United Way of Mesa County fell short of its latest fund-raising goal, but still collected more than $1 million and involved more employees in workplace campaigns in the process.

United Way announced at its 2010-2011 campaign celebration on Feb. 24 that it had raised $1,081,035. That total is about 90 percent of the $1.2 million goal and also about 2 percent less than what was raised at this point in the campaign last year.

The 2010-2011 campaign will remain open through the end of March to continue to collect funds that in turn will be allocated to health and human service programs in Mesa County. More than 60 programs have applied for funding.

At the same time, employee participation in workplace fund-raising campaigns increased 6 percent this year. Workplace campaigns raise 80 percent to 85 percent of annual funding for United Way.

“It is a huge success to see that 6 percent more people gave through the workplace this year. This shows that our community wants to give and help those in need locally, and they gave whatever they could,” said Debe Colby, who along with Mike Stahl served as chairwoman and chairman of the campaign.

In addition to announcing fund-raising results, United Way presented seven awards to participating businesses, individuals and organizations in the campaign:

RE/MAX 4000 received the Edison Award for innovative campaign techniques.

Whitney Smythe-Smith of Bank of the West received the Raul Ramos Memorial Award as an employee campaign coordinator who demonstrated exemplary leadership.

The City of Fruita received the Leaps and Bounds Awards for the greatest increase in its workplace campaign — 180 percent over last year.

The Grand Junction Police Department and Mesa County Sheriff’s Office received the Challenge Award in recognition of their dueling yard sale fund-raisers.

Kohl’s received the Maverick Award for the first-time workplace campaign with the greatest success.

Dalby, Wendland & Co. received the Trail Blazer Award for setting an example for its industry in its involvement in the United Way campaign.

U.S. Bank received the Spirit of Giving Award, which recognizes a company that exemplifies the spirit of United Way in its philanthropic and community support.

United Way also presented the Salvation Army with the Mary J. Nelson Inspirational Award, which goes to a United Way funded agency that demonstrates community leadership and a high standard of service to clients.