Workplace campaigns kickstart United Way fund-raising drive

United Way of Mesa County is well on  its way toward its latest goal with more than $466,000 raised through workplace campaigns.

During a kickoff event for its 2010-11 drive, United Way announced that a total of 34 Pacesetter businesses and organizations raised a combined $466,122 in workplace campaigns conducted in August and September. That figure constitutes 39 percent of the overall goal of raising $1.2 million during the drive.

United Way raised its goal 9 percent to help offset the funding cuts many local nonprofit organizations have experienced in the aftermath of a recession.

“We are so grateful to the Pacesetter companies and agencies that worked so hard to carry the message of the importance of United Way to their employees,” said Debe Colby, a community volunteer who serves as co-chair of the latest campaign.

“Workplace campaigns are the heart of the United Way’s annual fall campaign. This response is evidence of the everyday employee understanding of the great need in our community and a willingness to share,” Colby said.

Mike Stahl, chief executive officer of Hilltop Community Resources and the other co-chair of the drive, agreed. “With this excellent start, the rest of the community should be energized and challenged to help us continue the momentum towards our $1.2 million goal.

We especially invite other businesses that have not conducted employee United Way campaigns to call the United Way office and find out how easy it can be to get on board.”

A total of 20 businesses and 14 nonprofit and government agencies participated in Pacesetter campaigns. Other early donations were received from the Union Pacific Foundation, a Williams Energy golf tournament and individual pledges.

Over the past 50 years, United Way of Mesa County has raised more than $22 million for health and human services programs in the county. All contributions stay in Mesa County and are allocated by local panels that review grant applications.