Consolidation will help United Way branches

By Rick Hauptmann: Guest columnist

Last Thursday evening, I had the privilege of attending the Roosevelt County United Way (RCUW) kickoff dinner/dessert auction. It was a pretty well attended and lively event, during which we were provided with important information about the United Way by UW President Rusty Galloway and his fellow board members.
The desserts were sold by local auctioneer Clint Walker, whose full-speed calling resulted in spirited bidding for the 18 or so desserts that had been contributed by a variety of folks.
When all is said and done, it looks like the evening should result in about a $3,600 jump-start to the local campaign.
While this is a good beginning, it isn’t much compared to the campaign goal to raise $60,000. I urge everyone to step up when a United Way representative visits your place of employment, or when you get a letter requesting a contribution, and contribute your fair share.
The United Way and the agencies it supports are important to our community, and the campaign is deserving of your support.
Aside from the current campaign, the biggest news about the United Way is the decision by the RCUW and Curry County United Way (CCUW) boards to join forces and do their good work as a combined agency. This is a decision that I agreed to when I formerly served on the RCUW board, and one that will provide significant long-term benefits for all the citizens of both counties.
The RCUW currently serves 12 agencies: Community Services Center, Roosevelt County Literacy Council, Habitat for Humanity, the Red Cross, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the Lifesaver Food Bank, the Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence, the Ministerial Alliance, Meals on Wheels, the Big Brothers-Big Sisters program, and the Court Appointed Special Advocate program. Eight of these agencies are also served by the CCUW.
As everyone reading this is aware, there is a certain amount of rivalry between the communities of Portales and Clovis. Over the years, there have been some things done in both communities that have really upset and/or offended members of the other community.
There is, unfortunately, some grumbling going on right now in Portales that the combination of the two United Way organizations is some sort of plot to move money from Roosevelt County to Curry County.
Don’t you believe this for one minute!
The two boards are meeting jointly now, but will be combined in 2005. The campaigns for this year and next will be run separately, and no decision has been made to combine the actual campaigns and distribution of the money in the future. The primary benefit to Roosevelt County will be having someone (the staff of the combined organizations) to handle the administrative and planning aspects of the campaign.
The board members will still be primarily responsible for actually raising the money, and for determining how it will be distributed. The eight agencies that are served by both United Way organizations have already decided, long ago, to serve the needs of their constituents no matter where they are located in the high plains area.
It is time for the United Ways to come to this same conclusion and work with their agencies in a logical manner. United Way agencies across the country are combining their operations for the same reasons as stated here, and it is right that we should do so as well.
As time goes by, the new organization will allow for a stronger campaign effort, and more and more money will be raised to serve the needs of our citizens wherever they are located.
And Roosevelt County will get at least its fair share.

Rick Hauptmann is past president of Roosevelt County United Way. Contact him at:
rhauptmann@yucca.net