By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico
One quarters into its campaign, the United Way of Eastern New Mexico’s fundraising is outperforming last year.
At $341,014 for Curry and Roosevelt counties, donations are already about $100,000 above what it was this time last year, according to Executive Director Erinn Burch.
The campaign, which kicked off in September, is scheduled to end Jan. 21, she said.
With several large entities remaining, Burch said it is hopeful the campaign will surpass last year’s, which was lower than the previous year.
“We’re wrapping it up. We’re really excited,” she said.
“It feels really good to be where we’re at this point in the game.”
Burch said people seem to be a bit more at ease economically this year, which is probably contributing to the positive numbers, but it’s not completely turned around.
“Things are good in some places and things are kind of wobbly in other places,” she said.
“But there are parts of our (economy that are still strained). The ag sector is going to take a while to bounce back so it’s hard to say … We are used to (the school systems) growing every year but with the state of the state, they are preparing for the next round of cuts. That loss of security, it really affects how they see everything.”
As of Monday, Curry County had donated $276,106 and Roosevelt County $64,908.
Last year’s campaign ended with $514,694 raised in Curry and Roosevelt counties — 87 percent of the community wide goal of $580,000, and about $15,000 less than the 2008 campaign raised.
Burch said about three-quarters of contributions come through employees of companies and large employers.
Dianne Nance spearheaded the campaign within Curry County, which employs about 170 personnel.
Nance said the county raised more money this year than ever before with a combined contribution of $5,307.
“We had some great people with great big hearts,” she said, explaining she met one-on-one with people and held meetings in each department to talk about what United Way does in the community and where their money would be used.
“I had fun this year and I got to meet a lot of the employees I hadn’t met before. It was just great.”
Burch said a new complement to the campaign this year is “50 Ways in 50 Days,” an information campaign to let people know about organizations in the community and needs that they have.
Highlighting organizations such as the Hartley House, food bank and others, Burch said the goal is to let people know how and where they can donate, volunteer or support.
United Way, an umbrella organization, can help any 501-3C non-profit group, as long as they ask and the local board deems their cause worthy.
In 2009, 17 organizations were funded through the local United Way.