Making every penny count

Mike Linn

With members of the Curry County United Way hoping to raise at least 9 percent above last year’s sum, this year’s success may depend on donations as small as a penny — literally.

To help meet a $392,500 goal, Clovis schools Superintendent Neil Nuttall is spearheading a friendly competition among teachers and students at Clovis schools to donate loose change.

“We’ve always looked for a way our students can participate, because our staff participates at a very high level,” Nuttall said. “We’ll probably get some financial benefit out of it for the United Way, but more importantly we’re getting them tuned into what the United Way is …”

Nuttall and about 80 supporters of the United Way met for lunch Wednesday at the Chaparral Country Club to kick off this year’s fund-raising season.

The local United Way has enjoyed 10 and 13 percent increases in donations the last two years, and there is no reason why this year’s goal won’t be met, said Erinn Burch, executive director for the Curry County United Way.

“Nine percent I think is very doable. There’s so much growth in Clovis. We’re reaching out to new businesses and new individuals in the community,” Burch said.

Representatives from 20 organizations and businesses considered pacesetters — those that raise more than $1,000 for the United Way each year — said their entities are hoping to increase their donations this year.

Among the pacesetters are Clovis public schools, which combined for $42,000 in donations last year. This year, Nuttall set a goal to raise $45,500, pennies included.

The classroom that raises the most money for United Way in the lower grade levels at each school will earn a prize. At the high school and junior high schools, each grade level of students will compete against each other for a prize.

Thanks to Corporate Cornerstone Companies that fund the administrative costs of United Way, 100 percent of other gifts go to help the community, according to a brochure from the local United Way.

Anyone interested in donating to the United Way chapter can call the local branch at 769-2103.

BREAKOUT:
2004 $392,500 (goal)
2003 $356,952
2002 $315,921
2001 $300,450
2000 $362,940 (includes $100,000 raised in the final year of the El Cid auction).

BREAKOUT 2: In 2004, United Way Donors are supporting the efforts of the following local agencies:
1. American Red Cross
2. Salvation Army
3. Boy Scouts
4. Girl Scouts
5. Family and Children Court Services
6. Family Services at Cannon Air Force Base
7. Friends of Cannon Families
8. Habitat for Humanity
9. Oasis Child Advocacy Center
10. Hartley House
11. Life Saver Food Bank
12. Single Parents in Need
13. Crisis Referral Hotline
14. Clovis Meals on Wheels
15. Big Brothers-Big Sisters