United Way focusing on outreach

CNJ staff

The United Way of Eastern New Mexico is in campaign mode.

The charitable organization that aids non-profits throughout Curry and Roosevelt counties kicked off its fundraising campaign last month, but in the last week has done 10 presentations to area groups with another five scheduled for Wednesday.

“We are in it,” Executive Director Erinn Burch said of the 2010 fundraising campaign.

The focus for the next few months, Burch said, is outreach and explaining how the money is used in each county.

“This year, we haven’t set a (fundraising) goal, meaning some number we’re going to hit or miss,” Burch said. “Personally, the last couple of years have been tough and the economy has been tough.”

Last year’s campaign ended with $514,694 raised in Curry and Roosevelt counties — 87 percent of the communitywide goal of $580,000, and about $15,000 less than the 2008 campaign raised.

Burch said she doesn’t want the focus to be an arbitrary number, particularly when she sees more than $1 million could be used by area non-profits.

“The nice thing about not having some number out there is we’re hitting for the fences every time. We want everybody to give to their potential. We want people to give to their full generosity.”

The organization has three full-time employees, along with two volunteers and a part-time employee through a workstudy program at Eastern New Mexico University. Those six, plus the 22-member board and estimated 15 campaign volunteers work their communities to find individuals and businesses to donate.

Donations are needed before January, so the organization can start grant applications and start distributing the money — a task done through a 50-member board.

Information: 769-2103.