Community Spotlight: United Way of Eagle River Valley | VailDaily.com

Community Spotlight: United Way of Eagle River Valley

Daily staff report
newsroom@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado

Organization Name: United Way of Eagle River Valley

Director/President: Gretchen Babcock, director, and Tracey Tutag, board president

Location: Gretchen’s House! Mailing address is P.O. Box 1833, Eagle, CO 81631

Phone Number: 970-926-1856

Web Address: http://www.unitedwayeagle.org

Years in Business: 12

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What is the organization’s mission and who benefits from its work?

Everyone has heard of The United Way, but not everyone knows that we have a United Way right here in Eagle County.

We raise funds under the nationally recognized brand and grant those monies to a wide range of nonprofits in the valley. Our focus is to support Eagle County residents in the much needed areas of education, health care, affordable living and cultural integration. We have given $1.4 million to local agencies in the past 12 years.

We just finished our annual grant cycle and donated $93,500 (up from $75,000 last year!) to about 25 agencies. We were able to grant money to everyone who asked this year. We only fund program-specific grant requests and ask for a review at the end of the year.

Our philosophy is to spread our grant money to as many sources as possible. Even a small amount of money allows these agencies to continue providing valuable programs for our community. Often a grant from The United Way will help an agency secure other funds. Our grant process also allows us to connect agencies with similar goals and we encourage collaboration. One single donation to The United Way is a powerful way to reach many in our small valley.

All of the money raised in Eagle County stays in Eagle County. A complete list of the agencies we support is on our website at http://www.unitedwayeagle.org.

Where does your funding come from?

We seek funding from multiple sources, including individual donors, corporate donations and grants, employer campaign drives and a few small events.

Our annual campaign drive in the fall consists of direct mail, e-mail and employee presentations.

How many staff members work for you?

The director is the only staff member and that position is part-time. We use freelance services for bookkeeping and accounting. The board of directors is all-volunteer and we have several corporate sponsors that help us with our marketing costs.

Anything else you’d like the community to know about the organization?

The United Way has a proven track record of helping people in need, and this coming year more people from our community will be in need. We operate with very low administrative costs (85 to 88 cents of every dollar goes directly to agency programs) and therefore can optimize fund allocation.

The board of directors has a rigorous approval process for grant requests that ensures we are funding successful programs and serving as many people as possible. One donation to the United Way can be distributed to multiple areas of need.