News Column

Cheyenne Businesses Give Boost to United Way

Nov. 28, 2012

James Chilton

As the local United Way fundraising drive draws to a close for 2012, five businesses are offering an incentive for residents to do just a little more.

Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, HollyFrontier, Cameco Resources, Spradley Barr Toyota and Noble Energy have come together to offer $50,000 in matching funds for this year's campaign.

"They're challenging the community to match that dollar for dollar," local United Way executive director Connie Sloan-Cathcart said at a news conference Tuesday at CRMC.

"Let's not leave that money on the table. That way we can put a strong end to our campaign this year."

Sloan-Cathcart said this year's Laramie County campaign totals have been running closely with last year's. She added that the matching funds are meant to give the campaign a final boost before it ends on Dec. 31.

Last year's campaign brought in more than $1.2 million. Those are used to help fund 26 nonprofit organizations.

"Our goal is to meet the needs of the community," Sloan-Cathcart said.

She added that this year's target is $300,000 more than was raised last year.

Campaign co-chair Tim Joannides of Halladay Motors said this is the third year businesses have come together to offer an added incentive. He said the community never has failed to fulfill the match.

"In the last few years, we've actually raised more than that," he added

Joannides said that when he signed on as co-chair three years ago, he hadn't initially understood just how many people benefit from United Way agencies.

Each year more than a quarter of county residents get aid in some way from agencies like the Boys and Girls Club, Cheyenne Health & Wellness, the COMEA Shelter and Needs Inc. There are 26 in all.

"It has been very rewarding," Joannides said. "I never quite realized the need was that great in Laramie County. There were actually over 25,000 people that were touched by the United Way last year here. That's a big hunk of our community."

Several of those agencies were represented at the gathering, including Judy Johnston. She is the executive director of the Southeast Wyoming Foster Grandparents Program.

Her nonprofit trains seniors and pairs them with neglected, emotionally troubled or physically disabled children in schools, hospitals, day cares and other agencies.

Although the United Way funding only provides a fraction of her program's budget, Johnston said it is nonetheless crucial to her overall operation.

It allows her staff to focus on day-to-day concerns rather than fundraising efforts.

To donate:

From now through Dec. 31, five local businesses have agreed to match up to $50,000 in individual donations to the United Way of Laramie County.

Supporters can donate in several ways. Many local employers maintain their own programs through which employees can opt to have a portion of their pay automatically donated.

Individual donations also can be made through the United Way by going online to http://www.unitedwayoflaramiecounty.org



Distributed by MCT Information Services



Source: (c) 2012 Wyoming Tribune-Eagle