This last year was tough in some respects, but there were also many things to celebrate. Here is my Top 10 list of the best charity moments of the year.
No. 10: I was asked to be a judge at Volunteers of Americas Chocolate Fantasia event and Womens Resource Centers Men Who Grill event. Yum!
No. 9: Bob Overs Nonprofit Management Certificate course, part of the Continuing Education classes at Fort Lewis College, created its first graduate. This person will be announced in early 2012.
No. 8: Taste of the Seasons, a fundraising event for United Way way held at Four Seasons Greenhouse and Nursery, had a record year. The annual holiday event generated almost $19,000 for United Way, the most in its 13-year history.
No. 7: Durangos own Michael Rendon won the Outstanding Advocate Award from the Colorado Organizations for Victims Assistance for his work at Sexual Assault Services Organization.
No. 6: The Durango Wine Experience surprised United Way with a $10,000 donation from the 2011 event. Held each year in late April and early May, this year marked the fifth anniversary of this great local event.
No. 5: Tom Little, longtime DJ on KIQX 101.3 FM, announced his retirement from Durango radio at the end of the 15th annual Radiothon auction for United Way. Little went out with a bang, helping to raise $57,400 for United Way. Little is known as the half-a-million-dollar man at United Way because the Radiothon has raised more than $500,000 for United Way over its 15 years. We miss you, Tom.
No. 4: Colorado Native was the back-to-back winner of the Peoples Choice Award at the 13th annual San Juan Brewfest held in August. Thanks to Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort and CookManFood.com, the Brewfest has become a great fundraising event for United Way.
No. 3: Colorado Gives Day, which was held Dec. 6, raised $12 million for charities across the state in one day.
No. 2: With the support of Qwest and Century Link, United Way partnered with Care and Share Food Bank to create a weekend backpack food program that helped almost 2 00 children have food to eat over the weekend, ensuring they came back to school on Mondays ready to learn.
No. 1: In February, United Way announced beating its fundraising campaign goal of $711,000 by raising $728,000.
United Ways current fundraising drive is under way and there is still time to donate. As of last week, we have raised nearly $500,000, or 66 percent, of our $752,000 goal. We need your help today to reach our goal for local nonprofit organizations that have proved they are making a difference in education, self-reliance and health. Visit our website at www.unitedway-swco.org and click Give to make your gift today.
All donations to United Way are tax deductible. For those mailing a gift, the envelope must be postmarked by Dec. 31 to qualify for a tax write off on your 2011 taxes. Please consider making your donation today.
Happy New Year to all, and may 2012 bring you much happiness.
Tim Walsworth is president and CEO for United Way and a member of the Durango High Noon Rotary Club.