The nonprofit that helps serve over 85,000 people from El Paso and Teller counties is trying to raise $3.9 million this year with a call to action for donors to help support community programs.
The Pikes Peak United Way’s 2019 Workplace Campaign is largely focused on employee fundraising to bolster four primary programs: a community investment fund, the 2-1-1 help line, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and Colorado Springs Promise. Each program focuses on improving lives through youth success and family stability, the nonprofit says.
“The employee giving campaign is one of our biggest ways of fundraising in the community,” said Josh Gates, director of community impact for United Way. “We go out to over 250 employers each year … it’s really a communitywide way of raising funds to address education and health and our community.”
This year, the goal is just under last year’s goal of $4 million. Funds are raised through events, volunteerism and the organization’s partners, including The Anschutz Foundation, El Pomar Foundation, Rampart Supply and Wells Fargo.
But philanthropy doesn’t just apply to companies. Anyone can donate however they want to, said United Way CEO Cindy Aubrey. The theme of this year’s fundraising is “Stronger Together,” a testament nod to the hundreds of people who chip in.
“We’ve developed some shared outcomes,” said Deana Hunt, senior vice president of community impact. “As well as the shared measurements that all of our partner agencies report to so that we are able to better tell the community what we’re working on, and what the money that they invest through that community, or that those corporate campaigns are doing.”
As a city grappling with skyrocketing housing prices and a lack of mental health care resources, Colorado Springs has especially benefited from the organization’s 2-1-1 line, organizers said. The free call center has trained specialists who assist with a plethora of resources regarding food, housing, utilities, mental health and more.
Thanks to 2-1-1, more than 36,000 people from 12 Colorado counties have been connected with the right resources, according to the charity.
Nationally, the number of individual donations has decreased by 3.4% while donations from corporations have increased by 5.4%, the 2018 Giving USA report shows.
Experts say the overall climate in the nonprofit sector remains uncertain, largely in part because of 2017 tax regulations that stunted benefits of charitable deductions.
“It’s always a dynamic environment for nonprofits,” said Renny Fagan, CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association. “They know how to adapt to changing conditions in the community. Certainly in a good economic time, people and donors have more money to give to nonprofits but that doesn’t mean that the needs (of the nonprofits) go away.”
While the nation’s nonprofits might remain in fundraising limbo, uncertainty hasn’t dampened spirits, or donations, at United Way.
“We have great discussions with a lot of our partner agencies,” Aubrey said. “ … We align ourselves with the nonprofits in the community who are aiming for those same goals. And that will only continue and get stronger.”