United Way gives nearly $1 million to member agencies

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By Carol A. Clark

Nearly $1 million in United Way of Northern New Mexico designations and allocations went to its member agencies this year from the 2009 campaign that ended Dec. 31.

“We really appreciate the generosity of the community, Los Alamos National Laboratory employees and the Los Alamos National Security (LANS) dollar for dollar match,” said United Way Executive Director Donna Schroeder in an interview this morning. “We are so grateful to all of these selfless donors who make it possible for us to continue to fund our member agencies. Our member agencies provide so many important services to people in need in Los Alamos and Rio Arriba counties.”

Campaign Chair Ralph Damiani said it was great to see so much money going to the local agencies but that the need remains great.

“As we start the 2010 campaign we hope to focus more on the community aspect of the donations and we hope that we can see an even larger portion of the donations stay right here in our region,” he said.

In 1953, Lew Allbee, chairman of the local Kiwanis Community Affairs Committee, invited a speaker from the national Chest organization to talk to representatives of clubs and organizations in Los Alamos.

Shortly afterwards, an open planning meeting was held at the little theatre of the high school giving birth to the Los Alamos Community Chest Inc.

The first meeting of the Board of Trustees was held in April 1954.

In October 1954, the first fund drive was held successfully.

Following several name changes, the organization’s name was changed to United Way of Northern New Mexico, serving Los Alamos and Rio Arriba Counties in 2005.

In recent years, United Way has had very successful campaigns, increasing dollars raised from $535,000 in 1990 to $1,602,000 in 2006.

United Way currently provides funding to 18 health and human service organizations.

Agencies that received funding from the 2009 campaign include:

• American Red Cross Los Alamos/Rio Arriba – $51,611.

• Amigos del Valle – $65,000.

• Casa Mesita Group Home – $42,500.

• The Crisis Center of Northern New Mexico – $50,000.

• The Family Learning Center – $78,000.

• Family Strengths Network – $42,000.

• Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails – $21,009.

• Great Southwest Council of Boy Scouts – $40,000.

• Habitat for Humanity Española/Los Alamos – $64,128.

• Las Clinicas del Norte – $85,000.

• Las Cumbres Community Services – $102,000.

• Los Alamos Civil Defense Search and Rescue – $11,109.

• Los Alamos Council on Cancer – $8,063.

• Los Alamos Family Council, Inc. – $120,000.

• Los Alamos Heart Council $14,055.

• Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service – $56,956.

• Self Help Inc. –  $80,000.

• The Family YMCA – $58,000.

For information about United Way of Northern New Mexico, contact the United Way office at 662-0800.

Contact Carol A. Clark at lanews@lamonitor.com or (595) 662-4185 ext. 25. Read her newsblog at www.newsextras.wordpress.com.