Payson is a town with many needs and many resources, but sometimes they don't always get matched up. A case in point are the many nonprofit organizations in Payson that have major needs for capital improvements, staff and other items. Recently, the Humane Society and the Senior Center have made appeals for funding for very real, day-to-day, survival needs, but many others desperately need resources as well.
Each year, we witness a very well-organized fund-raising effort come into Payson, generating over $40,000 from local people and businesses, and allocating the money to organizations outside of Payson. Each year, I admire the ability to raise these funds, but, at the same time, think about what $40,000 could do to help meet some of the very pressing local needs.
All of this leads me to believe that we need some type of organized, annual fund-raising effort to help meet the needs of local nonprofit organizations. In larger cities and towns they call this the United Way. Under the leadership of the United Way, businesses and individuals have the opportunity to pledge an amount over the next year to be collected and allocated to local agencies.
The United Way got its start many years ago under the title of "Red Feather." The primary impetus came from business organizations who were being asked almost daily to contribute to various charities, and felt it would be more efficient to have an annual appeal. Good guidelines are available for determining how charitable dollars should be allocated, and what nonprofit organizations need to do to qualify for funding.
Public funding is a perfectly legitimate source when an organization is performing a function that the town should perform, but chooses not to handle that function under town auspices. But town funding will never be able to meet all the needs of these very worthwhile organizations.
The people of Payson ought to have an opportunity to add their support, and an organized, communitywide effort has proved to be very effective in communities all over the country. Hopefully, some Payson organization will see this as an appropriate activity to sponsor.
Pete Kettner, Payson