Booming economy benefits area nonprofits, philanthropies

Jessica  Rodrigo By Jessica Rodrigo

Dec. 13, 2014 at 10:06 p.m.
Updated Dec. 13, 2014 at 11:01 p.m.

The Crossroads has seen a lot of growth in 2014.

New businesses have opened, more hotel rooms are being booked and the newest apartment complexes are accepting tenants. There's no denying growth in the area with the Eagle Ford Shale bustling with activity.

When area businesses do well, it makes sense area nonprofit organizations also bask in the glory.

"If your market is growing, and your business is growing, that gives business like ours the wherewithal to designate more resources to helping those organizations," said Peter Williamson, vice president of business and community relations with Del Papa Distributing.

Del Papa, a longtime Victoria-based business, created a community fund years ago to direct monetary donations to area nonprofits. He said the organization looks to specifically support organizations that have filed as 501(c)3 or nonprofit groups.

Growth in the Victoria area and surrounding counties over the past three or four years has helped the company give more to area groups, including the Bluebonnet Youth Ranch, or other groups that support the community fund's mission statement, which focuses on children's organizations, Williamson said.

"We don't wait until the end of the year either," he said. "These type of donations are done throughout the year for the livestock show to Warriors Weekend to Habitat for Humanity."

A flourishing economy also supports more giving, said Tom Willis, of the Kiwanis Club of Victoria. For those people who may not consider donating regularly might find themselves making charitable contributions because they have extra money.

"Everything is a reflection of the economy being up," Willis said. "If there is more money circulating, (area organizations) get more money. It makes it easier to donate when things are up."

In some cases, he said donations come in forms other than money. It might be volunteer hours, items for silent auctions or other tangibles nonprofits use for fundraising events or daily operation.

The Victoria County United Way executive director, Clifford Grimes, said Crossroads communities have come through in both the best and worst of times.

"People dig deep. They understand the importance of helping others," he said. "We see it in both good and bad economies."

The nonprofit set a goal of $945,000 for the 2014 community campaign. So far, the campaign is right on track to meet its goal. Grimes is confident the organization will be able to meet the goal by year's end. It currently sits at 76 percent, he said on Friday, tallying at $718,353.50.

"That last 24 percent is the hardest to bring in, but we will be working very hard between now and January," he said.

Grimes said individuals tend to donate more when they're working. A low unemployment rate is a good reflection of a good economy.

Pioneer Natural Resources is participating in its first campaign this year, he said, and Devon Energy will announce a big contribution in January.

"When people are working and have a steady job, they're more comfortable paying their bills," Grimes said. "They certainly want to help."

When civic groups, such as the Kiwanis Club of Victoria, are able to collect more money through fundraising events, it goes back to the community, Willis said.

"If there is more money circulating, (area organizations) get more money. It makes it easier to donate when things are up."



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