Clovis groups form charity network

CNJ staff photo: Benna Sayyed Steve Reshetar, executive director of the Matt 25 Hope Center in Clovis, inventories a storage room with items reserved for people in emergency situations.

Benna Sayyed

Local community organizations and churches will soon have a method of working together to provide assistance in real time.

Thirteen Clovis community groups and churches including United Way of Eastern New Mexico, Matt 25 Hope Center, Lighthouse Mission, and many area churches agreed Friday to use CharityTracker, an online database built specifically to help charities network with each other and monitor the services they provide.

Together these entities form Eastern New Mexico Helping Hearts and Hands with United Way acting as the network administrator, making it the contract holder between the community and CharityTracker.

Erinn Burch, United Way executive director, said the agency plans to get all the contract agreements signed next week, giving Clovis organizations access to CharityTracker.

“It’s going to help folks with needs get the help they need faster,” said Burch. “It’s going to help our community organizations have more confidence that they’re helping people in real need and not become the victim of fraud. It’s going to help our organizations work better together to meet those needs.”

To explain how the database works, Burch gave this example:

If a person shows up at Lighthouse Mission in need of a bed that Lighthouse does not have, the mission could enter this need in the system. A church across town using CharityTracker that recently received a bed can identify the need and get the bed to the right person.

“Because we are all working together, it gives a community’s response to somebody’s problems, not just whoever they happen to stumble upon,” said Burch.

Also, if there is a church that has run out of money or resources to share for the remainder of the week or month, it will be able to indicate this by notifying the group.

CharityTracker also allows for churches and organizations to reduce duplication. The database also reduces fraud. According to Burch, many churches have a limit to the financial aid they give an individual, and usually will not cover an entire bill.

“If you walk in there with a hundred dollar gas bill and the other churches have already put in on it but this church doesn’t know, they might give it to you anyway,” said Burch.

“If you’re not totally ethical, you might still continue to visit churches using that gas bill to get credit on your gas,” she said.

Steve Reshetar, executive director of Matt 25, voted for his organization to use CharityTracker.

“I think we’re all hoping that it will help people feel good to know that we’re making the most efficient use and doing due diligence, and they’ll maybe even donate more to our organizations,” said Reshetar.