Browse for cause on Colorado Gives Day | PostIndependent.com

Browse for cause on Colorado Gives Day

Caitlin Causey
Post Independent Correspondent

Calling all philanthropists, good Samaritans and community activists: Colorado Gives Day is set for Dec. 6 — Tuesday.

The statewide initiative, a program of the Community First Foundation and corporate partner FirstBank, comes just in time for the holiday season of charitable giving. On Tuesday, Coloradans are encouraged to make donations via ColoradoGives.org, where they can choose to make a monetary gift to a longtime favorite nonprofit organization or discover new ones that suit their passions.

With a goal of helping locals "celebrate and increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving" according to its mission, Colorado Gives Day is now in its seventh year. Its website features more than 2,000 nonprofits and foundations from around the state, including dozens based in our region, which can be searched by ZIP code or cause.

Participating area nonprofits have ramped up promotional efforts over the past week in hopes of generating awareness and increasing donations.

"This will be our second year doing Colorado Gives Day, and we will be promoting in the newspaper and online," said LIFT-UP executive director Kim Loving. "It went quite well for us last year, so we're hoping to do even better in 2016 with a goal of raising at least $10,000. Colorado Gives is such a wonderful platform to help the community learn more about our nonprofits and to encourage the spirit of charity."

Loving noted that the value of donations made via ColoradoGives.org on Dec. 6 are increased proportionally thanks to the initiative's $1 million Incentive Fund, one of the largest in the nation.

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"It's another great reason to donate through the website that day," she said. "Nonprofits receive a percentage of money from the Incentive Fund according to how much they're able to raise."

Although Colorado Gives Day has become popular in Denver and other cities along the Front Range, many valley organizations felt the need for greater awareness amongst residents in Garfield and Pitkin counties.

"For people like me who work in fundraising, this is so exciting for us," said Kendra Rhodes, Colorado Mountain College Foundation director of development. "Colorado Gives has been so successful in other areas of the state but we wanted to see more participation here in our region — some kind of combined effort was desperately needed in the Aspen to Parachute corridor, because many of our local organizations, including the CMC Foundation, are fairly new to this program. That's why we are thrilled to be a member of Mountain West Gives, which pools all of our efforts into a larger promotional campaign for awareness."

Mountain West Gives, one of six designated regional champions within the Colorado Gives program, is a new initiative of the Aspen Community Foundation.

"This has been formed out of an interest in creating a more localized effort of participation in Colorado Gives Day — and we are spearheading the movement from Aspen to Parachute," said Aspen Community Foundation donor relations director Alicia Schuller, who has been working closely with Mountain West Gives' 46 member organizations to help them make the most of the upcoming day of philanthropy. Downvalley members include LIFT-UP, the CMC Foundation, Colorado Animal Rescue, Riverbridge Regional Center, the Third Street Center, YouthZone and a broad range of other groups.

"Although we have helped them combine efforts, our members are the ones who are truly making this happen. They have formed steering, marketing, volunteer and sponsorship committees, and they will be helping spread the word on Dec. 6 in several of our communities," Schuller noted.

"This Tuesday, expect to see members and volunteers waving signs at roundabouts, gondolas and grocery stores, passing out fliers and postcards — we plan on having a presence in Aspen, Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and Rifle," she said. "Our hope is that this kind of widespread annual awareness campaign will have a greater impact on the local success of Colorado Gives Day this year and in years to come."

Schuller also mentioned that Mountain West Gives hopes to expand its member base, and invites additional nonprofits to reach out for partnership.

"We have participated in Colorado Gives Day in the past, but this year we joined Mountain West Gives and they have really supported us and provided helpful promotional tools," said Wes Boyd, executive director of Colorado Animal Rescue. "Our goal is to increase donations by 25 percent this year. These programs at the state and regional levels are not only a great way to motivate donors to participate in end-of-year giving but also to simply spread knowledge about the work of our community's nonprofits. We are honored to have this opportunity to be united with all the great organizations in the Roaring Fork Valley."

Whether your passion is animal welfare, education, the arts, health or any cause in between, Colorado Gives Day provides an opportunity to support exactly what you care about seeing more of in the community. Donations can be made on Tuesday or scheduled early now.

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