Colorado Gives Day returns next week |

Colorado Gives Day returns next week

Blair Bracken
Citizen Telegram Contributor

Coming off a record-breaking year in 2014, Colorado Gives Day returns Tuesday, Dec. 8.

The event raised $26.3 million in donations in 24 hours last year, according to data from the Community First Foundation. Colorado Gives Day was created in 2009 and supported by Community First Foundation and First Bank as an annual, statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving.

On a more local level, participants and organizers hope to grow the event beyond levels seen since the event’s inception. In 2012, 12 charities in Garfield County participated in Colorado Gives Day. Those organizations managed to raise $20,670, according to Community First Foundation data. Those numbers drastically increased in 2014, with 17 participating organizations collecting a total of $110,399.

This year, 19 organizations in Garfield County are participating in the event, according to a local steering committee. Although that number is an increase, some local organizers — when looking at the total number of nonprofits in the county and region — see a need for increased awareness.

According to data as recent as September from the IRS, there are 27,234 nonprofits in Colorado and 560 nonprofits in Garfield County, said Amy Barr, executive director of United Way of Battlement to Bells, a local branch of United Way America, which tracks nonprofit data.

Regional nonprofits have recognized a need for a collaborative effort in the community to help better raise awareness of the event.

Christina Gair, executive director of Aspen to Parachute Dental Health Alliance, also a participating nonprofit, sits on the local committee for this regional collaborative effort to help increase recognition. Gair said, “together we can do more than we can apart.”

The Garfield County committee has 10 to 12 active members.

The vision for the Western Slope is to grow increasingly, and welcome more nonprofits, and gain an established presence for Colorado Gives Day, Gair said.

“More and more nonprofits are seeing the benefit [of Colorado Gives Day] and we need to get the word out,” she added.

Several nonprofits in Rifle and beyond have signed up to promote their organization’s mission for the event, including Rifle Animal Shelter, Garfield County Library Foundation and Youth Zone.

Robin Tolan, development director of Youth Zone, is hopeful for the upcoming day. Youth Zone, which assists more than 1,000 families from Aspen to Parachute, is participating in Colorado Gives Day for its second year and hopes to increase their donations from last year.

“We had very few last year, and we hope we can double our response (this year),” Tolan said.

Heather Mullen, director of the Rifle Animal Shelter, stated, “’every little bit helps’ is every nonprofit’s mantra, as donations are one of the largest supporting factors of a nonprofit. I am excited for the event because it will raise so much awareness on the Western Slope.”

Rifle Animal Shelter has participated the last three years and has seen a significant increase in donations each year.

“Colorado Gives Day will undeniably give local nonprofits a great opportunity to raise funds for their organizations and help continue their missions in the community,” Mullen said.

Those interested in donating to a local or other nonprofit can visit and explore the participating nonprofits. Donations can be scheduled ahead of time or on Dec. 8.

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