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Colorado Gives Day Critical to Nonprofits

December 3, 2018

Volunteer Colleen Enright works with Sylvester the cat at the Longmont Humane Society, one of more than 2,500 nonprofits participating in Colorado Gives Day this year.

Colorado Gives Day

A search function on ColoradoGives.org allows users to look up charities and non-profits by zip code, offering the chance for a would-be donor to stumble on a previously unknown charity.

The Longmont Humane Society on Tuesday will mark its ninth year participating in Colorado Gives Day, a statewide charity drive that helps more than 2,000 charities and nonprofits raise money.

“In 2017, we raised just under $70,000 in 24 hours,” said marketing and communications manager Carrie Brackenridge. “It’s really a great day.”

Colorado Gives Day is a major source of funding for many Boulder County-based nonprofits that provide a variety of services.

Dana Rinderknecht, director of online giving for the Community First Foundation, said more charities are participating in Colorado Gives this year, and the amount of money raised is growing year after year.

“We have over 2,500 this year,” Rinderknecht said. “Last year we had more than 2,300, so we’ve added some new nonprofits.”

She said the charity drive grows in size every year as more people learn about it and donate.

“The most common donation last year was $100,” she said. “But it’s all over. The minimum is $10. We’ve had donations up to $1 million. ... Last year we had one person give to 155 different nonprofits.”

A search function on ColoradoGives.org allows users to look up charities and non-profits by zipcode, offering the chance for a would-be donor to stumble on a previously unknown charity.

Greg Harms, executive director of the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, said that his organization is setting a $100,000 goal this year. He added that people can, if they wish, earmark their donations for specific areas at the shelter.

“There’s a way an individual can say ‘Please use my contribution toward X,‘” he said. “If they do that we try to honor the request, but most (donations) that come in are unrestricted so they just say ‘Please use this to support your mission.’ ”

Jacob Harmon, executive director for Voices for Children/Court Appointed Special Advocates — volunteers with the organization represent abused and neglected children going through the court system — said his organization raised $12,000 during the charity drive last year. This year, he hopes to raise $15,000.

Currently the organization, which serves Boulder County children, has 237 active volunteers, up from 124 the year before.

“It’s important for us to raise money because each of those volunteers has a professional staff person supporting them,” he said. “We have attorneys and social workers on staff.”

Kathleen McGoey, executive director of the Longmont Community Justice Partnership, said her organization raised $28,000 during last year’s Colorado Gives Day, surpassing its goal of $25,000.

She has set a goal of $35,000 for this year, adding that private donors who have chosen to remain anonymous have pledged a $10,000 match.

The organization facilitates restorative justice, allowing people charged with some crimes to meet with victims and find ways to make amends.

McGoey said the organization wants to hire more administrative employees so other staff can focus on their work in Longmont and on training other municipalities.

“LCJP is not only serving restorative justice cases in Longmont,” she said. “We also play a pretty significant role in introducing restorative justice and restorative justice practices in other communities.”

Joseph Zanovitch, executive director of Homeless Outreach Providing Encouragement, a Longmont-based nonprofit that offers services to homeless people, said his organization raised $37,000 on Colorado Gives Day last year. This year, he hopes to raise $50,000.

He said providing emergency shelter during the winter takes the biggest chunk of the organization’s funding because paid staff must be on site.

“We rely heavily on volunteers as far as food and things of that nature,” Zanovitch said. “From an expense side, it’s making sure we have staff available. We have to have at least two staff on site for the entire night.”

At the humane society, Brackenridge said, staff and volunteers were expected to spend much of the weekend preparing for the event. She added that the funds her organization raises on Colorado Gives Day account for about 10 percent of its yearly donations.

“That gives you a sense of the power of the statewide giving campaign,” she said.

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